Resolved: In the United States, plea bargaining in exchange for testimony is unjust.Thus, it's essential to define justice, which I've started elsewhere. Now, I'm going to start collecting professional, philosophically credible definitions. (Add your own, too, in the comments.)
Justice is equal legal liberty for all.
In "Retribution: The Central Aim of Punishment," in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy Fall 2003, Gerard Bradley writes,
[J]ustice requires individuals to accept the pattern of liberty and restraint specified by political authorities. By accepting the established apparatus of political society and by observing its requirements, legal liberty for all is equalized.Crime attacks justice for the entire community, Bradley writes:
The central wrong in crime, therefore, is not that a criminal causes harm to a specific individual, but that the criminal unfairly usurps liberty…. The criminal’s act of usurpation is equally unfair to everyone else, in that he has gained an undue advantage over those who remain inside the legally required pattern of restraint. Depriving the criminal of this ill-gotten advantage is therefore the central focus of punishment…. The goal of punishment, in short, is the undoing of the criminal’s bold and unjust assertion of his own will. Punishment assures society both that crime does not pay and that observing the law is important; by doing so, it restores fundamental fairness and equality.When combined with Lippke's analysis, Bradley's definition of justice (as a value) and retribution (as a criterion) forms the framework for a powerful case.