Defendants May Be Able To Waive Jury Trial

If you hear any of these phrases: you know you're in trouble.

  • You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.

Thanks to the sixth amendment, you have the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury in the state where the crime happened. But in our state, people may soon be able to waive their right to a jury trial.

Last year, legislators approved a constitutional amendment that would give people not facing a death penalty the option of waiving a jury trial. Instead they'd be tried by a judge. This would speed up the process with no jury selection.

It's not a done deal yet. They'll have a public hearing in Raleigh later this month. Then the public will be able to vote on it. The proposal will be on the ballot in the November 4th general election.


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