Paper comparing European torture law of the 13th-18thC and American 20thC Plea Bargaining by Yale Law Professor John H. Langbein (then from University of Chicago) 1978
Abstract: In this essay I shall address the modem American system of plea bargaining from a perspective that must appear bizarre, although I hope to persuade you that it is illuminating. I am going to contrast plea bargaining with the medieval European law of torture. My thesis is that there are remarkable parallels in origin, in function, and even in specific points of doctrine, between the law of torture and the law of plea bargaining. I shall suggest that these parallels expose someaimportant truths about how criminal justice systems respond when their trial procedures fall into deep disorder.
Quotation: This sentencing differential is what makes plea bargaining coercive. There is, of course, a difference between having your limbs crushed if you refuse to confess, or suffering some extra years of imprisonment if you refuse to confess, but the difference is of degree, not kind. Plea bargaining, like torture, is coercive.