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Plea, The
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered January 1983 Since January 1983, FRONTLINE has served as American public television's - PBS - flagship public affairs series. Hailed upon its television broadcast debut as "the last best hope for broadcast documentaries," FRONTLINE's stature over 23 years is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human experience. Series release date: 1/1983

Program Description

It is the centerpiece of America's judicial process: the trial by jury system that places a defendant's fate in the hands of a jury of one's peers. But just how many citizens are aware that nearly 95 percent of all criminal cases never reach a jury, but instead are settled through plea bargains? To overworked and understaffed defense lawyers, prosecutors and jurists, plea bargains are the safety valve that keeps cases moving through our backlogged courts. Critics, however, contend that the push to resolve cases through plea bargains jeopardizes the constitutional rights of defendants, who may be pressured to admit their guilt whether they're guilty or not. In this documentary, FRONTLINE explores the moral, judicial and constitutional implications of relying on plea bargains to expedite justice.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Public Affairs
Chicago: “FRONTLINE; Plea, The,” 06/17/2004, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed September 27, 2020, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5A7144CE52BF483EAB93F46115E681A9.
MLA: “FRONTLINE; Plea, The.” 06/17/2004. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. September 27, 2020. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5A7144CE52BF483EAB93F46115E681A9>.
APA: FRONTLINE; Plea, The. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_5A7144CE52BF483EAB93F46115E681A9
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