If you believed the many legal dramas in TV reflected actual court proceedings, you would be under the impression that our legal system is driven by the battle of wits between two lawyers at trial. If, however, you examine how our legal system operates, you would see that long ago our system became one where trials are rare. Instead, it is the plea bargain sitting at the bedrock of our legal system, but how did this happen? How did our country go from outright rejecting plea bargains so that a jury trial may happen to a country that actively punishes those who seek out a trial?

All that and more is at the forefront of this discussion between Hunter and Professor Carissa Byrne Hessick. Our guest is a law professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and author of the book Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining is Bad Deal. As the title suggests and as many of my guests know, plea bargaining is likely not the best for the accused, for the alleged victims, or for society at large, but what is lost when we allow justice to be negotiated behind closed doors? Tune in to this episode to find out!