dynamics of courthouse justice
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Dynamics Of Courthouse Justice. Chapter Five. Lawyers: Prosecutor Public Defender Private Defense Attorney Judge Law clerk. Court Support Staff: Clerk of Court Court Reporter Secretary Translator Court Administrator. Courthouse Actors . Law Enforcement: Court Security Staff

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courthouse actors


Public Defender

Private Defense Attorney


Law clerk

Court Support Staff:

Clerk of Court

Court Reporter



Court Administrator

Courthouse Actors
other courthouse actors
Law Enforcement:

Court Security Staff

Sheriff’s Deputy



Probation Officer

Pretrial Services

Drug Rehabilitation Programs


Bail Agent

Newspaper Reporter





Rape Crises Center

Child Advocate

Court watchers

Victim/Witness Assistance

Other Courthouse Actors
who manages the courts
Who Manages the Courts?
  • Job varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction
  • Most common variation include:
    • Clerks of Court
    • Chief Judges
    • Court Administrators
clerk of court
Clerk of Court
  • Responsibilities:
    • Docketing (Scheduling) cases
    • Collecting fees
    • Overseeing Jury Selection
    • Maintaining court records
  • Most operate semi-autonomously from the judge
assembly line justice
Assembly-Line Justice
  • The operation of any segment of the criminal justice system with such speed and impersonality that defendants are treated as objects to be processed rather than as as individuals.
  • This is due to the disparity between the number of cases vs the number of judges and the number of prosecutors, defense attorneys, and probation officers.
  • Mass-production techniques are utilized.
  • The lawful ability of an agent of government to exercise choice in making a decisions.
  • Three sub-components:
    • Legal Judgments
    • Policy Priorities
    • Personal Philosophies
legal judgments
Legal Judgments


  • Prosecutor decides whether or not to file criminal charges
  • Prosecutor decides which charge(s) to file
  • Prosecution decides to utilize pre-trial diversion or probation
the courtroom workgroup
The Courtroom Workgroup
  • Mutual Interdependence
  • Shared Decision Making
  • Socialization
  • Normal Crimes
  • Rewards and Sanctions
  • Variability
delays in court
Delays in Court
  • Delay: abnormal or unacceptable time lapses in the processing of cases.
  • The American Bar Association (ABA) recommends that all felony cases should reach disposition within one year of filing.
  • Court delay jeopardizes the 6th Amendment.
  • Number of states have enacted speedy trial laws
speedy trial issues
Speedy Trial Issues
  • Sixth Amendment
    • Right to a speedy trial.
  • Speedy Trial Act of 1974 (Federal)
    • 30 days from arrest to arraignment
    • 70 days form indictment to trial
  • Barker v. Wingo
    • The right to a speedy trial is relative, not absolute.