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Stephanos Bibas

Professor of Law and Criminology; Director, Supreme Court Clinic

Stephanos Bibas

Stephanos Bibas studies the powers and incentives that shape how prosecutors, defense counsel, defendants, and judges behave in the real world of guilty pleas. His 2004 paper, “Plea Bargaining Outside the Shadow of Trial” (Harvard Law Review), explored the agency costs, structural forces, and psychological biases that cause plea bargaining to deviate from expected trial outcomes. Continue reading… Stephanos Bibas studies the powers and incentives that shape how prosecutors, defense counsel, defendants, and judges behave in the real world of guilty pleas. His 2004 paper, “Plea Bargaining Outside the Shadow of Trial” (Harvard Law Review), explored the agency costs, structural forces, and psychological biases that cause plea bargaining to deviate from expected trial outcomes. He also studies the divorce between criminal procedure’s focus on efficiency and criminal law’s interest in healing victims, defendants, and communities. His new book (The Machinery of Criminal Justice, Oxford 2012) explains how criminal justice should do more to encourage acceptance of responsibility, remorse, apology, and forgiveness.


As director of Penn’s Supreme Court Clinic, Bibas litigates a wide range of Supreme Court cases. He and his co-counsel won a landmark victory in Padilla v. Kentucky in 2010, persuading the Court to recognize the right of noncitizen defendants to accurate information about deportation before they plead guilty. His academic work played a central role in the Supreme Court’s landmark case of Blakely v. Washington.

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Expertise

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Law Theory
  • Criminal Sentencing
  • Law and Criminal Justice
  • Social Science and the Law
  • Legal Process and Dispute Resolution

Books

THE MACHINERY OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE (Oxford Univ. Press 2012)
[Available Here]

Articles and Book Chapters

Constitutionally Tailoring Punishment (with Richard A. Bierschbach), 112 MICH. L. REV. (forthcoming 2013)

The Duties of Non-Judicial Actors in Ensuring Competent Negotiation, 51 DUQ. L. REV. 625 (2013)

Bulk Misdemeanor Justice, 85 S. CAL. L. REV. POSTSCRIPT 101 (2013).

Shrinking Gideon and Expanding Alternatives to Lawyers, 70 WASH. & LEE L. REV. 1287 (2013).

Justice Kennedy's Sixth Amendment Pragmatism, 44 MCGEORGE L. REV. 211 (2013)

Criminal (In)Justice and Democracy in America, 122 HARV. L. REV. F. 134 (2013).

Triaging Appointed-Counsel Funding and Pro Se Access to Justice, 160 U. PA. L. REV. 967 (2012) (with Benjamin H. Barton).

Notice-and-Comment Sentencing, 96 MINN L. REV. 1 (2012) (with Richard A. Bierschbach).

Incompetent Plea Bargaining and Extrajudicial Reforms, 126 HARV L. REV. 150 (2012).

Neuroprediction, Violence, and the Law: Setting the Stage, 5 NEUROETHICS 67 (2012) (with Thomas Nadelhoffer, Scott Grafton, Kent A. Kiehl, Andrew Mansfield, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Michael Gazzaniga).

Taming Negotiated Justice, 122 YALE L. J. ONLINE 35 (2012).

Regulating the Plea-Bargaining Market: From Caveat Emptor to Consumer Protection, 99 CALIF. L. REV. 1117 (2011).

Sacrificing Quantity for Quality: Better Focusing Prosecutors' Scarce Resources, 106 NW. U. L. REV. COLLOQUY 138 (2011).

The Myth of the Fully Informed Rational Actor, 31. ST. LOUIS U. PUB. L. REV. 79 (2011).

The Pitfalls of Professionalized Prosecution: A Response to Josh Bowers's "Legal Guilt, Normative Innocence, and the Equitable Decision Not to Prosecute," 111 COLUM. L. REV. SIDEBAR 14 (2011)

Two Cheers, Not Three, For Sixth Amendment Originalism, 34 HARV. J.L. & PUB. POL'Y 45 (2011).

International Idealism Meets Domestic-Criminal-Procedure Realism, 59 DUKE L.J. 637 (2010) (with William W. Burke-White).

The Need for Prosecutorial Discretion, 19 TEMP. POL. & CIV. RTS. L REV. 369 (2010).

Prosecutorial Regulation Versus Prosecutorial Accountability, 157 U. PA. L. REV. 959 (2009).

Policing Politics at Sentencing, 103 NW. U. L. REV. 1371 (2009) (coauthored with Max M. Schanzenbach and Emerson H. Tiller).

Restoration, But Also More Justice, in CRIMINAL LAW CONVERSATIONS 595 (Paul H. Robinson, Kimberly Ferzan, & Stephen P. Garvey eds. 2009).

Invasions of Conscience and Faked Apologies, in CRIMINAL LAW CONVERSATIONS 196 (Oxford Univ. Press 2009).

Political versus Administrative Justice, in CRIMINAL LAW CONVERSATIONS 677 (Paul H. Robinson, Kimberly Ferzan, & Stephen P. Garvey eds. 2009).

Policing Politics at Sentencing, 103 NW. U. L. REV. 1371 (2009) (with Max M. Schanzenbach and Emerson H. Tiller).

More publications can be found here.

Research Areas

  • Criminal Procedure
  • Sentencing
  • Criminal Law
  • Dispute Resolution

Positions

Penn Law – Professor of Law (2006- ) and Criminology (2009- ); Director, Supreme Court Clinic (2009- )

Visiting Associate Professor – University of Chicago (winter/spring 2006), Penn Law (fall 2005)

University of Iowa – Associate Professor (2001-06)

United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York – Assistant U.S. Attorney (1998-2000)

Law Clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy, Supreme Court of the United States (1997-98)

Law Clerk to Judge Patrick Higginbotham, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (1994-95)

Professional Activities

Merits Brief for Petitioner and Reply Brief and Oral Argument, Vartelas v. Holder, No. 10-1211 (U.S. 2012) (11/16/2004)

Merits Brief Amicus Curiae Invited by the Court and Oral Argument, Tapia v. United States, No. 10-5400 (U.S. 2011)

2011 Jack Wasserman Memorial Award by the American Immigration Lawyers' Association for our successful work on Padilla v. Kentucky (07/03/1905)

Brief in Opposition to Certiorari and Merits Brief for Respondent, Turner v. Rogers, No. 10-10 (U.S. 2011)

Member, Philadelphia Mayor’s Advisory Task Force on Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform, 2008-09

Courses

  • Criminal Procedure: Investigation
  • Criminal Procedure: Prosecution and Adjudication
  • Legal Imagination: Criminals and Justice Across Literature
  • Supreme Court Clinic

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