The Plea Jury
62 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2009 Last revised: 10 Apr 2009
Date Written: February 3, 2009
For over thirty years, scholars, courts, defense attorneys and prosecutors have been deeply troubled by the guilty plea procedure, concerned about the sacrifice of rights and due process for cheap efficiency. Although many legal players seem to dislike the plea, few have taken on its reform.
With the Supreme Court's recent iteration of the jury's constitutional rights and powers in criminal adjudication, however, a way to meaningfully reform the guilty plea has finally arisen. I propose incorporating the community into the guilty plea process through the use of a plea jury. With a plea jury, a lay panel of citizens would listen to the defendant's allocution and determine the acceptability of the plea and sentence, reinvigorating the community's right to determine punishment for offenders.
My goal in this piece is to restore the community jury right to its proper place by envisioning its integration into the guilty plea, theoretically as well as procedurally. In doing so, I will illustrate not only how a standard jury would be incorporated, but also why the critical norms embedded into jury participation will help improve the existing guilty plea procedure.
Keywords: guilty plea, plea bargain, jury, community, 6th Amendment, Blakely
JEL Classification: K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation