Emerging Issues in the Psycholegal Study of Guilty Pleas

Allison D. Redlich, Tina M. Zottoli, Amy Dezember, Ryan Schneider, Mary Catlin, Suraiya Shammi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In the 2010 Lafler v. Cooper decision, the Supreme Court equated the US criminal justice system to one of guilty pleas. As addressed in this chapter, this is because guilty pleas make up the majority of criminal case outcomes (around 64 percent) and the majority of convictions (around 97 percent). In this chapter, common themes in guilty plea research are reviewed, including the psychology of guilty plea decision-making, the validity of guilty pleas, and false guilty pleas. Further, new data are presented, aimed at reconceptualizing guilty plea rates and measuring plea discounts. Researchers’ choices about which dichotomous plea rate (prospective vs. retrospective) to examine and how to define plea discounts have implications for theories of plea decision-making and for advancing psycholegal scholarship on guilty pleas.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Law
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780197649169
ISBN (Print)9780197649138
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • decision-making
  • false guilty pleas
  • guilty pleas


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