We're all (hopefully) familiar with the Bill of Rights, but even if we aren't, we all think intrinsically know that the right to a trial by jury, right to a speedy and public trial, and the right to legal counsel are essential in the American justice system.
This article takes note of two recent Supreme Court cases that have questionably strengthened the right to competent legal counsel in plea bargaining.
This has not only made it easier for criminal (and civil) defendants in trial, but it has also opened the doors for what Justice Antonin Scalia describes as "plea bargain law."
The statistics on plea bargains are outlined in this editorial, 97% of federal and 94% of state convictions never reach full trial, and end in plea bargaining. This is, to say the least, troubling. Although the right to a trial by jury is an individual's right and can be waived in trial, a trial of one's peers has become so much more. It is no longer an option only for the defendant, but also a regulator for corruption and unfairness in the courtroom.
I mirror Justice Scalia's remarks totally when he expresses concerns with the Supreme Court cases, as it encourages more plea bargains, and less trials by one's peers.