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Frontline

The Plea (#2215)

It is the centerpiece of America's judicial process: the trial by jury system that places a defendant's fate in the hands of a jury of one's peers. But just how many citizens are aware that nearly 95 percent of all criminal cases never reach a jury, but instead are settled through plea bargains? To overworked and understaffed defense lawyers, prosecutors and jurists, plea bargains are the safety valve that keeps cases moving through our backlogged courts. Critics, however, contend that the push to resolve cases through plea bargains jeopardizes the constitutional rights of defendants, who may be pressured to admit their guilt whether they're guilty or not. In this documentary, FRONTLINE explores the moral, judicial and constitutional implications of relying on plea bargains to expedite justice. [86 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Information For Teachers

Grade Levels
9-12
Curricular Areas
Social Studies
Series Length
345 episodes
Average Episode Length
68 minutes
Record Rights
Record and retain for 1 year from each broadcast. No duplication allowed.
Visit the Website for Teacher Resources
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/...

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Series Description: As PBS' premier public affairs series, FRONTLINE's stature is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human, social and political experience.

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These episodes of Frontline aired in the last few months on Iowa Public Television.

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