Protecting (the Government’s) Right to a Jury Trial

State legislators in Ohio are considering legislation that would enable criminal prosecutors to insist on a jury trial even when a criminal defendant waives that rate and asks for a bench trial. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

Ohio prosecutors want to change the law to give themselves veto power when a criminal defendant chooses to have his case heard by a judge instead of a jury. . . .

“The whole jurisprudence system is based on the jury system,” [state legislator Lynn] Slaby said. “Until we do away with juries entirely, it’s more fair to have both sides have a right to a jury trial.”

As the article notes, this proposal is not revolutionary. Although criminal defendants have a constitutional right to trial by jury, they are not guaranteed the ability to waive this right.