Featured Events

October 18

Coercive Plea Bargaining

Coercive Plea Bargaining

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has observed that “criminal justice today is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials.”

Although nowhere mentioned in the text of the Constitution, plea bargaining has become the default mechanism for resolving criminal charges in the United States. Indeed, some 95 percent of criminal convictions today are obtained through plea bargains, which raises a number of serious concerns, including why so few people choose to exercise their hallowed and hard-won right to a jury trial. When one considers the many tools available to prosecutors to encourage defendants to accept plea offers, together with the incentive to resolve as many cases as efficiently as possible, one cannot help but ask how many plea agreements are truly voluntary and how many are the result of irresistible coercion. Are there constitutional or ethical limits on coercive plea bargaining, and if so, are they being properly enforced? And what should we make of an institution that has practically eliminated the criminal jury trial and with it the Framers’ painstaking efforts to ensure citizen participation in the administration of justice?

We will discuss these and other important questions raised by the evolution of plea bargaining within our justice system.

October 1

The Federal Role in Public Transit

The Federal Role in Public Transit

Transit ridership is declining nationwide despite billions of dollars in federal subsidies, observes Randal O’Toole, one of the nation’s leading critics of the transit industry. He argues that the federal government should stop subsidizing a dying industry. Jarrett Walker — one of the most innovative thinkers in the transit community — disagrees, arguing that public transit has a vital role to play in urban transportation and urban growth. Join us to hear these two experts debate the appropriate role of federal funding in urban transportation.

November 1

Stalin’s Propaganda and Putin’s Information Wars

Featuring Stephen Kotkin, John P. Birkelund ‘52 Professor in History and International Affairs, Princeton University, and Author, Stalin: Waiting for Hitler and Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment.

If you can’t make it to the event, you can watch it live online at www.cato.org/live and join the conversation on Twitter using #CatoLectures. Follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute.

Past Events

October 18

Coercive Plea Bargaining

Coercive Plea Bargaining

Featuring Scott Hechinger, Senior Staff Attorney and Director of Policy, Brooklyn Defender Services; Bonnie Hoffman, Director of Public Defense Reform and Training, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Somil Trivedi, Staff Attorney, ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality; moderated by Clark Neily, Vice President for Criminal Justice, Cato Institute.

October 17

The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy

The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy

Featuring the author Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, and Contributing Editor, Foreign Policy magazine; with comments by Stephen Wertheim, Visiting Scholar, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, and Visiting Assistant Professor in History, Columbia University; moderated by Christopher Preble, Vice President of Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

October 12

Parental Leave: Is There a Case for Federal Action?

Parental Leave: Is There a Case for Federal Action?

Featuring Vanessa Brown Calder, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute; Emily Ekins, Director of Polling, Cato Institute; Veronique de Rugy, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center at George Mason University; Rachel Greszler, Research Fellow in economics, budget, and entitlements, Heritage Foundation; moderated by Matt Weibel, Director of Government Affairs, Cato Institute.

October 12

Cato Institute Policy Perspectives 2018

Featuring Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership, New York University; Greg Lukianoff, President and CEO, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education; Co-Authors, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure; Peter Goettler, President and CEO, Cato Institute; Jason Kuznicki, Research Fellow and Editor, Cato Books and Cato Unbound, Cato Institute; Sallie James, Director of Development, Cato Institute; and Clark Neily Vice President for Criminal Justice, Cato Institute.