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Court System and Practices

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Presentation on theme: "Court System and Practices"— Presentation transcript:

1 Court System and Practices
Assembly Line Justice Court System and Practices

2 Copyright and Terms of Service
Copyright © Texas Education Agency, These materials are copyrighted © and trademarked ™ as the property of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and may not be reproduced without the express written permission of TEA, except under the following conditions: 1)  Texas public school districts, charter schools, and Education Service Centers may reproduce and use copies of the Materials and Related Materials for the districts’ and schools’ educational use without obtaining permission from TEA. 2)  Residents of the state of Texas may reproduce and use copies of the Materials and Related Materials for individual personal use only, without obtaining written permission of TEA. 3)  Any portion reproduced must be reproduced in its entirety and remain unedited, unaltered and unchanged in any way. 4)  No monetary charge can be made for the reproduced materials or any document containing them; however, a reasonable charge to cover only the cost of reproduction and distribution may be charged. Private entities or persons located in Texas that are not Texas public school districts, Texas Education Service Centers, or Texas charter schools or any entity, whether public or private, educational or non-educational, located outside the state of Texas MUST obtain written approval from TEA and will be required to enter into a license agreement that may involve the payment of a licensing fee or a royalty. Contact TEA Copyrights with any questions you may have.

3 Role of the Victim Report the crime – prompt reporting helps ensure preservation of evidence and increases the victim’s credibility Preserve the evidence – evidence will be gathered, photographed, and documented for later use in court

4 Role of the Victim (continued)
Seek medical attention Victims may have physical injuries that need attention Medical records are a documentation of evidence Victims should also seek counseling if needed Crime victim’s compensation can help victims with the cost of treatment/counseling

5 Role of the Victim (continued)
Meet with police and prosecutors First responding officers will get basic information regarding the crime Detectives will generally follow up with a more thorough investigation After charges are filed a prosecutor will be assigned Prosecutors and victims’ advocates will meet with and interview the victim

6 Role of the Victim (continued)
Testify Adult Victims Victims’ advocates will prepare a victim for what to expect during the testimony and the contents of testimony needed Victims will be held in a separate area during the trial until it is their time to testify Prosecutors will ask questions first The defense attorney will then cross-examine

7 Role of the Victim (continued)
Testify (continued) Child Victims The judge will ask the child questions to determine if the child is capable of testifying Testifying can be an important part of the healing process for the child The child will be prepared by prosecutors and advocates prior to testimony

8 Role of the Victim (continued)
Make a Victim Impact Statement – tells the judge and jury how the crime has impacted the victim and his or her family physically, emotionally, and financially Register for notification of the defendant’s release – Notifies victims about the defendant’s (offender’s) status, parole eligibility, parole hearings, release from custody and transfer to minimum security facilities

9 Victim Impact on Trial Victim Impact Statements
“…are written or oral information about the impact of the crime on the victim and the victim’s family” –National Center for Victims of Crime Draw jurors away from the procedures of a trial and replaces it with a more human emotion Are presented before sentencing, but may also be collected during pre-trial proceedings

10 Victim Impact on Trial (continued)
Victim Impact Statements (continued) Give a glimpse into the defendant’s behavior, the impact it has on the victim and his or her family, and gives recommendations for sentencing Are used by the court to examine the current crime, criminal history, and medical and psychological stability Can be presented by the victim’s family in cases of murder

11 Victim Impact on Trial (continued)
Victim participation in investigations Victims of crime play an essential role in the criminal investigations by providing timelines of events and testimony at trial Victims provide evidence of the crime Victims may be called to provide testimony before the court at several different court dates

12 Defendant’s Courtroom Role
Defendant’s demeanor Dress conservatively Get a fresh haircut for the trial Stand up and speak clearly and intelligently Say, “Yes, your Honor,” and, “No, your Honor” Be respectful – be courteous – be polite Be ready and attentive to be called during the trial Turn off your cell phone and other electronics

13 Defendant’s Courtroom Role (continued)
Defendant’s demeanor (continued) Be on your best behavior Take notes of questions and comments for your attorney The defendant’s behavior and/or demeanor in the courtroom can greatly impact the outcome of the trial (it has been shown in many high profile criminal cases that jurors use the defendant’s courtroom demeanor to determine sincerity and culpability)

14 Defendant’s Courtroom Role (continued)
Codefendant’s role Plead to a lesser charge in exchange for his or her testimony against the main defendant Testimony becomes “he said/she said,” and it is then up to the jury to decide who is more truthful Codefendants may be convicted in a separate trial which can play a role in the trial of the defendant Multiple codefendants tend to increase likelihood of conviction for the defendant

15 Assembly Line Justice Definition – cases are treated in a specific way by all parties and a standardized response on how to handle the case is developed. Individual details are largely ignored for the sake of expediency and efficiency. Defendants are all treated the same. There is no discretion for the court. Defendants are merely pushed through the system.

16 Assembly Line Justice (continued)
Discretion – the power to make decisions on some matters without being bound by precedent or strict rules established by statutes Juries were put into place as a check on judicial discretion Judges may use discretion in court proceedings. For instance, the allowing of evidence, during sentencing or as needed during the trial process

17 Assembly Line Justice (continued)
Discretion (continued) Prosecutors use discretion when determining what charges to bring against defendants and in deciding what witnesses to present Defense attorneys use discretion in determining whether or not to put the defendant on the stand to testify Defense attorneys and prosecutors use discretion when deciding whether or not to offer a defendant a plea bargain

18 Assembly Line Justice (continued)
Example – Operation Streamline Migrants from Mexico and Central America with no prior criminal record have attempted to cross the border in search of work or to reunite with family in the U.S. The first time offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison. Those charged with re-entry face a felony with a minimum of 2 years, and the possibility of 20 years if they have a criminal record

19 Assembly Line Justice (continued)
Example – Operation Streamline (continued) The program has removed prosecutorial discretion, requiring criminal prosecution of all undocumented border crossers regardless of their history The program strains the resources of judges, U.S. attorneys, defense attorneys, U.S. Marshals, and court personnel Voluminous prosecutions of up to 80 defendants at a time force courts to cut procedural corners and deprive violators of their due process rights

20 Resources Assembly-line Justice: A Review of Operation Streamline Taking a Stand on Taking the Stand: The Effect of a Prior Criminal Record on the Decision to Testify and on Trial Outcomes The Interview with Stephen Bright The Plea Video National Center for Victims of Crime Do an Internet search for the following: Video mom delivers victim impact statement Ehow victim participation in the criminal justice process Victim’s role in a criminal prosecution Defendant’s brain disease impacts trial Criminal law library blog Jury Expert Has a New Look Save an innocent life Legal experts: Co-defendant's testimony will 'make or break' Kissel case

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