Cj 600
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CJ 600. Issues in the Court System. Historical Overview. Use of British common law Colonial courts unclear as to which acts of Parliament or case law applied Every colony different Colonial courts had wide powers, very undifferentiated, with legislative, executive and judicial functions

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Cj 600

CJ 600

Issues in the Court System


Historical overview
Historical Overview

  • Use of British common law

  • Colonial courts unclear as to which acts of Parliament or case law applied

  • Every colony different

  • Colonial courts had wide powers, very undifferentiated, with legislative, executive and judicial functions

  • Mistrusted, associated with Br. Gov.


History
History

  • Movement to codified law

  • Requirements fo practice law varied

  • Following the Revolutionary War, established of more courts, appellate courts

  • Constitution established Supreme Court, authorized other courts

  • Vague


History1
History

  • Lower courts a hodge podge, differ from state to state

  • Organization was frequently tied to politics

  • Judges elected or appointed

  • Dual nature of US Government

  • Supreme court established by constitution, and the federal courts by the Judiciary Act of 1789


History2
History

  • Supreme Court had little power until Marbury v. Madison, when the court struck down a section of the Judiciary Act as unconstitutional –judicial review

  • Around 1820s, courts began a trend of setting legal doctrine

  • Until WW II, conservatives and business depended on judicial branch, distrusted legislature


History3
History

  • Courts seldom dealt with constitutional rights of individuals, tended to rule against individuals and labor

  • Section 1983 and post civil war amendments passed after the war, but had little effect

  • Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)--segregation


History4
History

  • Early 20th century began an expansion of due process for criminal defendants

  • Powell vs. Alabama, 1932 (Scottsboro case)

  • Incorporation controversy

  • Depression era: federal legislation kept getting struck down by the Supreme Court

  • Roosevelt threatened court packing


History5
History

  • Court backed down

  • 1950s, Warren court, civil rights revolution

  • Brown v. Board of Education

  • Series of decisions: Mapp v. Ohio, Miranda v. Arizona, Gideon v. Wainwright

  • Burger court: Furman v. GA and Gregg v. GA, prisoners rights cases

  • Some “erosion” since then


History6
History

  • Other decisions, such as religion cases, Roe v. Wade

  • Controversy: original intent, strict interpretation, social interpretation

  • Courts have become increasingly powerful

  • Number of cases and lawsuits

  • Number of cases filed against the criminal justice system, esp. police and corrections


Court issues
Court issues

  • 1. Court models: constellation, federation, union

  • 2. Selection of judges: appointed vs. election

  • 3. Bail: purpose to assure presence at trial

  • Problems: favors rich, unnecessary detention in some instances, get longer sentences, the bail bondsman


Issues
Issues

  • Deposit bail: eliminating the bail bondsman

  • Manhattan Bail Project

  • 4. Preventative detention

  • 5. Courtroom work group: prosecutors, defense counsel, judges, also police and probation officers


Issues1
Issues

  • Courtroom work group a community of people who work together and have a mutual interest in getting the job done as efficiently as possible

  • “Going rate” the group develops over time a consensus about what a crime and prior criminal history is “worth”

  • Often not adversarial, consensus reached


Issues2
Issues

  • Observational studies find that researchers are able to predict outcomes after studying such groups

  • Why sentence disparity? Each courtroom work group develops its own going rate, based on the individuals involved, community standards, etc.


Issues3
Issues

  • 6. Prosecutor

  • Prosecutor’s dilemma

  • Quasi-judicial immunity

  • Prosecutorial discretion—power to pursue or dismiss cases

  • Of every 100 cases, 35 sent to JJS, 65 to district attorney


Prosecutor
Prosecutor

  • Of those 65, 20 rejected or diverted, 45 accepted for prosecution

  • Of those 45, 10 dismissed or failed to appear, 35 plead guilty (30)or go to trial (5)

  • 2 acquitted in trial, 33 convicted (3 in trial)

  • There is considerable variation across jurisdictions


Prosecutor1
Prosecutor

  • Factors that affect discretion

  • Nature of the evidence

  • Attitude of the victim

  • Relationship of victim to the offender

  • (chances of conviction 20-30% lower if they know one another)

  • Harm to the victim

  • Costs


Prosecutor2
Prosecutor

  • Available alternatives

  • Use of civil sanctions

  • Willingness of suspect to cooperate

  • Strength of the evidence and seriousness of the offense appear to be the greatest factors


Defense counsel
Defense counsel

  • Gideon v. Wainwright and Argersinger v. Hamlin

  • Private, contract, assigned, public defender

  • Defense counsel’s dilemma—the guilty client

  • Loyalties divided, not only to client, must also get along with courtroom work group


Plea bargaining
Plea bargaining

  • Advantages: costs decrease, more efficient

  • Less time spent on minor and clear-cut cases

  • Decrease pretrial detention time

  • Victims and witnesses spared a trial


Plea bargaining1
Plea bargaining

  • Disadvantages

  • Innocent may plead guilty

  • Loss of rights

  • Might contribute to sentence disparity

  • Attempts to curtail plea bargaining have not usually been successful

  • Preplea conference


Trial issues
Trial issues

  • Review: constitutional rights

  • Speedy, public, jury, summon witnesses, cross-examination, counsel

  • Issues

  • Scientific jury selection

  • Does it give certain clients an advantage by virtue of some extralegal factor?


Issues4
Issues

  • Unanimous vs. non-unanimous decisions

  • 9 out of 12 the lowest

  • Advantages: more efficient, less hung juries, less possibility of a bribe

  • However, an important minority (the thoughtful juror) could be ignored


Court issues1
Court issues

  • 12 person jury vs. lesser numbers (6)

  • Advantages: easier to obtain a jury, cheaper, more convictions

  • Disadvantages: less representative of the community, less discussion of the case


Court issues2
Court issues

  • Videotaping

  • Trials, testimony

  • Trials—many judges opposed, argue that it is distracting and detracts from the dignity of the proceeding

  • On the other hand, provides a record, can be used as an educational tool


Court issues3
Court Issues

  • Videotaping of testimony

  • Police could be on the streets, spares victims, confessions and lineups could be used

  • Inadmissible sstatements could be eliminated

  • Child victims could be spared the stress

  • However, violates right to confrontation


Other issues
Other issues

  • Continuances

  • Victim-witness bureaus


Sentencing
Sentencing

  • Purposes: individual deterrence (punishment), general deterrence, retribution, incapacitation, rehabilitation

  • Punishment: must be consistent, immediate, introduced at its maximum intensity, too severe is not effective, extended periods not effective, rewards for punished responses must be reduced


Punishment
Punishment

  • Alternative response with same or greater reward

  • Access to different situations to obtain those rewards


Types of sentences
Types of sentences

  • Indeterminate, determinate (flat), indefinite (range, good time, parole)

  • Disenchantment with indeterminate sentences and rehabilitation, sentencing disparity

  • Consequences

  • Longer sentences


Sentencing1
Sentencing

  • Sentence reform

  • Sentencing guidelines (presumptive sentencing)

  • Remove judicial discretion

  • Federal: Sentencing Reform Act of 1984

  • Sentencing guidelines, abolition of parole

  • Mandatory minimums for certain types of crime


Sentencing reforms
Sentencing reforms

  • Controversial law, disliked by federal judges, perceived as to inflexible

  • Partially account for the dramatic increase in the federal prison population

  • Have most affected the minority prison population


State reform
State reform

  • Several states have implemented sentencing guidelines with less controversy

  • Minnesota the most notable example

  • Reduction of disparity without additional discrimination, and

  • Guidelines are tied to predictions of prison populations, can be modified


Other reforms
Other reforms

  • Megan’s laws

  • Selective incapacitation

  • Mandatory minimums (mostly for drug and weapons offenses)

  • Truth-in-sentencing laws (reduction of good-time, elimination of parole discretion, or use of presumptive parole)

  • Three strikes and you’re out


Other alternatives
Other alternatives

  • Fines, probation, shock probation, intermediate sanctions (boot camps, electronic monitoring, intensive probation supervision, community-based corrections)


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