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Chapter Five: THE DYNAMICS OF COURTHOUSE JUSTICE.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter Five: THE DYNAMICS OF COURTHOUSE JUSTICE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter Five: THE DYNAMICS OF COURTHOUSE JUSTICE

2 From the perspective of the offender, the victim, the witness, and the juror - Are the Courthouse and Courtroom imposing entities ? If they are, what makes them that way?

3 Dynamics of the Courtroom Courtroom Expectations Trials Adversarial behavior Discretionary decisions guided by formal rules Courtroom Reality Pleas and assembly- line justice Cooperation more than conflict Informal rules and shared norms guide prosecutors at the charging stage and judges at the bail and sentencing stage.

4 Assembly-line Justice: Dealing with Large Caseloads Either efficient court administrators or the clerk of the court can streamline court procedures. Group processing of offenders during the initial appearance can enhance court procedures. The “going rate” of various charges is predetermined by the courtroom workgroup and tends to accelerate the court process. Routine administration of those cases which do not dispute question of law or fact – usually by plea.

5 Discretion The lawful ability of an agent of the government to exercise choice in making a decision. Subcomponents Legal judgments, i.e., arrests, charges, sentencing. Policy priorities, i.e., the “War” on drugs. Personal philosophies, i.e., varying views on the purpose of the law – for example, the death penalty.

6 What other issues can affect discretion at the various stages of the criminal justice process? (for example, if you were a judge, what might affect your decisions other than the previously described subcomponents?)

7 The Courtroom Workgroup The courtroom actors include judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, clerks, and probation officers. There is no hierarchy of tasks. Each actor is separate and independent. The courtroom workgroup is mutually interdependent.

8 The Courtroom Workgroup (cont’d) This complex network is based on shared norms and a group sense of justice when dealing with “normal” crimes. There is a socialization process. There are inter-group internal sanctions. Stability of courtroom workgroups varies from courtroom to courtroom and community to community.

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10 Delay Delay is defined as abnormal or unacceptable lapses in the processing of court cases. What is unnecessary delay? What is the federal remedy?

11 Major Issues of Case Delay Delay jeopardizes speedy-trial laws (6 th Amendment). Delay jeopardizes speedy convictions. Delay erodes public confidence. Delay can force either detrimental plea bargains or unduly lenient negotiated bargains. Delay can extend jail overcrowding and defendant’s skipping court appearances.

12 How does delay affect the offender at various stages of the criminal justice process? What stage would be most important? (bail, charging, plea bargaining)

13 According to Barker v. Wingo (1972), what was the Court’s explanation of the right to a speedy trial?

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15 What are several ways in which to improve case load disposition and delays?

16 Is gender bias a problem created by the court system?


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