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The Defendant's Right to Waive Jury Trial in Criminal Cases, 9 University of Florida Law Review 247 (1956)


The right of a defendant in a criminal proceeding to trial by an impartial jury is one of several constitutional safeguards in the attempt to insure a fair trial and to protect the accused from oppression There are times, however, when a defendant considers it desirable to waive this right and to elect trial by the court alone. The crime charged may be of a revolting nature, such as rape; the victim may have been a prominent member of the community or a public official; the crime may have received sensational press notice. He may feel the need for trial by a judge when technical or complicated fact situations are involved. There may be something in the defendant's past life, reputation, or appearance likely to arouse prejudice against him in the minds of a jury. In addition, various psychological and strategic factors may lead defense counsel to believe that a trial without a jury would be advantageous, such as an intuitive lining up of the jury as a prosecution jury, a feeling that the judge's policy or attitude in regard to certain offenses is favorable, or fear of the professional juror's subservience to the prosecutor's office.

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