Here is a slate review of a new book, which proposes reforming the jury system by establishing “plea juries” which would review plea bargains and accept or reject them.
The idea is not as unrealistic as it sounds at first. In states like Virginia, where the juries do the sentencing, the jury sometimes functions somewhat like the plea jury described in the article. At our firm, we have on several occasions taken cases to trial in Virginia that we knew we would lose, based on the calculated risk that the jury would give a fairer sentence than the government would agree to in a plea bargain. So far, the strategy has never failed.