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What Would Happen If Everyone Charged With A Crime Demanded A Jury Trial?

Before you read the accompanying article from a recent New York Times titled “Go To Trial-Crash The Justice System” keep in mind that this is not a recommendation but a highly provocative opinion piece which reveals the depth and breadth of the workings of the criminal justice system in America today. The Crowley Law Firm PLLC Seattle/Yakima are criminal defense attorneys who practice in the courts everyday and can provide potential clients with experienced counsel on their legal problems. Consult a lawyer if you have questions. You can reach The Crowley Law Firm PLLC through our Quick Contact Form on this site or at Seattle: 206-624-7500; Eastern Washington Yakima Office: 509-469-7500.

What Would Happen If Everyone Charged With A Crime Demanded A Jury Trial? Very simply, the system would crash. Grinding to a halt under the weight of the numerous cases which are currently “plead out” or heard without a jury at the astonishing rate of 90%.

“The system of mass incarceration depends almost entirely on the cooperation of those it seeks to control. If everyone charged with crimes suddenly exercised his constitutional rights, there would not be enough judges, lawyers or prison cells to deal with the ensuing tsunami of litigation. ”

But do the dangers of always going to trial outweigh the benefits of a plea?

“The Supreme Court ruled in 1978 that threatening someone with life imprisonment for a minor crime in an effort to induce him to forfeit a jury trial did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to trial. Thirteen years later, in Harmelin v. Michigan, the court ruled that life imprisonment for a first-time drug offense did not violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.”

Read the entire piece from The New York Times here but remember to seek legal counsel when you are arrested or charged with a crime from an experienced defense lawyer.