Voters To Decide Whether Felony Defendants Can Waive Right To Jury Trial

Oct 9, 2014



When North Carolina voters go to the polls this year, many will quickly fill-in their decisions for major elections.

On the ballot they’ll find the U.S. Senate race, state legislature races, county commissioners, and the North Carolina Supreme Court race.

But way down at the end of the ballot will be a proposed constitutional amendment. Unlike Amendment One in 2012, most changes to the constitution do not receive national media attention.

This year, voters will decide whether felony defendants in non-capital cases should have the opportunity to waive their right to a jury trial.

The language on the ballot is: 

Constitutional amendment providing that a person accused of any criminal offense for which the State is not seeking a sentence of death in superior court may, in writing or on the record in court and with the consent of the trial judge, waive the person's right to a trial by jury.


Host Frank Stasio talks with UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government associate professor Jeff Welty about how the amendment could change criminal proceedings in North Carolina.