Plea Bargaining, Even When You're Innocent
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The Bill of Rights guarantees a trial by jury to every American accused of a crime. So why do more than 95 percent of defendants plead guilty, often despite the fact that they’re not? If the criminal justice system met the Constitutional standard, would it collapse? Also, the politics of the June 1 jobs numbers. On Reporter’s Notebook, is sex-selection a reality in the US?
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The Politics of the June 1 Jobs Numbers ()
Just 69,000 private sector jobs were created in May, and the unemployment rate crept up from 8.1 to 8.2 percent. President Obama tried to make the best of bad news from today's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The first Friday of every month until November could be decisive in the presidential campaign, according to Chris Cillizza, managing editor of the Washington Post's political section and author of The Fix blog.
Why Do Innocent People Plead Guilty? ()
The Sixth Amendment guarantees a fair trial to every American accused of a crime. But trials are no longer the basis of the criminal justice system. A US Supreme Court majority has said it's not trial by jury that determines "who goes to jail and for how long," it's plea bargaining. More than 90 percent of criminal cases are decided by plea bargains — and many people plead guilty — even when they're innocent. Do they know what they're doing? Are the law and the justice system rigged to favor the prosecution? What would happen if every defendant demanded a jury trial?
- Justin Brooks: California Innocence Project, @CWSL_News
- Lucian Dervan: Southern Illinois University School of Law, @SIUSchoolofLaw
- Scott Burns: National District Attorneys Association
- Laurie Levenson: Loyola Law School
Does Sex Selection Happen in America? ()
Yesterday, House Republicans failed to enact a ban on abortions based on the sex of a child, but assert that they succeeded in embarrassing Democrats, claiming that Democrats don't support women's rights as much as they say. How persistent is so-called "sex selection" in the US? While it's "hard to assess, since it's rarely something people will admit to doing," it appears that "educated guessing" does exist, especially in certain ethnic communities. Anat Shenker Osorio co-wrote the recent article that appeared in RH Reality Check and the Atlantic magazine.
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