The article leans heavy against prosecutors, saying that over 90% of defendants waive their constitutional rights and plead guilty before trial. It insinuates that this happens because the system forces innocent people to plead guilty.
I've discussed plea bargaining before. I am not in the business of convicting innocent people. I abhor the idea. I am not in the business of prosecuting cases when the police violated constitutional rights. A prosecutor's first responsibility is to seek justice. That means justice for all parties, the people of the state we work for, the victims, and the accused.
My office's plea bargain policies are based on a thorough investigation of the case. If we cannot prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt at trial, it does not get indicted. Trials happen for a number of reasons. The defendant believes they committed the crime, but had a legal reason to do so (self-defense). The defendant didn't do it. The defendant has nothing to lose because there is no offer.
If each defendant exercised their right to a jury trial, the system wouldn't crash. It would just slow. Cases that take a year to get to trial will now take three. Costs would increase because more judges, prosecutors, and attorneys are required.
The only ones I can see suffering are the victims and defendants. The victims suffer because justice would be delayed. Defendants would suffer for two reasons. First, they would have rejected any plea offer with a lower sentence. After trial, the sentences are usually higher because the judge has heard all the evidence. Second, they may also remain in jail for years while they await a trial. I can't imagine waiting in jail for five years for a jury to acquit me.
I am obviously biased in this argument. I do agree that many parts of the system need reform. Trying to delay an already arduous system isn't the answer.