Doug Berman has, "Another example of the death penalty as an effective plea bargaining tool," at his Sentencing Law and Policy blog. Here's an excerpt:
As I have suggested in a number of prior posts (see here and here), I have long thought that the biggest impact of having (or not having) the death penalty in a jurisdiction may be its impact on prosecutorial charging and plea bargaining practices. In this vein, consider this article from the Los Angeles Times, entitled, "Kingpin avoids death penalty with plea deal." Here are excerpts:
Mexican gangster Francisco Javier Arellano Felix, the alleged boss of a family-run drug cartel thought to be responsible for scores of murders in Mexico and the U.S., pleaded guilty Monday to charges that will put him in prison for life without the possibility of parole.