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Week 3, 4, 5, 6

by: Hannah Notetaker

Week 3, 4, 5, 6 CJC 250

Hannah Notetaker

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These notes are from both books; Criminal Courts: Structure, Process and Issues and Inside the Courts.
Intro to Courts/Judiciary
Criminal Justice
75 ?




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This 14 page Bundle was uploaded by Hannah Notetaker on Thursday February 25, 2016. The Bundle belongs to CJC 250 at Ball State University taught by Staton in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 25 views. For similar materials see Intro to Courts/Judiciary in Criminal Justice at Ball State University.


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Date Created: 02/25/16
CJC 250 2/2/16 Inside the Courts Ch. 5 Story scenario: Bill Miller is an assistant district attorney. He graduated in the middle ranking of an average law school. He can read people and had great conduct over is emotions. Prosecuting Attorney  There are about 25,000 prosecutors in the U.S. o Bill was a local prosecutor Prosecutorial Discretion  As a prosecutor, Bill technically works for the executive branch of government  District attorney of a jurisdiction is considered it’s chief law enforcement officer  Chief local prosecutors are limited by elections, but have few limits to their power o Cannot be told by a judge to file charges or drop charges  Americans are accustomed to decentralized system of prosecution o Most prosecutors work at county level  Assistant prosecutors wield discretionary power o Prosecutor work cannot be done effectively without discretion at lower levels Prosecutorial Personality  Bill took the job of assistant district attorney because: o He knew he couldn’t get a job at a major firm o He wanted to practice trials o He thought he may one day want to become a politician Duties of the Prosecutor  Victims used to have to hire a private attorney to prosecute a case on their behalf  By late 1700s, states had transferred prosecution of criminals from the domain of the victim to the domain of the state o Public prosecutor paid by the state o People become the client rather than the victim  Most prosecutors learn on the job through socialization  Vertical prosecution – Same prosecutor handles a case from start to finish  Horizontal prosecution – different prosecutor is utilized for each stage of case processing Duty to do Justice  Brady v. Maryland o U.S. Supreme Court articulated the rule of mandatory discovery  Due process requires prosecution to pro-actively make available to the defense evidence that suggests innocence  Must be done even if defense does not ask for discovery  Prosecutors do not have to provide the defense with work product o Recordings with opinions, conclusions, thoughts, and strategies regarding the case CJC 250 2/11/16 Inside the Criminal Courts Ch. 6: The Judge This chapter focuses on 2 types of judges: 1. Magistrates (lower level judges) 2. Trial-level judges Duties of Lower Court Judges  Claims involving less than $4,000  A lot of landlord-tenant disputes, unfulfilled minor contracts, petty damage to property and unpaid debt  Default judgment occurs when defendant does not show to hearing  Performed brief marriage ceremonies  Integrity test used to determine bail sometimes o Learning information about defendant, then asking questions to see if defendant is honest  Bail is higher if defendant found lying  Probable cause occurs when police have to state and sign off for a search warrant  Preliminary hearings used for neutral judicial officer who confirms that probably cause occurred Lower Court Advantages and Liabilities  Lower courts are often local o Allows judges to make informal rulings o Takes great pressure off courts of general jurisdiction  Lower courts might struggles to find professional facilities at the local level  Process large bulks of cases in assembly line justice o Cases are not given time of consideration and defendants are treated like objects  This process is the punishment CJC 250 2/9/16 Inside the Criminal Courts Ch. 4: Criminal Defense Attorney Scenario: Jill plans to leave her job as a public defender after 5 years. She’s burnt out and bitter. Her boss values her and asks her to go on vacation to think about it. She goes to Florida and lists what she does and does not like about her job. Role of the Defense Attorney  To protect the constitution by forcing the state to prove it’s case against a citizen beyond a reasonable doubt o Best done by zealously representing the interests of the client o A person can be guilty from the facts, but not guilty unless the government can prove it’s case Jill was told that a public defender is the ultimate criminal attorney  Public defenders have job security o Never worry about… o Securing clients (rainmaking) o Billable hours o Office overhead o Meeting a payroll o Being laid of Stressors of Criminal Defense Work  Stressors of criminal defense work are: o Having too much work o Being unable to always predict which cases might go to trial o Having a “dead bang loser” headed for trial  Very stressful for 2 reasons:  Public defender appears before a judge with no control over the client if the defendant refuses to plea bargain in a case that has no chance at trial  Public defenders are humiliated in court when they make ridiculous arguments to defend a case o Dealing with angry clients o Arguing with unreasonable prosecutors o Putting up with judicial pressure to avoid trials o Having to do death penalty cases  Public defenders do the bulk of criminal defense work The Right to Counsel th  Right to counsel – 6 amendment right. Person has the right to hire a defense attorney. o Gideon v. Wainwright in U.S. Supreme Court ruled that when the state is trying to take an indigent citizen’s liberty away, a lawyer must be provided by the state  Ensures a fair process Types of FREE Lawyers  States follow 3 methods for providing indigent defenses: 1. Public defender – salaried government officials. Exists in only a third of countries, and about 70% of U.S. 2. Assigned counsel – private attorneys hired when needed on an hourly fee basis. Serves about half of all American countries, many with small populations. 3. Contract systems – private law firm is a subcontractor hired for a set amount of time to provide indigent defense. CJC 250 1/26/16 Criminal Courts: Structure, Process, and Issues Ch 3: The Prosecution The Adversary System  Pits two parties against each other in the pursuit of truth o Prosecution  Prosecutor must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed a crime o Defense  Raises doubt about guilt of defendant  Inculpatory evidence o Testimony and evidence that shows the guilt of the defendant  Exculpatory evidence o Testimony and evidence that shows the innocence of the defendant Prosecutorial Discretion  Prosecution makes decisions about: o Who will be charged o What charge will be filed o Who to offer a plea bargain to o What type of please bargain Prosecutor’s Changing Decisions  They have no legislative guidelines on charging  No explicit criteria for deciding whether to charge or not Professional Conduct  Things included in decisions about dismissal: o Reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty o The harm caused by the offense o Improper motives of the complaint o Cooperation of the accused in apprehension or conviction of other offenders Why Prosecutor would decide not to file charges  If they believe the suspect is: o Not guilty o Guilty but doesn’t believe a conviction is possible  Factors affecting these decisions: o Prosecutors attempt to avoid uncertainty by not filing charges in cases where conviction is unlikely  Weak evidence  Worried about sympathetic judges o Legally irrelevant characteristics of the suspect and victim  Background, behavior, motivation  Race of victim/offender o Victim characteristics  Character  Credibility o Relationship between victim and suspect Roles of Prosecutors  Prosecutor duties: o Screen cases  Assign priority cases on the basis on which are most deserving o Determine prosecution strategy o Assign cases to assistant D.A. o Interview witnesses o Work with law enforcement Prosecutorial Bluffing  Prosecutorial bluffing – when a prosecutor threatens defendants with a lengthy list of charges, each of which carries serious penalties o This is misconduct if prosecution does not have evidence to support all charges  Bordenkircher v. Hayes (1978) o Established that prosecutors can use additional charges to get guilty pleas if they have probable cause that the additional crimes were committed Excluding Prospective Jurors  Jurors are questioned about their qualifications, beliefs and prejudices o If prosecution gets rid of a juror because they may exhibit views other than those of prosecution, that is misconduct Offering Inadmissible Evidence Backdooring hearsay evidence – to mention evidence against the accused that is not admissible Malicious Prosecution – to bring charges against someone with full knowledge that this person is innocent Ethical Norms  Harmless error doctrine o Under this doctrine, an appellate court can affirm a conviction despite the presence of serious prosecutorial misconduct during the trial CJC 250 2/4/16 Criminal Courts: Structure, Process, and Issues Ch. 4: The Defense Intro  Defense council has various functions: o Faithfully representing the clients o Attack the prosecutor’s cases o Counsel with defendants o Negotiate with prosecutors in plea bargains Legal Ethics and Professionalism  American Bar Association implemented Canons of Professional Ethics in 1908 o Attorneys in all U.S. jurisdictions ideally are expected to adhere to this code voluntarily The Right to Counsel  Defendants have the right to have assistance of counsel for their defense o 6 amendment  Cases extending right to counsel: o Gideon v. Wainwright 1963 o Argersinger v. Hamlin 1972  Case involved 90 days in jail over misdemeanors Self-Representation  Defendants can represent themselves if wanted o Faretta v. California 1975  Judges worry about mentality of those wanting to represent themselves Attorney-Client Privilege  Attorney can keeps information private o Protects clients from having their lawyers disclose information to others like prosecution Strickland Standards  Strickland v. Washington 1984 established standards for attorney competence o Standards:  Did counsel’s behavior undermine the process to the degree that the trial outcome is unreliable?  Would the jury verdict been different otherwise? The Right to Trial by Jury  Duncan v. Louisiana 1968 o Duncan charged with simple assault which was a misdemeanor in LA o Duncan requested a jury trial and the judge denied him, he appealed o U.SthSupreme Court agreed with Duncan o 6 amendment applied Provision of Counsel  3 types of systems o Public defender system  Large jurisdictions that have enough cases to warrant a public defenders office o Assigned counsel system  Jurisdictions with few attorneys  Counsel assigned case by case from judges o Contract system  Competitive bidding among law firms Defense Misconduct  Prosecutors cannot mention or admit evidence  Defense counsel cannot state anything that might prejudice the jury in favor of their client  Unethical for an attorney to violate confidentiality  Advising a witness or client to lie is subornation of perjury Discovery  Based on the idea that ALL defendants are entitled to a fair trial o Meaning prosecution must disclose evidence to the defense  In some jurisdictions, defense counsel must make a motion for discovery  In others, defense must disclose evidence such as witnesses to the prosecution Who Bears the Burden of Proof?  The state is responsible to prove beyond reasonable doubt that: o The defendant committed the crime(s) charged that:  A crime was committed  The defendant committed the crime  Prosecutor bears the burden of proof in asserting a criminal charge o Burden is meant by providing the jury with evidence of the crime Defenses to Criminal Conduct  Burden of proof is on the prosecution o Actus reus  Guilty act o Mens rea  Guilty mind Automatism  Automatism – spontaneous motor or verbal behavior o Incapable of formulating criminal intent because acting unconsciously o Sleepwalking o Epileptic Seizures may remove mens rea from drunk and disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, unlawful entry or even assault of a police officer Insanity  Mens rea was eliminated as a criminal element in Jordan and Meyers 2003.  Insanity is rarely raised in criminal cases o Used in less than 1% of felony cases  Insanity defined differently among U.S. jurisdictions Intoxication  Often raised in criminal cases to show that the defendant was not fully capable when the crime was committed  Rarely excuses criminal conduct Coercion or Duress When a person acts under coercion or duress, the person feels they should act in a certain way to avoid harm Necessity  Person could be excused of a crime if ruled necessary o Examples:  Someone breaks into a house during a snow storm because temperatures were below zero and they could have froze to death  Someone claims they broke into a residence to protect themselves from the elements surrounding Alibi  When a defendant claims an alibi, they intend to prove that they were somewhere else during the time of the crime o Strongest defense to criminal conduct Entrapment  Entrapment – when a defendant is induced to commit crime  Law enforcement seek to induce people to commit a crime so they can arrest o Examples:  Female officers can pose as prostitutes  Officers have to lure the person into the crime that they normally wouldn’t commit Defense of Property  An excuse for criminal conduct  Not a deadly force  Example: o If someone is trying to steal a car, the defendant can use reasonable force to defer the criminal activity Ignorance or Mistake  If someone doesn’t know what the law is regarding, this could reduce the seriousness of the crime  Mistake is more acceptable, but either is rarely accepted as defense Self-Defense  Often raised in homicide cases CJC250 2/11/16 Criminal Courts: Structure, Process, and Issues Ch. 5: Judges State Judicial Selection Methods  Judges are either appointed or elected.  There are 5 methods of judicial selection (Alfini 1981): o Partisan election  Partisan is same for other political elections for public offices  Judges run on party ticket (Democrat or Republican)  Public votes for their choice via secret ballot o Nonpartisan election  Nonpartisan candidates do not run affiliated with any party o Gubernatorial appointment  Governor appoints person who will best forward his/her agenda o Legislative appointment  Legislature votes to seat judges  Party with most seats in legislature can advance more easily o Merit selection  Comes from the Missouri Plan  Nominating committee of lawyers/non-lawyers appointed by governor  Committee makes list of candidates  Vacancies in the list are filled by governor from his list Federal Judicial Selection Methods  President makes appointments to federal branch  President recommends persons for district, circuit, and supreme court judgeships o These judges must pass senate confirmation Supreme Court Appointments  Federal judgeships are lifetime appointments Forms of Judicial Misconduct Judges make rulings that have influence on the outcome o Also make civil judgments Prejudice in Evidentiary Rulings  Most frequent types of judicial misconduct: prejudice to court proceedings in favor of one side o Behavior is difficult to detect though Deliberately Aggravating or Mitigating Sentences  Judges can increase/decrease the severity of the sentence o Difficult to catch and tell whether it’s personal or objective to courts Accepting Bribes  Judges may accept bribes to favor one side o Especially in bench trials where judge makes decision of case  Operation Greylord 1970s in Cook County, IL o Huge amount of judges caught accepting bribes  Set up fake court cases to catch the judges Sentencing Disparity  Judicial discretion in sentencing is possible o Judges are the cause for disparities in sentencing o Make decisions on extra-legal factors, rather than legal ones  Legal factors can include: o Prior criminal record o Seriousness of the crime o Acceptance of responsibility  Extra-legal factors include: o Gender o Race o Ethnicity o Age


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