By Michael McCutcheon
LOS ANGELES, CA – Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) announced its support in a statement this week for the launch of the Trial Penalty Coalition campaign “to restore the Constitutional right to trial.”
The Trial Penalty Coalition is “a group of criminal justice leaders and organizations, impacted people, think tanks, academics, activists and reform leaders from across the ideological spectrum who have united to end the trial penalty,” according to the statement.
Miriam Krinsky, the Executive Director of the FJP offered words of support for the new coalition, said, “Over the past 40 years, as legislatures have criminalized more behaviors and enacted harsher penalties, our criminal legal system has increasingly relied on plea bargaining to resolve cases.
“Today, about 94 percent of convictions in state courts…are the result of plea deals. There is no justice in coercive plea offers that result in people pleading guilty – even when they may have a strong defense – due to the threat of a significantly harsher punishment following any trial.”
The FJP’s added these issues with the trial system “undermine the legitimacy of our entire criminal legal system.” Additionally, it notes the importance of prosecutorial discretion in creating a just result for the accused, and suggests prosecutors “charge fairly and with restraint.”