Has Plea Bargaining Destroyed the Jury Trial?

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Photo by Robert Couse Baker via Flickr

Despite the frequent presence of juries in media coverage of trials, the public is absent from much of the democratic process created by the U.S. Constitution. While citizens elect officials, few participate in important daily criminal and civil justice decisions by serving on juries.

Juries decide fewer than four percent of criminal cases and fewer than one percent of civil cases. Juries don’t determine criminal defendants’ fates, because defendants plead guilty around 95-97 percent of the time . . .

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