Court and Adjudication • Structure of American Courts • Management of Courts • To Be a Judge • Prosecutorial Systems • Defense Attorneys • The Courtroom: How it Functions Dual Court System Federal Court System State Court Systems Jurisdiction over federal crimes Jurisdiction over state crimes 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 Lower Courts activities for more important ones. This is also referred to as limited jurisdiction! 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. 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 Trial Courts of de novo.” General Jurisdiction Jurisdiction over felonies State Appeals Court • Appellate courts do not try a case. • An appeal is based on Appellate some contention of Courts law. • Many times more than one judge reviews a case. 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. Appellate Courts • Rights of appeal Appellate Court determined by law. Decisions • Appeal is not a new • Order a new trial trial. • Allow defendant • Review of previous to go free trial for procedural errors. • Uphold (sustain) original verdict • May be 2 levels of appeals courts. Federal Court Structure United States Supreme Court United States Courts of Appeal United States District Courts 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 Federal Court Structure • Also called the Circuit Courts because the jurisdiction covers a large geographical area • Usually located in major cities United States Courts of Appeal • Reviews cases from lower court • Cases involve constitutional issues Federal Court Structure United States Supreme Court • 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 Federal Court Structure United States Supreme Court • 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 Court Reform • Courts not efficient • Questionable adjudication • Fragmented Structure • Solution – Unified Court System – Four Objectives of Unification Four Goals of a Unified Court System Eliminate overlapping and conflicting jurisdictional boundaries Have courts funded Create a separate by state government. personnel system. Create a hierarchial and centralized court structure with clear administrative responsibility. Unified versus Non-Unified Role of the Judge Who Becomes a Judge? • Overwhelmingly white and male • Connected • Representation issues Functions of the Judge Adjudicator Negotiator Administrator What Do Judges Do? • Prearrest phase • Initial Appearance • Preliminary Hearing • Arraignment • Pretrial • Trial • Sentencing How to Become a State Judge • Gubernatorial Selection • Legislative Selection • Merit Selection • Nonpartisan Election • Partisan Election 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 Selecting Federal Judges • Appointed by the President • Confirmed (advice and consent) of the Senate • Serve for a period of good behavior (normally life) Prosecution and Defense • Prosecution • Defense – Organization – Image vs. Reality – Politics – Role – Influence – Realities – Roles – Private Counsel – Discretion – Environment – Relationships – Counsel for Indigents – Policies – Private vs. Public – Competence Prosecutor Organization U.S. Attorney County Attorney General Prosecutor Politics and Prosecution • Generally elected, some appointed • Lack of overhead control • Party allegiance • Stepping stone office Influence of the Prosecutor • Discretionary decisions • Low visibility • Vague criminal codes • Community sentiment US Attorney Discretion and the War on Drugs 30 25 20 15 Emphasis on Drug War 10 US Attorneys Drug Cases % 5 Presidents 0 Drug Statements % 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 YEAR Roles of the Prosecutor Politician Police Counsel Court Officer Prosecutorial Discretion *Broad Discretion *Relevant Criteria *Methods - Necessarily included offenses - Counts *Limited by Discovery *Nol Pros. Key Relationships of Prosecutor Decision Making Policies • Legal Sufficiency Model • System Sufficiency Model • Trial Sufficiency Model • Case Evaluation Criminal Defense Attorneys • Image (television, movies, literature, etc.) • Vital role in system • Reality of defense attorney Private Counsel • Numbers and Attributes • Types • Environment Cochran Bailey Dershowitz Counsel for the Indigent • Constitutional Right • Cases – Powell v. Alabama – Betts v. Brady – Gideon v. Wainwright – Argersinger v. Hamlin – Present Rule Methods of Providing Representation Assigned Counsel Contract Counsel Public Defender 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 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. The Courtroom Work Group The courtroom elite of prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys whose primary mission is the disposition of criminal cases.
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