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Introduction to Criminal Justice Chapter 8. What is a court? Place where “arguments” get settled Court applies the law to the argument at hand Courts’

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Criminal Justice Chapter 8. What is a court? Place where “arguments” get settled Court applies the law to the argument at hand Courts’"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Criminal Justice Chapter 8

2 What is a court? Place where “arguments” get settled Court applies the law to the argument at hand Courts’ legitimacy to describe these issues based on: –Impartiality (Fair?) –Independent (No outside factors will influence decision)

3 Does court have authority to decide a case? Jurisdiction: In Latin—”To speak the law” Definition: The authority of a court to hear and decide cases within an area of the law or geographic territory.

4 Two types of jurisdiction Subject matter : Can the court rule on the type of issue presented? Geographic : Can the court exercise authority over the specific area involved? (State, county, other) Criminal court can only address crimes committed within its geographic area

5 Jurisdiction of the courts Court of general jurisdiction: No restrictions on the subject matter they can address. –Can handle serious felonies –Example: State trial courts Courts of limited jurisdiction: Can handle only a specific category of crime –Such as misdemeanors, civil matters, less than a certain dollar amount –Example: Associate District Courts in Iowa Special subject matter courts: Drug courts, domestic violence courts

6 Trial Courts Have original jurisdiction; or “courts of first instance” Original jurisdiction: Can take a case from beginning and handle it all the way through process Primarily concerned with questions of fact Determines what events occurred relevant to guilt of offender

7 Appellate Courts Reviews actions of trial courts Only reviews cases appealed by one side Does not use juries or hear witnesses Considers only the written record of trial, written arguments (briefs), and oral arguments They do not determine guilt or innocence Accepts facts as found by trial court

8 Appellate Courts Only decides if trial court applied the law correctly Review manner in which facts and evidence were given to the jury Can reverse or overturn the trial courts decisions

9 Dual Court System A compromise when the U. S. Constitution was enacted in 1791 Anti-Federalists wanted the Supreme Court to be the only national court with nearly all power to state courts Federalists wanted all cases heard in federal courts Constitution set up: –Federal courts---to hear violations of federal law –State courts---to hear all state law violations

10 Distribution of Cases Between the Two Court Systems A number of crimes are violations of both state and federal law Examples: Drug crimes, Possession of Firearm by a Felon, Kidnapping Persons accused of these crimes could be prosecuted in federal or state court State and federal prosecutors decide who will prosecute, based on: –Notoriety –Penalties (most frequently) –Relative caseloads

11 State court systems Lower courts, or courts of limited jurisdiction (Associate District Court, Magistrates’ Courts, Justice of the Peace)---Less formal Trial courts, of general jurisdiction –County Court, District Court, Superior Court –Many types of subject matter State courts of appeals –Intermediate courts of appeals –Supreme Court (highest court in state on all state law questions)

12 State Courts The appellate court’s judgment may approve or affirm lower court’s ruling Reversal and remand – Or the appellate court may find mistakes were made and the case must be tried over (reversed) and returned (remanded) to the trial judge, along with instructions about how to proceed

13 Federal courts structure U. S. District Courts---Trial courts of general jurisdiction In Iowa—2 Federal courts, northern and southern U. S. Courts of Appeals---(13 intermediate courts of appeals) Iowa is in the 8 th Circuit U. S. Supreme Court---Highest court in the nation

14 Federal Courts---Appellate Courts The Federal Circuit hears appeals in cases from the U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of International Trade, the International Trade Commission, the Board of Contract Appeals, the Patent and Trademark Office, the Merit Systems Protection Board, appeals from decisions of the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce

15 U. S. Supreme Court Reviews very small number of cases Decisions often have significant effect on people’s lives Examples: –Gideon v. Wainwright (Representation by counsel) –Miranda v. Arizona (Custodial interrogation) –Furman v. Georgia (Death penalty unconstitutional) –Gregg v. Arizona (Spelled out rules for enforcing death penalty)

16 U. S. Supreme Court Exercises judicial review---Decides whether a law violates constitution Interprets meaning of the law in certain situations (Like Miranda case) Nearly all work is on appeals---Circuit courts, state supreme courts Rare situations where it has original jurisdiction

17 How do cases reach Supreme Court? No right of appeal to Supreme Court Less than 100 cases heard yearly By writ of certiorari, court requests record of lower court for review At least 4 of the 9 justices must agree to hear the case Question asked: Does the case involve a “substantial federal question?”

18 Procedures in Supreme Court Does not generally hear evidence (testimony) Attorneys make oral arguments (unique) 30 minutes allowed per side Justices discuss case (confidential) & vote Issue written opinion Chief Justice writes it, if in majority

19 Procedures in Supreme Court If Justice disagrees, may write dissenting opinion, which includes his legal reasoning If Justice agrees with outcome of decision, but disagrees with reasoning, may issue concurring opinion These opinions do not set precedent (law), but are often later referenced for their reasoning

20 Role of judges in the court system Most judges work at trial court (lower court) level Have much discretion in legal proceedings Prior to trial, acts as negotiator (plea agreements, bail)

21 Role of judge during trial Assure legal procedures are complied with Rules whether evidence will be admitted Instructs the jury regarding the law Decides what sentence to impose, if defendant is convicted– Not jury

22 What is evidence? Testimony---Statements from individuals (live, affidavits, taped) Physical evidence---guns, bloody shirt (glove) Documentary evidence---check, motel receipt CSI---Exaggerated

23 Judge as an administrator Manages the scheduling of court cases (docket) Decides whether to grant requests for delays (continuances) Manages court employees and handles budgets

24 Federal Judges Appointed by President of U. S. Approved by the U. S. Senate---Can be controversial Lifetime appointment Significant power in constitutional issues

25 Small Group – 5 points Do you believe Federal Judges should be appointed (by President) or elected by the public? Why? How about the U. S. Supreme Court? What are some of the dangers of having elected Supreme Court Justices?

26 Selection of state judges (varies widely) Partisan (Democrats vs. Republicans) elections in some states Non-partisan elections---have to run for office, but not as a party Missouri Plan (Iowa uses)---Reform plan –Committee submits 3 names of candidates –Governor selects –After one year, and periodically thereafter, voters decide whether to retain

27 Ethics of judges Public demands judges administer justice Law requires them to follow procedures Example---When exclusionary rule requires them to ignore evidence of crime Traditionally, judges behavior has not been regulated

28 Ethics of judges 1920’s---First Code of Judicial Conduct To prevent conduct that would reduce integrity and impartiality Aimed at preventing judicial misconduct: Acts which diminish public confidence in the judiciary by— –Illegal acts (bribery) –Conduct giving the “appearance of impropriety” (associating with felons)

29 Courtroom work group Judge---dominant figure Prosecutor---(County Attorney) Represents the government Defense Counsel---(Private, or Public Defender) Represents defendant Clerk of court---Maintains records of proceedings Bailiff---Maintains security Court reporter---Records proceedings verbatim

30 Judge is the key decision maker in court Some “run a tight ship” (Hussein trial) Others---Allow more freedom to attorneys (Anna Smith case, O. J.) Have different reputations (“tough on crime,” vs. sympathetic) Some lawyers will try to “judge shop”— Federal court prohibits that P ”Discipline judge”---Inaccurate

31 Individual Exercise Make a list of words you think of when you hear the word “lawyer.”

32 Prosecutor---Crime fighter Lawyers who represent the state and initiate and conduct criminal cases against defendants County Attorney, State’s Attorney, District Attorney, Prosecuting Attorney (State level) Elected official---Partisan Determines which cases will be taken to court Very powerful position in criminal justice system, particularly during the pretrial process—Why?

33 United States Attorney Federal prosecutor in each federal court Appointed by the President (Partisan position) Prosecutes all federal crimes in federal judicial district

34 Prosecutor’s Role To seek justice, not merely convict –To present the state’s case against the defendant –Iowa – 99 county attorneys (Who in Polk?) –Elected officials for four years –Larger areas has assistant county attorneys who do most of the trial/court room work –Quasi-legal advisor to local police, corrections, and other agencies –Can guide police in investigations

35 Prosecutor’s Role Prosecutorial Discretion: –Determine the charge to be filed (Duke Lacrosse) –To determine to file a single or multiple charges –Can decide to reduce charges –Drop charges –Accept a plea bargain –Divert a suspect out of the system –Dismiss a case –Sentencing recommendations

36 Defense counsel Represents defendant in all criminal proceedings (6 th amendment right), including: –Pretrial and Preliminary Hearings (Bail) –Trial (or plea negotiations) –Sentencing –Appeals Private Attorney—paid for by defendant Public Defender (or appointed counsel)---paid for by government (most cases) Which would you rather have?

37 Defense Counsel Role To represent the accused –To ensure the defendant’s civil rights are not violated –Test the strength of the state’s case –Take part in the plea negotiations –Prepare an adequate defense –Prepare appeal –Counsel defendant’s family

38 Defense counsel requirements State must provide attorney for indigents (Gideon case) Juveniles also must have counsel when facing imprisonment Outcome of case not affected by public vs. private attorney (surprising) Attorney-client privilege protects communications

39 Public Defenders Greatly overburdened on workloads Some states have decreased funds for public counsel Some defense counsel---Gives incentive to do the least possible in each case Strickland case---Supreme Court ruled if defense counsel’s poor performance was likely the reason defendant was convicted, could be reversed by court. In Iowa---Well qualified professionals, providing a good defense


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