|Authored by: IANALitj on Saturday, May 25 2013 @ 12:52 AM EDT|
|Sorry, PJ, but this is not a matter of waiver. |
http://www.burdenofproof.org/benchtrial.html says flatly
"Under the sixth amendment of the United States Constitution, every citizen
is entitled to a trial by jury if he or she is accused of a crime. This
protection applies to any type of criminal case, regardless of the severity of
"It's commonly believed that defendants are guaranteed the right to a trial
by jury. However, this isn't always the case. The right to a jury trial doesn't
extend to 'petty offenses.' Petty offenses are generally those that carry a
maximum penalty of six months in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000."
Six months in jail is a considerable punishment by many people's standards.
I cannot see how these two quotations can be made consistent. Either there is
or is not a Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial for a "petty
I suppose that it is possible that in some jurisdictions, there is a right to a
trial by jury in every criminal case, even cases of "petty offenses."
I do not believe that this is generally the case, however. The administrative
burden would be immense.
The exact details of the right to a jury as a constitutional matter are still
being worked out. See, e.g., the opinions in Lewis v. United States, 518 U.S.
322 (1996) which may be read at
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