Chapter 8 Courts and the Quest for Justice
Learning Outcomes LO1: Define and contrast the four functions of courts. LO2: Define jurisdiction and contrast geographic and subject-matter jurisdiction. LO3: Explain the difference between trial and appellate courts. LO4: Explain briefly how a case is brought to the Supreme Court. LO5: List and describe the members of the courtroom work group.
Learning Outcome 1 • Courts have extensive powers in our criminal justice system. • The courts’ legitimacy is based on two factors: • Impartiality • Independence
Learning Outcome 1 Functions of the Courts: • The Due Process Function • The Crime Control Function • The Rehabilitation Function • The Bureaucratic Function
Define jurisdiction and contrast geographic and subject-matter jurisdiction.
Learning Outcome 2 Jurisdiction – “the power to speak the law.”
Learning Outcome 2 • Geographic jurisdiction • A court exercises authority over a certain area. • Federal versus State • Concurrent jurisdiction – many acts that are illegal under federal law are also illegal under state law. • State versus State • Multiple trials – federal and state courts can host the same defendant on charges of same crime.
Learning Outcome 2 • Subject-matter jurisdiction • Courts of general jurisdiction • No restrictions on subjects they can address. • Courts of limited jurisdiction • Handle misdemeanors and certain civil matters.
Learning Outcome 3 Trial Courts: • Have original jurisdiction • Almost every case begins in a trial court • Are concerned with questions of fact
Learning Outcome 3 Appellate Courts: • Cases are brought only by appeal • Judges make a decide whether a cause should be reversed or remanded • Concerned with questions of law
Learning Outcome 3 • The dual court system is comprised of both federal and state courts. • Both federal and state courts have limited jurisdiction. • Federal courts enforce federal statutes. • State courts enforce state statutes. The distinction between the courts is not always clear.
Learning Outcome 3 • State courts consist of: • Lower courts (limited jurisdiction) • Trial courts (general jurisdiction) • Appellate courts • State’s highest court
Learning Outcome 3 • Specialty courts include: • Drug courts • Gun courts • Juvenile courts • Domestic courts • Elder courts
Learning Outcome 3 Federal Courts – A Three-tiered model: • U.S. District Court • U.S. Court of Appeals • United States Supreme Court
Learning Outcome 3 The United States Supreme Court: • The final interpreter of the Constitution • Judicial review • Meaning of statutory provisions • Has trial jurisdiction in rare instances.
Learning Outcome 4 • There is no absolute right to appeal to the Supreme Court. • Writ of certioari • A Supreme Court order for a lower court to send the record of a case for review. • Four justices must approve a writ of certioari (rule of four)
Learning Outcome 4 Supreme Court Decisions • Does not hear any evidence • Decisions are based on written record of the case and written arguments (briefs) • Court’s decision delivered as written opinion. • Concurring opinion • Dissenting opinion
CAREERPREP Bailiff Job Description: • Maintain order and provide security in the courtroom during trials, escort and guard jurors and prevent them from having improper contact with the public. • Open and close court, call cases, call witnesses, and generally “direct the traffic” of the trial. What Kind of Training Is Required? • At minimum, a high school diploma or GED. • Supplemental training at a vocational school or a police academy, or a two- or four-year college degree with an emphasis on criminal justice. Annual Salary Range? $30,000–$38,000 For additional information, visit: www.criminaljusticeusa.com/bailiff.html.
Learning Outcome 4 Before the Trial, the judge must determine… • Whether there is sufficient probable cause to issue a warrant. • Whether there is sufficient probable cause to authorize electronic surveillance • Whether enough evidence exists to justify the temporary incarceration of a suspect • Whether a defendant should be released on bail, and if so, the amount of bail • Whether to accept pretrial motions by prosecutors and defense attorneys • Whether to accept a plea bargain
Learning Outcome 4 Before the trial, the judge must determine… • Whether there is sufficient probable cause to issue a warrant. • Whether there is sufficient probable cause to authorize electronic surveillance • Whether enough evidence exists to justify the temporary incarceration of a suspect • Whether a defendant should be released on bail, and if so, the amount of bail • Whether to accept pretrial motions by prosecutors and defense attorneys • Whether to accept a plea bargain
Learning Outcome 4 The Administrative Role • Keeping the docket current. • Paperwork • Courtroom budgets
Learning Outcome 4 Selection of Judges: • Federal judges are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. • State judges – procedure varies by state. • Partisan election – judicial candidate picks a political party. • Nonpartisan elections – candidates do not pick a party. • Missouri Plan – merit selection • When there is a vacancy, candidates are named by a nonpartisan committee. • The names of the three most qualified candidates are sent to the governor or executive of the state judicial system, who makes the final decision. • One year later, a “retention election” is held, so that vogers can decide whether to keep the judge.
CAREERPREP Law Clerk Job Description: • Assist judges in courtroom matters such as managing evidence, interacting with court personnel, and communicating with attorneys and the public. • Analyze complex legal issues regarding information submitted by the two parties before the court, help the judge research and write opinions, prepare reports for the judge on the legal issues of a case, and make recommendations directly to the judge concerning the outcome of the trial or appeal. What Kind of Training Is Required? • Despite the job title, law “clerks” are almost always recent law school graduates who have either passed or are expected to pass the state bar examination, a prerequisite to becoming a lawyer. • Superior writing and research skills and a solid knowledge of the law, court procedures, jurisdictional rules, and the court system. Annual Salary Range? $54,000–$105,000 For additional information, visit: www.judicialclerkships.com/law-clerks.htm.
Learning Outcome 5 Most prominent members: • Judges • Prosecutors • Defense attorneys
Learning Outcome 5 Other members: • Bailiff of the court • Clerk of the court • Court reporters
Learning Outcome 5 • The judge has most influence over the work group. • Laissez-faire judges. • “Tough-on-crime” judges. • A judge’s personal philosophy affects the court proceedings.