This case centers on Max Teller, a 27-year-old member of a motorcycle gang called DAMNCROW, known for its ties to a white supremacist organization. Now, the United States Department of Justice has charged Teller with attempting to commit acts of terrorism and a hate crime for his participation in a plot to bomb the Arizona Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (“ATF”). This is not the first time that Teller has faced federal charges. Six months ago, Teller was charged with federal weapons charges for his participation in an illegal firearms transaction. However, in response to embarrassing complications, the Department of Justice dropped all charges against Teller and other members of DAMNCROW. This time, both sides have weaknesses in their case. Therefore, it is in both parties’ interest to try to negotiate a plea agreement.
Teller is represented by a public defender, assigned to Teller’s case, who feels conflicted about representing someone associated with a domestic hate-based organization. The prosecution is represented by the U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona and the assistant U.S. attorney. The prosecution must determine how to proceed with this case and consider the implications this will have for their professional mandate, their ethical obligations, and their careers. This engaging exercise in managing principal-agent tensions provides a challenging opportunity to negotiate both behind and across the table.
The case is designed as a two-stage negotiation of a plea bargain. The first part of the case takes place before the prosecution and the defense meet, with each agent – the assistant U.S. attorney and the public defender – meeting independently to interview their principal – the U.S. attorney and defendant Max Teller, respectively – to determine the principal’s interests and objectives. Then, the assistant U.S. attorney and the Public Defender meet to negotiate the terms of a potential plea bargain.
Because of the complexity of the issues and the background knowledge required, role-play participants should plan to invest at least 1 to 1.5 hours before class to prepare for the negotiation. The principal-agent interviews and the negotiation between the prosecution and defense should take place within a 1.5-hour time block, followed by a 30 to 60 minute facilitated review of participants’ experiences.
This product includes:
- Confidential Instructions for Max Teller;
- Confidential Instructions for Public Defender;
- Confidential Instructions for Assistant United States Attorney Henrietta Hynch;
- Confidential Instructions for United States Attorney Bertie Gonzalez
- Complete Teacher's Package with all files listed above, plus instructions for facilitating the United States v. Teller negotiation and review
This case allows for the introduction and review of several intermediate and advanced negotiation concepts:
- To explore the challenge of negotiating in the face of the principal-agent tensions;
- To manage principal-agent tensions;
- To illustrate the importance of building rapport and setting appropriate expectations;and
- To highlight negotiating a process for the negotiation.
Negotiation Simulation; Multiparty, Principal-Agent Tension, Ethics, and Emotions; Negotiation Process and Strategy; Integrative and Interest-Based Negotiation, and Legal Ethics.
Geographic: Arizona, United States
Industry: Terrorism, Domestic hate crimes, Criminal justice, Criminal prosecution, Prosecutorial ethics, National security, Intellience, and Plea bargaining.
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