Runaway Jury: How Coercive Plea Bargaining Killed Jury Trials (and Updates on Cato v. SEC )

Live Online
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
12:00 – 12:30PM EDT

Featuring Clark Neily, Vice President for Criminal Justice; moderated by Caleb O. Brown, Host of the Cato Daily Podcast.

With the passage of the First Step Act in December, criminal justice advocates on both sides of the political spectrum cheered the most celebrated federal reform package in living memory. But the reaction from others, including Cato’s Project on Criminal Justice, led by Clark Neily, was more restrained. While the First Step Act will certainly ameliorate a handful of individual injustices, it holds little promise of effecting truly meaningful, systemic reform of our profoundly broken and pathological criminal justice systems.

As the name of the bill suggests, it was only a first step — and a small one at that.

Clark is leading Cato’s effort to effect far more fundamental changes to the system by challenging the regime of coercive plea bargaining that has all but eliminated the criminal jury trial and by seeking to end the judicially‐​created doctrine of qualified immunity, which has become the cornerstone of our near‐​zero‐​accountability policy for law enforcement.

During this eBriefing, Clark will also provide updates on Cato’s free speech lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has the potential to restore the free‐​speech rights of those silenced by the agency’s insistence upon unconstitutional gag orders as a condition of settling even non‐​meritorious civil enforcement actions. But this discussion will also rely on your questions and observations for Clark’s response. Please submit any questions or comments ahead of time in the interface on this webpage or send them to Brian Mullis at bmullis@​cato.​org. Please note that it isn’t necessary to download any software to watch the briefing online, and you don’t need to reserve your spot. You will also be able to submit questions and comments during the event.

If you have video problems during our discussion on the 15th, please refresh the page and try playing the video again. If any problems persist please contact Josh Ferencik at (202) 216‑1465 or jferencik@​cato.​org.

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