Over the past several decades, America’s criminal justice system has moved dangerously close to a “point and convict” process of adjudication as trials have been all but replaced by plea bargaining. As a result, 95 percent of all criminal convictions today are obtained not through constitutionally prescribed public jury trials but through an often astonishingly coercive process of inducing defendants to forego their right to a trial and simply condemn themselves instead.
Directed and produced by Emmy‐nominated Wynette Yao, The Vanishing Trial follows four individuals forced to make the excruciating choice of either pleading guilty to a crime they did not commit in exchange for a shorter sentence or going to trial and risking decades behind bars. Throughout the film, we hear from leading experts about how this so‐called trial penalty has effectively abrogated one of our most hallowed constitutional rights and helped fuel mass incarceration.
This online event will feature a panel discussion followed by a question‐and‐answer session with the audience. Participants are encouraged to watch The Vanishing Trial before the panel discussion and will receive a link and password upon registering for the event so they can watch the 40‐minute film online.