Kyle Rittenhouse and the Right to Trial

Source: Cato Institute
by Clark Neily

“The most remarkable thing about the Kyle Rittenhouse trial is that there was a trial at all. The vast majority of criminal prosecutions in our system are not resolved by trial but instead by an ad hoc and often extraordinarily coercive process that we refer to euphemistically as ‘plea bargaining.’ Because of the way it unfolded, however, the Rittenhouse case sheds important light on our decision to generally substitute plea bargaining for constitutionally prescribed jury trials, in open defiance of the Founders’ deliberate and very wise decision to make citizen participation integral to the administration of criminal justice. The lesson here is clear: We can be certain that other prosecutions would collapse as spectacularly as Rittenhouse’s if we reined in the government’s ability to spackle over weak cases with coerced pleas.” (11/19/21)