What is the approximate percentage of criminal convictions which never reach a full trial but result from guilty pleas?
A) 10% B) 30% C) 50% D) 75% E) 90%
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The correct answer to this question is E. Something like 90% of all criminal cases end up in convictions without going to trial. This process is known as plea bargaining. As the link below tells us,
Although plea bargaining is often criticized, more than 90 percent of criminal convictions come from negotiated pleas. Thus, less than ten percent of criminal cases go to trial.
This clearly shows that E is the correct answer.
As the quote tells us, this is fairly controversial. The US Constitution guarantees people a trial by jury. However, if only about ten percent of cases actually go to trial, that right seems to be denied. Because of this, many critics of plea bargaining argue that plea bargains end up with defendants being pressured to accept guilty pleas without the benefit of a trial.
"E" is the correct answer. The sad reality is that our criminal justice system is so heavily overburdened with cases that without plea bargains it would grind to a halt. The peculiar juxtaposition is that although we are guaranteed the right to a trial, if most of us did not forego this right, none of us could exercise it.
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