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CJC101 Exam 3 Study Guide

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by: Savannah Tipton

CJC101 Exam 3 Study Guide Criminal Justice 101

Savannah Tipton
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This study guide covers material up to the most recent lecture 11/10. Included is a defined vocabulary list, court cases covered, and notes on chapters 9-12. Good luck!
Introduction to American Criminal Justice System
Jennifer Christman
Study Guide
CJC 101, plea bargaining, guilt, prosecution, defense, courts, pretrial processes
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Nick Diettrich

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This 20 page Study Guide was uploaded by Savannah Tipton on Tuesday November 10, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to Criminal Justice 101 at Ball State University taught by Jennifer Christman in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 256 views. For similar materials see Introduction to American Criminal Justice System in Criminal Justice at Ball State University.


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Date Created: 11/10/15
Study Guide Chapters 9, 10, 11, 12 Vocab Ch. 9 Trial courts of limited jurisdiction: criminal courts with trial jurisdiction over misdemeanor cases and preliminary matters in felony cases. Sometimes these courts hold felony trials that may result in penalties below a specified limit Trial courts of general jurisdiction: criminal courts with jurisdiction over all offenses including felonies. In some states, these courts also hear appeals directing an alleged offender to appear in court at a specified time to answer a criminal charge Motions: an application to a court requesting that an order be issued to bring about a specified action Merit selection: a reform plan by which judges are nominated by a commission and appointed by the governor for a given period. When the term expires, the voters are asked to approve or disapprove the judge for a succeeding term. If the judge is disapproved, the committee nominates a successor for the governor’s appointment. Partisan election: an election in which candidates openly endorsed by political parties are presented to voters for selection listen on the ballot: an election in which candidates’ party affiliations are not Adversarial system: basis of the American legal system in which a passive judge and jury seek to find the truth by listening to opposing attorneys who vigorously advocate on behalf of their respective sides Bail: an amount of money specified by a judge to be paid as a condition of pretrial release to ensure that the accused will appear in court as required Inquisitorial system: basis of legal system in Europe in which the judge takes an active role in investigating the case and asking questions of witnesses in court Drug courts: specialized courts that impose drug testing and counseling requirements on substance abusers and monitor their progress instead of sending them immediately to jail or prison Arraignment: the court appearance of an accused person in which the charges are read and the accused, advised by a lawyer, pleads guilty or not guilty Appellate courts: courts that do not try criminal cases but hear appeals of decisions of lower courts Preventative detention: holding of a defendant for trial, based on a judge’s finding that, if the defendant were released on bail, he or she would flee or would endanger another person or the community Jurisdiction: the geographic territory or legal boundaries within which control may be exercised; the range of a court’s authority Release on recognizance (ROR): pretrial release granted on the defendant’s promise to appear in court, because the judge believes that the defendant’s ties in the community guarantee that he or she will appear Motion: an application to a court requesting that an order be issued to bring about a specified action Ch. 10 Legal sufficiency: the presence of the minimum legal elements necessary for the prosecution of a case. When a prosecutor uses legal sufficiency as the customary criterion for prosecuting cases, a great many are accepted for prosecution, but the majority of them are disposed of by plea bargaining or dismissal System efficiency: policy of the prosecutor’s office that encourages speedy and early disposition of cases in response to caseload pressures. Weak cases are screened out at intake, and other nontribal alternatives are used as a primary means of disposition Accusatory process: the series of events from the arrest of a suspect to the filing of a formal charge with a court (through an indictment or information) Defense attorney: the lawyer who represents accused or convicted offenders in their dealings with criminal justice officials Prosecuting attorney: a legal representative of the state with the sole responsibility for bringing criminal charges; in some states referred to as district attorney, state’s attorney, or county attorney State attorney general: a state’s chief legal officer, usually responsible for both civil and criminal matters United States attorneys: officials responsible for the prosecution of crimes that violate the laws of the United States; appointed by the president and assigned to a U.S. district court jurisdiction Contract counsel: an attorney in private practice who contracts with the government to represent all indigent defendants in a county during a set period of time and for a specified dollar amount Assigned counsel: an attorney in private practice assigned by a court to represent an indigent. The attorney’s fee is paid by the government with jurisdiction over the case Community prosecution: an approach to advance effective prosecution and crime prevention by placing prosecutors in close contact with citizens and neighborhood groups in an effort to identify and solve problems while enhancing cooperation between the community and the prosecutor’s office Counts: each separate offense of which a person is accused in an indictment or information Trial sufficiency: the presence of sufficient legal elements to ensure successful prosecution of a case. When a prosecutor uses trial sufficiency as the customary criterion for prosecuting cases, only cases that seem certain to result in conviction at trial are accepted for prosecution. Use of plea bargaining is minimal; good police work, and court capacity to go to trial are required Discovery: a prosecutor’s pretrial disclosure, to the defense, of facts and evidence to be introduced at trial Public defender: an attorney employed on a full-time, salaried basis by the government to represent indigents Nolle prosequi: an entry made by prosecutor on the record of a case and announced in court to indicate that the charged specified will not be prosecuted. In effect, the charges are thereby dismissed Ch. 11 Local legal culture: norms, shared by members of a court community, which center on how cases should be handled and how participant should behave in the judicial process Real evidence: physical evidence such as a weapon, records, fingerprints, stolen property- objects actually involved in the crime Demonstrative evidence: evidence that is not based on witness testimony but demonstrates information relevant to the crime, such as maps, x-rays, and photographs; includes real evidence involved in the crime Peremptory challenges: removal of a prospective juror without giving any reason. Attorneys are allowed a limited number of such challenges Direct evidence: eyewitness accounts Challenge for cause: removal of a prospective juror by showing that he or she has some bias or some other legal disability. The number of these challenges are permitted to attorneys is potentially unlimited Testimony: oral evidence provided by a legally competent witness Appeal: a request to a higher court that it review actions taken in a completed lower-court case Bench trials: trial conducted by a judge who acts as fact finder and determine issues of law. No jury participates Vior dire: a questioning of prospective jurors in order to screen out people the judge or attorneys think might be biased or otherwise incapable of delivering a fair verdict Jury: a panel of citizens selected according to law and sworn to determine matters of fact in a criminal case and to deliver a verdict of guilty or not guilty Habeas corpus: a writ or judicial order requesting the release of a person being detained in a jail, prison, or mental hospital. If a judge finds the person is being held improperly, the writ may be granted and the person released or granted a new trial Reasonable doubt: the standard used by a juror to decide if the prosecution has provided enough evidence for conviction Going rate: local court officials’ shared view of the appropriate sentence for the offense, based on the defendant’s prior record and other case characteristics Workgroups: a collection of individuals who interact in the workplace on a continuing basis, share goals, develop norms regarding how activities should be carried out, and eventually establish a network of roles that differentiates the group from others and that facilitates cooperation Continuances: an adjournment of a scheduled case until a later date Circumstantial evidence: evidence, provided by a witness, from which a jury must infer a fact Ch. 12 Shock probation: a sentence in which the offender is released after a short incarceration and resentenced to probation Specific deterrence: punishment inflicted on criminals to discourage them from committing future crimes General deterrence: punishment of criminals that is intended to provide an example to the general public and to discourage the commission of offenses Determinate sentences: a sentence that fixes the term of imprisonment at a specific period Indeterminate sentences: a period, set by a judge that specifies a minimum and a maximum time to be served in prison. Sometime after the minimum, the offender may be eligible for parole. Because it is based on the idea that the time necessary for treatment cannot be set, the indeterminate sentence is closely associated with rehabilitation Retribution: punishment inflicted on a person who has infringed on the rights of others and so deserves to be penalized. The severity of the sanction should fit the seriousness of the crime Earned time: reduction in a prisoner’s sentence as a reward for participation in education or other rehabilitation programs, and for work assignments, such as disaster relief and conservation projects Good time: a reduction of an inmate’s prison sentence, at the discretion of the prison administrator, for good behavior or participation in vocational, educational, or treatment programs Rehabilitation: the goal of resorting a convicted offender to a constructive place in society through some form of vocational or educational training or therapy Presumptive sentence: a sentence for which the legislature or a commission sets a minimum and maximum range of months or years. Judges are to fix the length of the sentence within that range, allowing for special circumstances Restoration: punishment designed to repair the damage done to the victim and community by an offender’s criminal act Selective incapacitation: making the best use of expensive and limited prison space by targeting for incarceration those individuals whose detention will do the most to reduce crime in society Presentence report: a report, prepared by a probation officer, that presents a convicted offender’s background and is used by the judge in selecting an appropriate sentence Sentencing guidelines: a mechanism to indicate to judges the expected sanction for certain offenses, in order to reduce disparities in sentencing Incapacitation: depriving an offender of the ability to commit crimes against society, usually by detaining the offender in prison Intermediate sanctions: a variety of punishments that are more restrictive that traditional probation but less severe and costly than incarceration Probation: a sentence that the offender is allowed to serve under supervision in the community Mandatory sentences: a sentence determine by statues and requiring that a certain penalty be imposed and carried out for convicted offenders who meet certain criteria Court Cases Witherspoon v. Illinois (1968): potential jurors who object to the death penalty cannot be automatically excluded from service; however, during voir dire those who feel so strongly about capital punishment that they could not give an impartial verdict may be excluded *Boykin v. Alabama (1969): defendants must state that they are voluntarily making a plea of guilty Williams v. Florida (1970): juries of fewer than 12 members are permitted by the U.S. Constitution North Carolina v. Alford (1970): a plea of guilty may be accepted for the purpose of a lesser sentence from a defendant who maintains his or her innocence *Santobello v. New York (1971): when a guilty plea rests on a promise of a prosecutor, the promise must be fulfilled Furman v. Georgia (1972): the death penalty, as administered, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment Gregg v. Georgia (1976): the Supreme Court’s decision reactivating the death penalty after states revised their laws to make decision making about punishment in murder cases more careful and deliberate Bordenkircher v. Hayes (1978): a defendant’s rights were not violated by a prosecutor who warned that failure to agree to a guilty plea would result in a harsher sentence United States v. Salerno and Cafero (1987): preventative detention provisions of the Bail Reform Act of 1984 are upheld as legitimate use of government power designed to prevent people from committing crimes while on bail Rickets v. Adamson (1987): defendants must uphold the plea agreement or risk going to trial and receiving a harsher sentence McCleskey v. Kemp (1987): rejects a challenge to Georgia’s death penalty that was made on the grounds of racial discrimination Atkins v. Virginia (2002): execution of the developmentally disables (“mentally retarded”) is unconstitutional Ring v. Arizona (2002): juries, rather than judges, must make the crucial factual decisions regarding whether a convicted murderer should receive the death penalty Roper v. Simmons (2005): execution of offenders for murders committed before they were 18 years of age is unconstitutional th Baze v. Rees (2008): lethal injection has not been shown to violate the 8 amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments and thus this method of execution is permissible *Padilla v. Kentucky (2009): illegal immigrants must be informed of the possibility of deportation Chapter 9 courts and pretrial process The structure of American courts  Dual court system o Separate state and federal  Federal courts hear national violations  Native American tribal courts constitute a 3 in several states (Cases crossing state lines go to federal court) Ineffective management of the state courts recently, why?  Huge caseloads  Inadequate resources  Local political interests often prevent reform  Diminishing budgets o Furloughs o Reduced number of court sessions Proposed solutions of ineffectiveness  Eliminate overlapping and conflicting jurisdictions  Create hierarchical and centralized court structure  Courts funded by state government  Creating separate civil service personnel system run by a state court administrator To be a judge  Most produce honest, careful, and consistent decisions  Most important in criminal justice system o Power to change the law and set precedents  Who becomes a judge in the United States o Attorney seeking prestige and power o Women and minorities unwelcomed prior to 1960s o Women and minorities still under represented today  At state level judges can be appointed, selected, or elected o Over half states elect o Partisan(coordinated with a given political party) or non-partisan elections  Indiana has partisan elections o Merit selection combines appointment and election  Learn role “on the job” Court of appeals and Indiana Supreme Court are appointed for 2 years on merit selection Functions of the judge  Adjudicator o Discretion, neutrality, appear unbiased  Negotiator o In chambers, plea arrangements  Administrator o Manage the court, budget, schedule, building, alternative courts From arrest to trial to plea  Stages meant to move defendant through or filter him/her out o 5 and 14 amendments – due process for all accused  Bookings and initial appearance – establish probable cause with arrest or warrant  Arraignment – evaluate indictment (grand jury) or information (prosecutor)  Trial o Small percentage of cases actually go to trial  Sentencing phase Bail: pretrial release  What is bail? o Secure pretrial release/offered in hope defendant will return o If not money is fortified  Eighth amendment o Bail shall not be excessive or used as punishment  Bail set by judge o Bail is based on seriousness of crime and past criminal record o Recommendation of prosecutor Bail bondsmen  Business of loaning money  5-10% commission of deposit placed in effect  They make sure defendant appears o Role of “bounty hunters”  Should people be able to profit from the criminal acts of others?  Bail system favor the wealthy? Release on recognizance (ROR)  Promise to return, no payment rendered  Judge considers ties to the community: o Job o Family o Prior record o Associates  Only 1.5% fail to appear 10% cash bail  Alternative program to ROR  Five states offer 10% bail in cash through their courts  Defendant receives 90% of money back upon appearance in court Increased reliance on citations  Usually reliance on citations  Usually for traffic violations  Inform defendant of required court appearance time  Relieves officer from formally booking defendant  Citations are beginning to be used for more serious offenses Preventative detention  Preventative detention: ensure individual will be there, safely is maintained  Bail reform concerned with public safety and stopping crime  Research: 21% of felony defendants rearrested for another crime  Impact of Bail Reform Act of 1984 o Hearing to determine risks and assess violence of alleged crime o Resulted from United States v. Salerno and Cafero Pretrial detention  If bail cannot be met or if judge denies bail  Can be traumatic experience o Drug addicts, mentally ill, etc. o Cell mates potentially dangerous o Easily fall into depression  Can last a significant time o Usually within 6 months o 12% more than a year Chapter 10 Prosecution and Defense The prosecutorial system  Separate federal and state levels  Both make discretionary decisions o What cases to prosecute, what charges to file, and what sentences to ask for  Federal level: US attorney general appointed by president  State level: elected officials (district or county attorneys) o Elected at county level The prosecutors influence  Determines cases to prosecute, what charges to file, recommend bail, approve agreements, and influence the judges decisions  Interact with all players – defense, police, victims, judge, etc.  No set guidelines for prosecutorial decisions, publicity can influence decisions  Prosecutors elected in nearly all states Role of prosecutor *look in book figure 10.3 for reference*  Bail appointment  Presents charges (indictment or information)  Gather evidence for trial  Recommendations for sentences  Counter arguments upon appeal of sentence Key relationships of the prosecutor  With police o Provide suspects and evidence o Decide which cases are over o Prosecutors exercise quality control (ex. If evidence can be used)  With victims and witnesses o Success depends on cooperation o Victim’s character influence case The prosecutor’s role  The “prosecutor’s dilemma” o “conviction at any cost” complex – prosecution often more focused on securing a case against the defense rather than focusing on ensuring justice is done  Advent of DNA: testing older cases o Not published for wrongful convictions  Four distinct roles: 1. Trial counsel for police 2. House counsel for police 3. Representative of the court 4. Elected official Discretion of the prosecutor  Charge suspect or dismiss the case  Complete authority over case  Department of Justice guidelines for dismissal – ability to drop charges (law enforcement priorities, deterrent effect, seriousness of offense, etc.)  Determine specific charges, counts o Often leverage for plea agreements  Reasons for declining to prosecute felony cases o *reasons for declining to prosecute felony cases* Judges and courts  Prosecutor’s case depends on judge o Inconsistent sentencing by judge degrades faith in plea bargaining o Preliminary hearing, within 10 days, provides assessment of case strength  Prosecutor presents evidence (probable cause) o Prosecutor seeks to uphold community values Decision making process  Implementation prosecution policy o 3 policy models 1. Legal sufficiency – look at evidence strong enough to continue with case 2. System sufficiency – burden already on the court// cases with quick guilty plea… take it, if lowering charges is likely to increase chance of getting a guilty plea… do it 3. Trial sufficiency – if the case will hold up in trial  Case evaluation o Accusatory process: from arrest to charge being filed o Demographic discrimination: in terms of race or gender  Court process in general not discriminatory  Some types of cases very discriminatory statistically Roles of the defense attorney  Advises defendant of constitutional rights throughout the process  Must have: o Knowledge of the law o Investigatory skills o Advocacy experience o Relationship with courtroom players  Frequently confers with the family Realities of the defense attorney’s job  Novices often plea bargain too quickly, sometimes in their own interest  Experienced defense attorneys learn to plea bargain more effectively  Usually offers the most appropriate punishment in light of the courts resources The environment of criminal practice  Long hours and job stress  Low pay, and low status for defending criminals o Potential for higher pay when associated with a larger firm  Rampant burnout, high turnover rate  Few practice beyond age 50 Relationship to court officials  Defense attorneys must establish and maintain relationships with: o Police o Prosecutors o Judges, etc.  Can appear to be working FOR the system instead of for the clients  Relationship to clients o Agent-mediators Counsel for indigents th  6 amendment right to counsel  Nearly 80% provided counsel  Quality of defense is questionable  Ways of providing counsel: o Assigned counsel - court appoints a private attorney to represent the accused o Contract counsel - an attorney, a nonprofit organization, or a private law firm contracts with a local government to provide legal services to indigent defendants for a specified dollar amount o Public defender’s office - are public or private nonprofit organizations with full-time or part-time salaried staff Assigned counsel  Ad hoc o Private practice attorney appointed from rotating list  Coordinated list o Court administrator oversees the appointment of counsel Contract system  Used primarily in western states with small populations  Contracted attorney handles all indigent cases  Critics concerned contracts go to the lowest bidder, regardless of qualification Public defender  Concept started in Los Angeles, 1914  Handles 85% of all indigent defenses  Clients trust difficult to gain – why? o Public defenders are seen as a cog in the system o Often work towards pleas// clients feel as if they are not adequately defended  Heavy caseloads – does this lead to lack of appropriate rigorous representation Public vs. Private Defense  Wealthy are better able to retain competent counsel  Competence of defense is an ongoing concern for the accused  Innocent people have been incarcerated due to behavior of public defenders (assigned by court)  Public defense system has problems Case disposition and types of defense attorneys Chapter 11 determination of guilt: plea bargaining and trials How the courtroom functions  Courtroom workgroup: judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers o Judge sets tone of the court room o Some groups flow well together o Some court rooms it is clear everyone is afraid of the judge, power imbalance  Courts are influenced in 3 ways: o Norms to distinguish between courts o Norms that guide behavior o Norms on how cases should be processed Plea bargaining  Most important in criminal justice system o Benefits all parties o System would be stuck without pleas  Criminal justice doesn’t have the capacity to go to trial with all cases  When someone takes a plea, they must fill out a plea form (Boykin form) to ensure there’s no coercion involved, mare sure defendant understands they are giving up their rights Exchange relationship and plea bargaining  The prosecution, the defense, the defendant, and sometimes the judge all try to use the situation to their own advantage  Tactics o Prosecutor  Multiple-offense indictments  Charging the highest possible offense o Defense attorney  Threaten to go to trial  Rescheduling pretrial activities (continually filing continuances) Legal issues in plea bargaining  Boykin v. Alabama (1969) o Free will – plea must be voluntary in nature  Santobello v. New York (1971) o Plea agreements must be honored  Padilla v. Kentucky (2009) o Illegal immigrants must be informed of the possibility of deportation Pros and Cons of plea bargaining PROS CONS Reduced costs; improve efficiency Infringes on the right to trial Avoid pretrial detention and delays Results in lesser sentences and sentence disparity Concentrate on serious cases May coerce innocent to plead guilty Trial: the exceptional case  Trial by jury is ingrained in American ideology  Few cases (less than6%) go to trial  6 amendment right to speedy and fair trial  Role of court is adversarial process, which pits opposing sides against each other to discover the truth Steps in a jury trial 1. Jury selection 2. Opening statements 3. Presentation of evidence and witnesses 4. Cross-examination 5. Closing arguments 6. Jury instructions 7. Decision Jury selection st  1 crucial step  Prospective jurors are questioned (voir dire) to screen out those who might be biased or unsympathetic to one side or the other  Types of challenges to excuse a jurors: o Challenge for cause- reason given approved by judge  Unlimited number  Ex. Unable to make a fair decision due to biases o Preemptory challenges- fairly open reasoning  Limited number of challenges  Cannot be used to eliminate jurors on basis of race, ethnicity, or gender Opening statements  Prosecutor and defense will provide an overview of the case  Evidence cannot be introduced  Used to introduce the jury and the judge to the case; set the foundation Presentation of evidence  Prosecutor o Burden of proof o Different types of evidence (DNA) o Expert witnesses  Defense attorney o Contrary evidence o Alibi o Affirmative defense Closing arguments  After all evidence is presented  Prosecutor o Review case and evidence o Convince jury to find defendant guilty  Defense attorney o Convince the jury that:  Prosecutor did not prove guilt  Testimony did not answer questions Instructions to the jury  Judges responsibility  Provides jury w/info about the law o Elements of the crime o Evidence required for proof o Burden of proof required  Jurors often don’t understand the instructions The verdict  Guilty: judge will normally set a date for sentencing and ask for a presentence investigation report  Not guilty: defendant is free to leave  Hung jury: case may be retried Right to appeal  The right to appeal is determined by law  Based upon some contended error of law or procedure  Court transcript serves as the basis for appellate review  Most appeals do not succeed o Because: perhaps there was an impropriety… goes back to if the outcome would be the same then the case will not go up for review Habeas Corpus  A judicial order requesting that a judge examine whether an individual is being wrongfully detained  Claim of violation of individual constitutional rights  Only 1% of habeas corpus petitions succeed with a release of a suspect o No legal right to legal representation in habeas corpus filings o Have to understand constitutional law enough to establish a level of evidence that proves a violation has occurred o Evidentiary standard very high Evaluating the appellate process  Public misperception that too many offenders “get off” after appealing  Less than 10% of cases go to trial, even then fewer are appealed  Successful appeals often result in remanding the case to the lower court where a new trial can occur Chapter 12 Punishment and Sentencing Goals of punishment 1. Retribution (an eye for an eye) -Punishment should fit the crime 2. Deterrence -General deterrence – deter overall population or group -Specific deterrence – deter violators from committing offense again 3. Incapacitation -prevent recidivism by detention or execution 4. Rehabilitation -“correct” the offender through vocational or educational training or therapy *more recent goal is restoration or restorative justice* Basic sentencing strategy models  Sentencing strategies for determining length of prison sentence  Indeterminate sentencing o Rehabilitation – range (ex. 6-10 years)  Determinate sentencing o Presumptive sentences (judge determines specific time in range that’s generally expected)  Mandatory sentences o Habitual criminal statutes Sentence vs. time served  Good time o Good behavior o Participating in programs o 30 states  Truth in sentencing o Offender must serve at least 85% of their sentence o Increase in correctional standing Intermediate sanctions  Punishments that are more restrictive than traditional probation but less severe and less costly than incarceration  Examples include: o Home confinement (house arrest) o Electronic monitoring o Intensive supervision probation o Boot camp Probation  Probation is the most frequently used criminal sanction  Nearly 60% of adults under correctional supervision  Community supervision  Conditions of probation o Ex. Drug testing, employment, educational programs, no drinking The death penalty  Higher standards of fairness and more careful procedures than other cases  Public opinion in favor – but declining o DNA has found people on death row to be innocent o States trying out new drugs; poorly executed trials o Problems with drugs used  Hard to get the drugs needed  Made in Europe, limited supply sold to US  California o Largest death row population  Issue of innocent people on death row  Number of executions was dropped in recent years Furman v. Georgia (1972)  Death penalty as administered, constituted cruel and unusual punishment  Decision invalidated death penalty laws in 39 states and D.C.  New capital punishment statutes enacted in 35 states Greggs v. Georgia (1976)  Reinstated capital punishment  Model for several other states  Bifurcated trial: jury decides outcome for both stages o Guilt stage o Sentencing stage  Aggravating and mitigating circumstances Additional key Supreme Court cases  Atkins v. Virginia (2002) o Execution off mentally handicapped is unconstitutional  Ring v. Arizona (2002) o Juries must decide life or death sentence  Roper v. Simmons (2005) o Execution of offenders for murders committed before they are 18 years old is unconstitutional  Baze v. Rees (2008) o Lethal injection not cruel and unusual punishment Death penalty arguments PROS CONS Deterrence No proof of deterrent effect Retribution Morally wrong Incapacitation Discrimination (more minorities) Less expensive Innocents executed Inhumane methods The sentencing process  Administrative context o Misdemeanor courts – overall general sanctions o Felony courts – more specific to case  Attitudes and values of judges o Administrative pressure o Discrepancies o Community values Presentence reports  Prepared by probation officer  Offender background and criminal history  Helps judge decide punishments  Used for classification  Very controversial – some believe it gives too much power to the probation officer Sentencing guidelines  Main goal: reduce sentence disparities  Establish ranges of penalties within which judges can sentence offenders  Range of options based on o Seriousness o Criminal history Who gets the harshest punishment?  Racial disparities o Minorities punished harder  Wrongful convictions o Overturned by DNA o By 2011, 267 innocent people were exonerated  Unjust punishments do not serve the ideals of justice


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