Indiana Law Journal

Article Title

The Plea Jury

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2010

Publication Citation

85 Indiana Law Journal 731 (2010)


This Article argues that it is time to reform the much-criticized plea-bargaining process by restoring the Sixth Amendment jury trial right back to criminal adjudication. My proposal would incorporate the local community into the guilty-plea procedure through the use of a plea jury, thus solving a multitude of problems within the criminal justice system. In a plea jury, a lay panel of citizens would listen to the defendant's allocution and determine the acceptability of the plea and sentence, reinvigorating the community's right to determine punishment for offenders. My goal is to return the Sixth Amendment community-jury right to its proper place by envisioning its integration into the guilty plea, based on recent Supreme Court decisions, punishment theory, criminal justice policy, and modern procedural concerns. In doing so, I will illustrate not only how a standard jury would be incorporated, but also why the critical norms embedded into jury participation will help improve the existing guilty-plea procedure.