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Chapter 1. Courts, Crime and Controversy. Prepared by Helen McAninch, J.D. and Thomas McAninch, Ph.D. Criminal Justice System. Police Courts Corrections Is criminal justice an integrated system or is it a non-system of individual actors? . Costs of Crime.

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chapter 1

Chapter 1

Courts, Crime and Controversy

Prepared by Helen McAninch, J.D. and Thomas McAninch, Ph.D.

criminal justice system
Criminal Justice System
  • Police
  • Courts
  • Corrections
  • Is criminal justice an integrated system or is it a non-system of individual actors?
costs of crime
Costs of Crime
  • Annually, local, state and federal governments spend…
  • 146 BILLION on apprehension, conviction and punishment of criminals (BJS 2004)
  • Over 2 million employees in the CJ system
  • Every year over 14.5 million arrests are made
  • Every DAY, correctional people supervise 6.3 million people!
court structure
Court Structure



Supreme Court of the U.S.

Appellate court of last resort

Circuit Courts of Appeals

Intermediate courts of appeals

District courts

Trial courts of general jurisdiction

Magistrate Courts

Trial courts of limited jurisdiction

actors in the courthouse
Actors in the Courthouse
  • Prosecutors
  • Defense Attorneys
  • Judges
  • Defendants
  • Victims
  • There are many other actors in the courthouse; these will be discussed in future lectures
other actors in the courthouse

Clerk of Court

Court reporter

Pre-trial Services


Court Administrator

Victim-witness program

Probation officer




Other Actors in the Courthouse
steps of criminal procedure
Crime: any violation of the criminal law.

Arrest: the physical taking into custody of a suspected law violator.

Initial Appearance: the accused is told of the charges, bail is set, and a date for a preliminary hearing is set.

Bail: guarantee that a released defendant will appear at trial.

Preliminary Hearing: pre-trial hearing to determine if probable cause exists to hold the accused.

Steps of Criminal Procedure
steps of criminal procedure continued
Steps of Criminal Procedure Continued
  • Charging: formal criminal charges against defendant stating what criminal law was violated.
  • Grand Jury: group of citizens who decide if persons accused of crimes should be charged (indicted).
  • Arraignment: the defendant is informed of the pending charges and is required to enter a plea.
  • Evidence: formal and informal exchange of information before trials.
steps of criminal procedure continued9
Steps of Criminal Procedure Continued
  • Plea Negotiations: the defendant pleads guilty with the expectation of receiving some benefit.
  • Trial: a fact-finding process using the adversarial method before a judge or a jury.
  • Sentencing: punishment imposed on a defendant found guilty of violating the criminal law.
  • Appeal: review of the lower court decision by a higher court.
law on the books
Law on the Books
  • Constitutions
  • Laws enacted by legislative bodies
  • Regulations issued by administrative agencies
  • Cases decided by the courts
law in action
Law in Action
  • We need to know not only what the law says (law on the books) but also how the rules are applied (law in action).
  • Few cases ever go to trial.
  • Defendants plead guilty.
  • Judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys negotiate sentences.
  • There is a wide gap between legal theory (law on the books) and how that law is applied (law in action).
crime control model vs due process model
Crime Control Model

Emphasizes protecting society

Assembly line justice

Informal fact finding

Necessity of speed and finality

Goal: crime suppression

Due Process Model

Emphasizes protecting the rights of the individual

Obstacle course

Very formal

Slow and deliberate

Goal: protect against mistakes made by the police and prosecutor

Crime Control Model vs Due Process Model