Presentation on theme: "Courts and the Quest for Justice. In Theory: Courtroom Ideals Courts have extensive powers in our criminal justice system. The courts legitimacy is."— Presentation transcript:
Courts and the Quest for Justice
In Theory: Courtroom Ideals Courts have extensive powers in our criminal justice system. The courts legitimacy is based on two factors: Impartiality Independence
In Practice: The American Judicial System Jurisdiction: Geographic jurisdiction International jurisdiction Subject-matter jurisdiction Courts of general jurisdiction Courts of limited jurisdiction
Trial and Appellate Courts Trial Courts: Have original jurisdiction Are concerned with questions of fact Appellate Courts: Courts of review Concerned with questions of law
The Dual Court System The dual court system is comprised of both federal and state courts. Both federal and state courts have limited jurisdiction. Federal courts enforce federal statutes. State courts enforce state statutes. The distinction between the courts is not always clear. In some cases, both courts have jurisdiction over the same criminal behavior
State Court Systems The state court system includes: Trial courts of general jurisdiction Appellate courts The state’s highest courts
The Federal Court System Three-tiered model: U.S. District Court U.S. Court of Appeals United States Supreme Court
The Federal Court System The United States Supreme Court: Highest court in the United States Nine justices, led by the Chief Justice Reviews fewer than 0.5 cases Cases selected through writ of certiorari, issued by the rule of four. Makes policy in two ways: Judicial review Interpretation of the law
The Federal Court System The United States Supreme Court normally does not hear any evidence. The court’s decision is based on the written records, written arguments, and occasionally oral arguments. Justices decide each case in conference, and then the senior justice on the majority side writes the opinion. Concurring opinions Dissenting opinions
Judges in the Court System The duties of judges before trial include determining: Whether there is sufficient probable cause to issue an arrest or search warrant, or to authorize electronic surveillance Whether the defendant should be release on bail and the amount of that bail Whether to accept pretrial motions Whether to accept a plea bargaining
Judges in the Court System During the trial judges are: Referees Teachers Administrators
Judges in the Court System Selection of Judges: Federal court judges Appointed by the President and confirmed by the senate. Life-time appointment.
Judges in the Court System Selection of Judges State court judges Appointment Election Partisan elections Nonpartisan elections Merit selection (The Missouri Plan)
Judges in the Court System Judicial Ethics: The American Bar Association created the first code The Model Code of Judicial Conduct is the basis for conduct codes in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Many address not only illegal and corrupt conduct, but the personal conduct of judges
Judges in the Court System The Recusal Requirement: The judge has a personal bias against one of the parties Prior to entering the judiciary, the judge worked on the case in question The judge or his/her family have a financial or other interest in the case The judge or his/her family may be called as witnesses in the case
The Courtroom Work Group Members of the courtroom work group: Judges Prosecutors Defense attorneys Bailiffs Clerks of the court Court reporters
The Courtroom Work Group Each member of the court room carries out specialized tasks. The judge is the leader of the work group. Laissez-faire judges. “Tough-on-crime” judges.
The Courtroom Work Group The Prosecution Criminal cases are tried by public prosecutors, who are employed by the government. The attorney general is the chief law enforcement officer in any state. Each jurisdiction has a chief prosecutor who is appointed, or more often, elected. Chief prosecutors often have numerous assistant prosecutors.
The Courtroom Work Group The Prosecution Prosecutors act as officers of the law during criminal trials. During the pretrial period, they have the discretion to determine: Whether a suspect will be charged with a crime The level of charges to be brought against the suspect If and when to stop the prosecution
The Courtroom Work Group
The Defense Attorney: Provides legal representation to criminal defendants during the court process. Investigating the incident for which the defendant has been charged. Communicating with the prosecutor, which includes negotiating plea bargains Preparing the case for trial. Submitting defense motions, including motions to suppress evidence. Representing the defendant at trial. Negotiating a sentence, if the client has been convicted. Determining whether to appeal a guilty verdict
The Courtroom Work Group There are two types of defense attorneys: Private attorneys Public defenders / court appointed. Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) In re Gault (1967) Argersinger v. Hamlin (1972)
The Courtroom Work Group Attorney-Client Privilege: Communication between defense attorneys and their clients must be kept confidential unless the client consents to disclosure. This privilege extends to criminal confessions. Exceptions to attorney-client privilege