Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2013


This essay, written for a symposium at Duquesne Law School entitled Plea Bargaining After Lafler and Frye, offers thoughts on how lawyers could learn from doctors’ experience in catching and preventing medical errors and aviation experts’ learning from airplane crashes and near misses. It also expresses skepticism about the efficacy of judges’ ex post review of ineffective assistance of counsel, but holds out more hope that public-defender organizations, bar associations, probation officers, sentencing judges, sentencing commissions, and line and supervisory prosecutors can do much more to prevent misunderstanding and remedy ineffective bargaining advice in the first place.


criminal procedure, plea bargaining, legal errors and omissions, ineffective assistance of counsel, outcomes of bargaining and trials, ex post review by judges, ex ante impact of Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye, evidence-based medicine, medical errors, systemic design, checklists, judicial role

Publication Title

Duquesne Law Review

Publication Citation

51 Duq. L. Rev. 625 (2013)