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Section 3 Introduction-1

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1 Section 3 Introduction-1
Criminal Law Key Terms criminal law, criminal justice system, petty offense, misdemeanor, felony, arrest warrant, grand jury, indictment, information, plea bargaining, jury, verdict, hung jury, sentence Find Out • How are the types of crime identified according to severity? • What are the main steps in a criminal case? Section 3 Introduction-1

2 Section 3 Introduction-2
Criminal Law Understanding Concepts Political Processes How does the criminal justice system attempt to balance the rights of the accused and the rights of society? Section Objective Classify types of crimes and outline the steps followed in criminal cases. Section 3 Introduction-2

3 During the 1970s and 1980s, serious crimes in the United States, such as murder, arson, and burglary, increased alarmingly, especially in large cities. Many people felt threatened by the growing violence. By the late 1990s, however, the crime rate had decreased dramatically. Tougher law enforcement, more police, neighborhood patrols, and a crackdown on drug dealers helped bring about this remarkable change. Section 3-1

4 I. Types of Crime (pages 437–438)
A. Most crimes committed in the United States break state laws; each state has its own penal code, or written laws that spell out crimes and punishments. B. Crimes may be petty offenses, misdemeanors, or felonies. C. Petty offenses are minor, like illegal parking; misdemeanors are more serious crimes like vandalism; felonies are serious criminal acts like murder, robbery, or kidnapping. Section 3-2

5 I. Types of Crime (pages 437–438)
Section 3-3

6 I. Types of Crime (pages 437–438)
In recent years the number of serious crimes committed in the United States has dropped. Do you think this trend will continue? Explain. Answers will vary. Discuss local efforts to combat serious crime. Section 3-4

7 II. Steps in Criminal Cases (pages 438–443)
A. The prosecutor, or government lawyer responsible for bringing a criminal charge, must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a judge or jury that the defendant violated the law. B. Criminal cases begin when police gather enough evidence to convince a judge to issue an arrest warrant. C. The arrested person is taken to a police station, the charges are recorded, and the suspect may be fingerprinted and photographed. Section 3-5

8 II. Steps in Criminal Cases (pages 438–443)
D. The arrested person is brought before a judge as quickly as possible to be formally charged with a crime; if the case is a misdemeanor, the person may plead guilty or not guilty. E. Cases may then go to a grand jury, which determines whether there is enough evidence to put the accused person on trial, or to a preliminary hearing before a judge for the same purpose. Section 3-6

9 II. Steps in Criminal Cases (pages 438–443)
F. At this point, about 90 percent of criminal cases end in a guilty plea in which the accused pleads guilty to a lesser crime in return for the government’s not prosecuting the more serious original crime (plea bargaining). G. After a grand jury indictment or a preliminary hearing, a judge reads the formal charge at an arraignment held in an open courtroom; the defendant may plead not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity, guilty, or no contest. Section 3-7

10 II. Steps in Criminal Cases (pages 438–443)
H. In felony cases, the defendant may choose between a jury trial and a bench trial heard by a judge. I. Jurors listen as witnesses are called and the evidence is presented. J. In jury trials, the presiding judge instructs the jury on proper legal procedures and explains the law. The jury goes to a jury room to review the evidence and reach a decision. To reach a guilty verdict, the jury must find the evidence convincing beyond a reasonable doubt. Section 3-8

11 II. Steps in Criminal Cases (pages 438–443)
K. If the jury’s verdict is “not guilty,” the defendant is released immediately. If the jury’s verdict is “guilty,” the judge usually determines the sentence. Section 3-9

12 II. Steps in Criminal Cases (pages 438–443)
Some people would like to eliminate the plea bargaining system. Explain why you agree or disagree with this idea. Answers will vary. See text pages 440–441 for discussion of plea bargaining. Section 3-10

13 Checking for Understanding
1. Main Idea Use a Venn diagram like the one here to show the differences and similarities between the steps in criminal and civil lawsuits. Criminal: investigation, arrest, initial appearance, hearing or grand jury, plea bargaining or arraignment and plea, decision, sentencing. Civil: hiring a lawyer, complaint, discovery, award. Both: trial. Section 3 Assessment-1

14 Checking for Understanding
Match the term with the correct definition. ___ hung jury ___ verdict ___ petty offense ___ indictment ___ misdemeanor ___ felony A D E B F C A. a jury that is unable to reach a decision B. a formal charge by a grand jury C. a major crime D. decision E. a minor crime, usually punished by a ticket rather than being arrested F. a minor crime that is usually punished by a fine or jail sentence of less than one year Section 3 Assessment-2

15 Checking for Understanding
3. Identify Sixth Amendment, Fifth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment guarantees that defendants should not have to wait a long time before their trial starts. The Fifth Amendment guarantees that defendants do not have to testify, and refusal to testify cannot be taken as an admission of guilt. Section 3 Assessment-3

16 Checking for Understanding
4. Identify three classifications of crimes. The three classifications of crimes are petty offenses, misdemeanors, and felonies, depending on the severity of the crime. Section 3 Assessment-4

17 Critical Thinking 5. Demonstrating Reasoned Judgment Do you think people charged with violent crimes should be allowed to raise bail? Why? Answers will vary. Students who think that the accused should be allowed to raise bail might suggest that not releasing the accused violates the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Students who think otherwise might suggest that setting the accused free is too risky and that such a person might commit a violent crime again. Section 3 Assessment-5

18 Section 3 Concepts in Action
Political Processes Create a political cartoon that illustrates the way the criminal justice system tries to balance the rights of the accused against the rights of society. Section 3 Concepts in Action


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