accomplice was an interested party.
Since then, cooperation agreementshave played a significant role in the American judicial system,
includingagreements that have been at least partially contingent on the results of thetrial after the testimony was already given.
The debate over plea-agreements in exchange for testimony flared in1998 as a result of a holding in
United States v. Singleton
. The courtconvicted a Kansas woman for money laundering and conspiracy todistribute cocaine after hearing testimony from an accomplice whoreceived leniency. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned thedecision on the grounds that the prosecution’s cooperation agreementviolated a federal bribery statute. On rehearing
, the Tenth Circuitvacated the Singleton I decision and supported the original ruling of thedistrict court.
Nevertheless, Singleton I sparked a wave of appeals and aseries of opinions weighing in on the issue of plea-bargaining in exchangefor testimony.III. T
Plea-bargaining in exchange for testimony is a particularly contentiouspart of an already thorny issue. As a result, there is a sizable back-and-forthliterature discussing the advantages and disadvantages of this practice. Byexamining these arguments carefully, we hope to better understand whatwe would lose by implementing a per se prohibition on such arrangementsand what we risk by allowing them to continue. The goal of this paper is tooffer a path that allows us to both capture as many benefits and avoid asmany risks as possible.
Benson v. United States, 146 U.S. 325, 337 (1892).
United States v. Santabello, 404 U.S. 257, 260 (1971) (stating that plea-bargaining isan “essential component of the administration of justice”); United States v. Anderson, 654 F.2d1264, 1268 (8th Cir. 1981) (holding that accomplice testimony may by itself sustain a convictionwithout corroboration; United States v. Fitts, 635 F.2d 664, 667 (8th Cir. 1980); United States v.Knight, 547 F.2d 75, 76 (8th Cir. 1976); Williams v. United States, 328 F.2d 256, 259 (8th Cir.1964); United States v. Dailey, 759 F.2d 192 (1st Cir. 1985) (allowing at least partially contingentcooperation agreements); United States v. Fallon, 776 F.2d 727, 729 (7th Cir. 1985) (alsoupholding contingent agreements).
United States v. Dailey, 759 F.2d 192 (1st Cir. 1985); United States v. Fallon, 776 F.2d727, 729 (7th Cir. 1985); United States v. Waterman, 732 F.2d 1527 (1984),
vacated en banc,
No.83-2159 (8th Cir. Sept. 20, 1984),
471 U.S. 1065 (1985).
United States v. Singleton, 165 F.3d 1297, 1298 (10th Cir. 1998).