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ABA CJS Plea Bargaining Task Force

Who We Are

The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section is pleased to announce the creation of a task force to more closely examine the role of plea bargaining in our modern system of criminal justice.  Its goal is to develop both broad policy oriented goals for the criminal justice system and, where necessary, specific recommendations for changes in the way plea bargaining operates within the larger criminal justice environment.  These issues will be examined from the perspective of all those involved in the criminal justice system, including prosecutors, defenders, defendants, judges, victims, and others.   

The Report


The ABA adopted the Fourteen Principles from the Plea Bargain Task Force Report, as the policy of the Association at the August 2023 meeting of the House of Delegates.

Task Force Co-Chair Founds Plea Bargaining Institute to Continue Collaborative Work Regarding Plea Bargaining Reform



Lucian E. Dervan (Co-Chair), Professor of Law, Belmont University College of Law, and Founding Director of the Plea Bargaining Institute

Russell Covey (Co-Chair), Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law

Thea Johnson (Reporter), Associate Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School

Hon. Kimberly Esmond Adams, Judge, Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia

Derwyn Bunton, Chief Legal Officer, Southern Poverty Law Center, (formerly Chief District Defender, Orleans Public Defenders)

Vanessa Edkins, Director of Quantitative Research, Gartner, Inc.; Professor Emeritus, Psychology, Florida Institute of Technology

A. J. Kramer, Federal Public Defender for the District of Columbia

Jenny Kim, Partner, The Gober Group

Marc Levin, Chief Policy Counsel, Council on Criminal Justice

Clark Neily, Senior Vice President for Legal Studies, CATO Institute

Norman L. Reimer, Global CEO, Fair Trials, (formerly Executive Director, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers)

Rebecca Shaeffer, Legal Director (Americas), Fair Trials

Adnan Sultan, Senior Staff Attorney, The Innocence Project

Jonathan Wroblewski, Director of the Office of Policy and Legislation, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice


The speakers below gave presentations on race and the criminal justice system to the CJS Plea Bargain Task Force on September 25, 2020