Quoted from Rep Pittman’s newsletter:
Some folks who receive my newsletter have asked my reasons for opposing the constitutional amendment in this year’s election. Here are some reasons given by Cabarrus County District Attorney, Roxanne Vaneekhoven, with which I am in total agreement.
“Allowing a person charged with a criminal offense to waive trial by jury, with merely the consent of the trial judge, will take the DA’s office, the victim, and/or the victim’s family, not to mention the citizens in the community, out of the discussion of whether to have a jury trial.
It will cost the State more, creating more trials in Superior Court, and bog down the judicial process, making it less efficient.
It will lead to ‘judge shopping’ by defendants, seeking delays until they can get ‘the right judge’ to hear their case. At the same time, it will lead to more appeals based on the claim that the judge was not fair, and may even give the appearance that a judge is playing favorites with certain attorneys.
On the one hand, some defendants may be coerced to waive jury trial. On the other hand, there will probably be more defendants filing Motions for Appropriate Relief if the judge convicts them, claiming they were forced to waive jury trial or did not understand the process.”
If you are frustrated now with how convicted criminals seem to play the system and stretch out the process to avoid the consequences of their actions, you don’t want to pass this amendment. It will only make this problem worse. Conversely, if you would rather trust a jury of twelve of your peers, rather than one judge, to give you a fair hearing, then this is your chance to stand up for that right by saying NO to this amendment.
Besides all that, the right to a trial by jury is one of the most precious rights we have that separates our system of government from others in the world that do not allow their citizens such rights. This amendment diminishes the justice of our system of justice. Please vote NO, and tell everybody you know to do the same. Vote AGAINST this amendment.