Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

W&L Law’s King Publishes Article in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law Professor J.D. King published "Juries, Democracy, and Petty Crime."

kingjd W&L Law's King Publishes Article in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional LawProf. J.D. King

Washington and Lee law professor J.D. King has published an article in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law. In the article, titled “Juries, Democracy, and Petty Crime,” King argues that the right of trial by jury should extend even to defendants charged with minor criminal offenses that are considered in order to restore the legitimacy of the U.S. justice system and reduce mass incarceration.

“Guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution, the Sixth Amendment, and every one of the original state constitutions, the criminal jury was seen as critically important not only to the protection of individual rights but also to the architecture of American democracy. The vast majority of criminal prosecutions today, however, are resolved without even the prospect of community review by a jury. Despite the textual clarity of the guarantee, the Supreme Court has long recognized a “petty offense” exception to the right to trial by jury,” writes King.

“Recognizing that a conviction for even a low-level offense can have devastating effects, some courts have begun to narrowly interpret the “petty offense” exception, especially where a conviction could have severe immigration-related consequences…. As advocates push to expand the right to trial by jury, the Supreme Court should revisit the “petty offense” exception in light of the expansive web of collateral consequences that has developed in the past few decades.”

The article is available online at the journal website.  An extensive review from the Crime Report is also available.

If you know any W&L faculty who would be great profile subjects, tell us about them! Nominate them for a web profile.