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Law and the Trial Process Academic Civics Chapter 16.

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Presentation on theme: "Law and the Trial Process Academic Civics Chapter 16."— Presentation transcript:

1 Law and the Trial Process Academic Civics Chapter 16

2 What is the Criminal Justice System? The term criminal justice refers to the agencies of government charged with enforcing law, adjudicating criminals, and correcting criminal conduct. The criminal justice system is essentially an instrument of social control: society considers some behaviors so dangerous and destructive that it either strictly controls their occurrence or outlaws them outright.

3 Contemporary Criminal Justice The system must process, treat, and care for millions of people each year Although crime has declined, more than 14 million people are arrested each year Almost 7 million people are under the control of the correctional system More than 2 million for serious felony offenses State and federal courts convict more than 1 million adults on felony charges each year

4 The Process of Justice 1. Initial contact 2. Investigation 3. Arrest 4. Custody 5. Complaint/charging 6. Preliminary hearing/grand jury 7. Arraignment 8. Bail or detention 9. Plea bargaining 10. Trial/adjudication 11. Correctional treatment 12. Release 13. Postrelease/aftercare

5 Preliminary Trial Grand Jury In about half of the states, the decision of whether to bring a suspect to trial (indictment) is made by a group of citizens brought together to form a grand jury The grand jury considers the case in a closed hearing, in which only the prosecutor presents evidence If the jury finds that there’s enough evidence, it goes to trial

6 Arraignment In an arraignment, the charges are formally brought against the accused and he/she is informed about the charges brought against him/her The date of the actual trial is also established This is required under the Constitution (habeas corpus)

7 Bail and Detention Bail can also be set at an arraignment Bail = collateral used to ensure that no one flees the country Example: You give the court $5,000 to make sure you don’t leave the country After the trial, you get it back If bail cannot be posted (or some charges prohibit bail), you remain in jail until trial

8 Plea Bargain In a plea bargain, you choose to plead guilty for a shorter sentence? Why do we have this?

9 Settlements and Plea Bargains Most civil and criminal cases are settled out of court: Civil: both parties agree to a $$ settlement Criminal: prosecution and accused agree to a sentence without a trial

10 The Trial Process Opening statements from prosecution/defense Direct Examination by Prosecution Cross Examination by Defense Direct Examination by Defense Cross Examination by Prosecution Closing arguments from prosecution/defense Jury Deliberation and Verdict (G or NG) Sentencing by Judge

11 Sentencing Guilty or innocent verdict is delivered by jury at end of trial Judge makes sentence Uses either: Indeterminate sentencing Mandatory Sentencing An innocent verdict is also known as an acquittal

12 Robert the Robber Indeterminate Sentence Minimum = 2 years Maximum = 5 years Judge chooses from those sentence ranges If Robert is on good behavior in prison, he can be released early (possibly 2 years instead of 5) Mandatory Sentence As required under PA law, Robert must serve a term of 5 years without getting out early on good behavior More strict than indeterminate sentences Gets Arrested and convicted of armed robbery

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