More Teaching Moments Selected Memories of PSU Faculty

Courtroom Case

October 3rd, 2012 by Heather

Mark James Fischler Criminal Justice

Mark Fischler

Mark Fischler

One of my students was assigned an internship with the Laconia Police Department, to be followed by a final class presentation on the experience.  The intent of the assignment was so that he could make important connections between concepts learned in the classroom and actual life experience in the field.  As his teacher I was excited to learn what he had discovered firsthand.

During the presentation he told of attending court and observing how hastily many of the defendants entered into plea bargains to dispose of their cases.  I anticipated that he would have realized the difference between the myth of all defendants going to trial versus the fact that over 90% of them across the United States (including NH) end up entering into plea bargains.  They thus avoid trial altogether.

Instead my student declared that he now clearly understood the Sixth Amendment guarantee to a right for a speedy trial.

(The right to a speedy trial, of course, has nothing to do with how quickly a judge hears a plea bargain and moves on to the next case.  It has to do with one’s right to be brought before a court to answer the government’s charges in a speedy manner.)

Next year’s class will spend a little more time on the concept of speedy trial!