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ABA – vast majority of criminal cases end in plea bargains

NPR: “In any given year, 98% of criminal cases in the federal courts end with a plea bargain — a practice that prizes efficiency over fairness and innocence, according to a new report from the American Bar Association. A task force that includes prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys and academics cited “substantial evidence” that innocent people are coerced into guilty pleas because of the power prosecutors hold over them, including the prospect of decades-long mandatory minimum sentences. “Trials have become rare legal artifacts in most U.S. jurisdictions, and even nonexistent in others,” the ABA Plea Bargain Task Force wrote in a report released Wednesday. Aside from the paltry number of trials in the federal system, states including Pennsylvania, Texas and New York have trial rates of less than 3%. In Santa Cruz County, Ariz., there were no trials from 2010 to 2012, the report said…”

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