Decline and Criticism

in The Death of the American Trial

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780226081267
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226081281 | DOI:
Decline and Criticism

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This chapter reviews the empirical evidence of the decline of the trial in the United States. It cites statistics showing a rapid decline in the numbers of criminal and civil trials over the last thirty years and the catastrophic crash over the last ten years. The chapter evaluates the tentative speculations about what is fueling the decline and suggests that this decline has a self-perpetuating quality, as key actors lose the skills and dispositions necessary to try cases.

Keywords: trial; United States; criminal trials; civil trials; empirical evidence; self-perpetuating

Chapter.  12323 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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