The L.A. Times reports that New Hampshire, due to financial crises, is putting a freeze on jury trials!
Hmm… I seem to remember reading something about jury trials before… Oh yeah, in the Constitution of the United States
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed….
If there’s anything you’re not going to cut, I’m guessing it should be what you’re required to do by the Constitution.
The article goes on to talk about justice cuts all over the country – and at this point it’s showing up mostly in reduction of quality of justice rather than selectivity in prosecution. And that’s really dangerous in an already overloaded and poorly served function of government.
This could really blow up eventually.
The drug war is, of course, a huge part of this issue. The immense volume of drug prosecutions nationwide has completely overwhelmed and undermined the concept of justice and jury trials. This led to the use of over-charging (and the assistance of the legislature in passing overkill drug laws) in order to force plea bargains. In other words, they charge you for possession, trafficking, manufacture, paraphernalia, conspiracy, and tax evasion adding up to 5,000 years so you’ll plead guilty to whatever they want (whether you’re guilty or not), avoiding the jury trial you’re entitled to by Constitution. (And if you’re innocent, you’re really screwed.)
You know, instead of saving money by denying Americans their rights under the Constitution, perhaps the government should save money by restoring rights under the Constitution…