January 13, 2009

State v. James Jackson


If a criminal defendant waives his right to a jury trial and is found guilty in a bench trial, he may challenge his jury trial waiver on appeal solely on the ground that it was not voluntary and knowing. The other factors that the Supreme Court in Dunne directed a trial court to consider in determining whether to grant a defendant's motion to waive a jury trial are not designed to protect the rights of the defendant, but rather to assure that a trial before a judge rather than a jury does not undermine the public's confidence in the criminal justice system. Therefore, a defendant may not rely upon the trial court's misapplication of those other factors to obtain a new trial before a jury.

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