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Courts and the Quest for Justice

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1 Courts and the Quest for Justice
Mr. Whitaker

2 Vocabulary Appellate Courts—courts that review decisions made by lower courts, such as trial courts. Also known as courts of appeals. Attorney General—the chief law officer of a state; also, the chief law officer of the nation. Attorney-Client Privilege—a rule of evidence requiring that communications between a client and his or her attorney be kept confidential, unless the client consents to disclosure.

3 Vocabulary Courtroom Work Group—the social organization consisting of the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and other court workers. Defense Attorney—the lawyer representing the defendant. Docket—the list of cases entered on a court’s calendar and thus scheduled to be heard by the court.

4 Vocabulary Dual Court System—the separate but interrelated court system of the United States, made up of the courts on the national level and the courts on the state level. Judicial Misconduct—a general term describing behavior by a judge that diminishes public confidence in the judiciary. Jurisdiction The authority of a court to hear and decide cases within an area of the law or a geographical territory. Magistrate—a public civil officer or official with limited judicial authority within a particular geographical area, such as the authority to issue an arrest warrant.

5 Vocabulary Nonpartisan Elections—elections in which candidates are presented on the ballot without any party affiliation. Opinion—a statement by the court expressing the reasons for its decision in a case. Oral Arguments The verbal arguments presented in person by attorneys to an appellate court. Partisan Election—elections in which candidates are affiliated with and receive support from political parties; the candidates are listed in conjunction with their party on the ballot. Public Defender—court-appointed attorneys who are paid by the state to represent defendants who are unable to hire private counsel.

6 Vocabulary Public Prosecutors Individuals, acting as trial lawyers, who initiate and conduct cases in the government’s name and on behalf of the people. Rule of Four—a rule of the United States Supreme Court that the Court will not issue a writ of certiorari unless at least four justices approve of the decision to hear the case. Trial Courts—courts in which most cases usually begin and in which questions of fact are examined.

7 Functions of the Courts
Place where arguments are settled The arguments are settled through application of the law Courts have extensive powers—property, freedom, restrict liberties, etc

8 Courts Based on legitimacy of the courts: Impartiality—equal treatment
Independence—no outside influences

9 The American Judicial System
Complex system that includes 52 different systems Each system has its own set of rules

10 Jurisdiction Power to speak the law Geographically jurisdiction
Domestic jurisdiction International jurisdiction

11 Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Civil matters Misdemeanors Felonies Drug Courts Family Courts Domestic Violence Courts

12 Trial Courts Original jurisdiction is the trial courts
Trial courts are concern with questions of facts Deals it the incident occurred Deals with guilt or innocence

13 Appellate Courts Reviewing courts Handles appeals of trial courts
Prosecutors who lose in trial courts cannot appeal Appellate courts have judges who makes the decision Produced “opinions of the court”

14 Appellate Courts Appellate courts do not determine guilt or innocence
Only make judgments on questions of procedures

15 State Court Systems Lower courts Trial courts Appellate courts
State highest courts

16 Limited Jurisdiction Courts
Magistrate Courts Provide law enforcement with search and seizure warrants Probable case hearings Arrest warrants Marriage

17 General Jurisdiction Courts
Have the authority to hear and decide cases of many types of subject matter Criminal trials Examples—Cobb County Court System

18 State Court of Appeals The decisions of each state’s highest courts on all questions of state law are final Only issues of federal law or constitutional procedures go to the US Supreme Court

19 Federal Court System Three tiered model that includes:
U.S. District Courts U.S. Court of Appeals U.S. Supreme Court

20 U.S. District Court Cases involving federal law
Each state has one District Court Federal system also has limited-jurisdiction courts such as: tax courts and courts of international trade.

21 U.S. Court of Appeals Thirteen U.S. courts of appeal.
The Thirteenth Circuit is also called the Federal Circuit and has national jurisdiction over patent law and cases in which the United States is a defendant.

22 U.S. Supreme Court Hears half of one percent of all court cases in the United State per year Court issues a writ of certiorari ordering the record from the lower court. The Court will not issue a writ of certiorari unless at least four justices approve it.

23 Supreme Court Decisions
Justices review: Written record of case. Attorneys’ written arguments. Oral arguments of the attorneys.

24 Supreme Court The senior justice voting with the majority
assigns the writing of the opinion. 1. Concurring opinions agree with the majority decision, but for different legal reasons. 2. Dissenting opinions outline reasons the writer disagrees with the majority.

25 Judges in Court System Trial Judges
Pretrial the judge takes on the role of negotiator. 1. During the Trial Acts as referee between participants. Acts as teacher to the jury. 2. Administrative Role Maintains court calendar, or docket by scheduling hearings, and trials.

26 Judge Selection All federal judges are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. In some states (such as Delaware) judges are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the upper chamber of the legislature. Some states (such as Arkansas) judges are elected by partisan elections. Some states have nonpartisan elections for the selection of judges.

27 Judicial Ethics In the 1920s the American Bar Association the first code of judicial ethics. Used as a model for 47 states and the District of Columbia. Prevents unethical conduct such as bribery, impropriety, and illegal acts

28 Courtroom Work Group Functions as a cooperative unit Bailiff
Court Reporter Clerk of the Court Judge

29 Less Prominent Members
The bailiff who is responsible for maintaining security and order. The clerk of the court maintains paperwork and evidence as well as playing a key role in jury selection. The court reporter’s is to record every word said during proceedings.

30 Judge Has the most influence over the workgroup.
Judge’s personal value (i.e. tough on crime) will have a great impact on the outcome.

31 The Prosecution U.S. Attorney on the federal level.
On state or local level the prosecutor may be called: state prosecutor, district attorney, county attorney, or city attorney.

32 The Office of the Prosecutor
Decides whether person will be charged with a crime. The level of charges. If and when to stop the prosecution. State Attorney General is usually the top law enforcement officer of the state. Some prosecutors are appointed, most are elected.

33 The Defense Attorney Responsibilities
Represent the defendant at various stages of the trial process. Investigate the incident. Communicating with the prosecutor. Preparing for trial.

34 Continued Submitting defense motions.
Representing defendant at the trial. Negotiating a sentence. Deciding whether to appeal.

35 The Public Defender Appointing defense counsel for those who cannot afford their own attorneys. Three out of four inmates in state prisons and jails had publicly paid counsel.

36 The Attorney-Client Relationship
Communication between attorney and client is considered privileged, and is not subject to disclosure unless the client consents. An exception to attorney-client privilege includes the client telling the attorney of a crime that has not yet been committed.

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