Lucian Dervan, associate professor of law and director of criminal justice studies for Belmont Law, presented this week at The International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law’s conference in Brisbane, Australia. The conference’s theme this year focused on bribery and corruption, and Dervan presented a session sharing his research regarding plea bargaining. Dervan also serves as the chair of the American Bar Association Global White Collar Crime Institute and a member of the International Criminal Justice Standards Task Force.
Dervan said, “It seems fitting that one of my last acts as the Australian born chair of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section is to return to Australia for this event. It’s been a fast and fun year as Chair.”
He continued, “I enjoyed the opportunity to attend the conference. We heard a lot during the event about the pressing problem that corruption poses to the global community. Plea bargaining is a tool that offers the possibility of not only moving cases through the system swiftly, but is also a means of creating significant incentives for cooperation that might lead to more investigations and successful prosecutions. In addition to discussing the positive aspects of plea bargaining during my presentation, I also warned the audience about the risks associated with plea bargaining, including the significant problem of false pleas by innocent defendants. As those attending the conference consider the use of plea bargaining in their countries as a tool to assist in the global fight against corruption, I hope they will pause to consider the power of the incentives inherent in the bargain, consider at what point efficiency jeopardizes reliability, and work to create balanced systems that harness the power of plea bargaining, without jeopardizing the fundamental principles of the criminal justice systems we all work to protect for the future.”