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Court and Adjudication

Court and Adjudication

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Court and Adjudication

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  1. Court and Adjudication • Structure of American Courts • Management of Courts • To Be a Judge • Prosecutorial Systems • Defense Attorneys • The Courtroom: How it Functions

  2. Dual Court System Federal Court System State Court Systems Jurisdiction over federal crimes Jurisdiction over state crimes

  3. Four Tier Court System Lower Criminal Courts These courts are limited in what they can do. They generally can hear minor cases and conduct some pretrial activities for more important ones. Lower Courts This is also referred to as limited jurisdiction!

  4. Courts of Record Official court records that can suffice as a record of the proceedings of a case and can serve as the basis for an appeal. Some lower courts do not have this distinction.

  5. State Trial Courts • General authority to conduct trial and pretrial activities in all criminal cases. • These are courts of record. • Hear “appeals” from lower courts in the form of “trial de novo.” • Jurisdiction over felonies Trial Courts of General Jurisdiction

  6. State Appeals Court • Appellate courts do not try a case. • An appeal is based on some contention of law. • Many times more than one judge reviews a case. Appellate Courts

  7. States Court of Last Resort Each State has a court of last resort. In most instances, this is referred to as the State Supreme Court.

  8. Appellate Courts Appellate Court Decisions • Rights of appeal determined by law. • Appeal is not a new trial. • Review of previous trial for procedural errors. • May be 2 levels of appeals courts. • Order a new trial • Allow defendantto go free • Uphold (sustain)original verdict

  9. Federal Court Structure United States Supreme Court United States Courts of Appeal United States District Courts

  10. Federal Court Structure • Each state has at least one Federal District • 94 Districts throughout the U.S. • Primary trial court of the U.S. system United States District Courts

  11. United States Courts of Appeal Federal Court Structure • Also called the Circuit Courts because the jurisdiction covers a large geographical area • Usually located in major cities • Reviews cases from lower court • Cases involve constitutional issues

  12. United States Supreme Court Federal Court Structure • Highest court in the land; court of last resort • Decisions become precedents (landmark decisions) • May choose to hear/not hear most cases • Uses writ of certiorari to get case records

  13. United States Supreme Court Federal Court Structure • 9 Justices (1 Chief Justice, 8 Associate Justices) • Full Court hears about 100 cases per year • 4 Justices must vote to hear a case • Majority, minorities & dissenting opinions

  14. Court Reform • Courts not efficient • Questionable adjudication • Fragmented Structure • Solution • Unified Court System • Four Objectives of Unification

  15. Four Goals of a Unified Court System Eliminate overlapping and conflicting jurisdictional boundaries Have courts funded by state government. Create a separate personnel system. Create a hierarchial and centralized court structure with clear administrative responsibility.

  16. Unified versus Non-Unified

  17. Role of the Judge

  18. Who Becomes a Judge? • Overwhelmingly white and male • Connected • Representation issues

  19. Functions of the Judge Adjudicator Negotiator Administrator

  20. What Do Judges Do? • Prearrest phase • Initial Appearance • Preliminary Hearing • Arraignment • Pretrial • Trial • Sentencing

  21. How to Become a State Judge • Gubernatorial Selection • Legislative Selection • Merit Selection • Nonpartisan Election • Partisan Election

  22. Judicial Qualifications • Qualifications vary by state • Typical qualifications include: • resident of the state • licensed to practice law • member of the state bar association • 25 years old or older • less than 70 years old

  23. Selecting Federal Judges • Appointed by thePresident • Confirmed (advice and consent) of theSenate • Serve for a period of good behavior(normally life)

  24. Prosecution Organization Politics Influence Roles Discretion Relationships Policies Defense Image vs. Reality Role Realities Private Counsel Environment Counsel for Indigents Private vs. Public Competence Prosecution and Defense

  25. Prosecutor Organization Attorney General U.S. Attorney County Prosecutor

  26. Politics and Prosecution • Generally elected, some appointed • Lack of overhead control • Party allegiance • Stepping stone office

  27. Influence of the Prosecutor • Discretionary decisions • Low visibility • Vague criminal codes • Community sentiment

  28. US Attorney Discretion and the War on Drugs

  29. Roles of the Prosecutor Politician Police Counsel Court Officer

  30. Prosecutorial Discretion *Broad Discretion *Relevant Criteria *Methods - Necessarily included offenses - Counts *Limited by Discovery *Nol Pros.

  31. Key Relationships of Prosecutor

  32. Decision Making Policies • Legal Sufficiency Model • System Sufficiency Model • Trial Sufficiency Model • Case Evaluation

  33. Criminal Defense Attorneys • Image (television, movies, literature, etc.) • Vital role in system • Reality of defense attorney

  34. Private Counsel • Numbers and Attributes • Types • Environment Cochran Bailey Dershowitz

  35. Counsel for the Indigent • Constitutional Right • Cases • Powell v. Alabama • Betts v. Brady • Gideon v. Wainwright • Argersinger v. Hamlin • Present Rule

  36. Methods of Providing Representation Assigned Counsel Contract Counsel Public Defender

  37. Defense Attorney Performance • Private vs. Public • “P.D.” = public defender or prison delivery • Attorney competence • Strickland v. Washington(1984)requires: • show counsel’s performance deficient; and • deficient performance prejudiced defense

  38. Realities of the Criminal Court System • A local legal culture exists where norms are shared by members as to how cases should be handled. The courts are often a scene where an atmosphere exists to “work things out” among the participants. • The use of plea negotiations and other nonjudicial alternatives to “work things out” is more common than a formal trial process.

  39. The Courtroom Work Group The courtroom elite of prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys whose primary mission is the disposition of criminal cases.