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by: M.G

POLS 2312 - CHAPTER 10 NOTES POLS 2312-001

GPA 3.85

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About this Document

Covers the Judicial Branch
State and Local Government
Kimberly Harper
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by M.G on Wednesday April 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 2312-001 at University of Texas at Arlington taught by Kimberly Harper in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 34 views.


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Date Created: 04/06/16
Law ● Article 5 ● Judicial branch is reactionary because it must be in reaction to a case  ● Law­interpreting ● Civil law ○ Between two civilians ■ Divorce ■ Wills ■ Contracts ○ Preponderance of evidence ● Criminal law ○ Criminal offense against society ○ Prosecuted by the government ○ Beyond a reasonable doubt ● Misdemeanor  ○ Minor charge ○ Traffic ○ Noise ● Felony ○ More serious charge ○ Results in jail time ● Jurisdiction ○ The court’s right to hear a case ○ Appellate courts do not have new trials ● Court Records ○ Kept by a stenographer ○ Kept by audio/video device ● Laws ○ Can’t be organized and reviewed with the large amount of new  laws Courts/Juries ● Starts in the lowest courts ○ Municipal ■ Exclusive jurisdiction over municipal issues ■ Justice of the Peace ● Marriage ● Warrants ● Coroner (Small counties) ■ Small claims ● Judge Judy stuff ● Claims under $10,000 ● Civil issues ○ County  ■ Must maintain a court record at this level. ■ Drug courts ■ Veterans issue courts ● Judge is veteran ● ¼ homeless are veterans ■ >15% of judges at the county level are attorneys ■ Probate  ● Will issues ○ District ■ Divorce ● Everything is split down the middle ○ Appellate ■ Trial De Novo ● New trial ● At the appellate level, a review  occurs. ○ Supreme Court of Texas ■ The final stop in the state for civil and juvenile  issues in the state. ■ First in the bifurcated fork ○ Court of Criminal Appeals ■ Last stop for death penalty cases ■ Second in the bifurcated fork ○ State Bar ■ Lawyers must be certified through the state bar ■ Lawyers must volunteer time to be a public  defender ■ US Constitution 6th amendment ● Right to an attorney  ● Justice gap to the poor ■ US Constitution 8th Amendment ● Cruel and Unusual Punishment ● Grand juries ○ Recommends indictment ○ Jury of 12 persons ● Trial juries ○ Convicts ○ Jury of 6 or 12 persons ● Procedures ● Torts ○ Negligence  ■ Not taking normal steps a person would take ○ Unintentional injury to person or person’s property ● Special issues ○ Questions a judge will ask the jury to establish the specifics of a  case ○ Consensus must be reached in criminal cases. If consensus is not  made, the jury is declared hung.  ● Capital felony ○ Capital offense that can be punished with the death penalty ■ Rape ■ Murder of a police officer ■ Murder during the commission of another felony ● Death penalty ○ Moratorium on death penalty lifted in 1980’s ○ Death penalty sentences are not used as much because ■ Innocence ● 140 people on death row were later  exonerated ■ Life without parole sentence availability ■ Finances ○ TX is still leading in executions ● Innocence project ○ 140 exonerated and perp was found ○ 337 exonerated due to DNA evidence ○ 70% of people exonerated are minorities ■ 6th amendment is right to attorney ○ Over 2 dozen taken off of TX death row  ○ Recidivism rate is about 25% ■ Those release will re­offend in 3 years ■ Some people prefer to go back into the system  because they can’t function in society ○ 45% of prisoners don’t have a high school diploma ○ ⅓ are functionally illiterate ○ At least 1/3rd ­ 90% of people commit crime under the influence of drugs ○ 17% in the justice system deal with mental illness ■ Probably lower than actuality ○ ● Reasons of Wrongful Conviction ○ Eyewitness testimony ○ Improper forensic science ○ False confessions ○ Inadequate defense ○ Informants ○ Government misconduct Correction/Rehab ● Problems ○ Overcrowding ○ High turnover of COs ○ Aging prison population ○ 10,000 segregated violent criminals in TX ● Rehab ○ Education ○ Counseling ○ Working skills ○ Addiction rehab  ■ Drugs ■ Alcohol ● City Jails ○ Drunk tanks ○ Sober up then leave ○ No rehab ● County jails ○ Holding jails ○ Very few rehab programs ● Private prisons ○ 20% of prisoners in TX are in a private prison ● Probation/Parole ○ Supervised released ○ Transition into society ○ Some rights are still surrendered Juveniles ● 100,000­150,000 juveniles enter the system each year ● Recidivism rate is 50% ● Mostly dealt with in the civil court ● TX Youth Commision ○ Scandal shut it down after allegations of horrific abuse to young  men ● Rehab ○ Not effective Problems/Reform ● Problems ○ Crowded dockets ○ Plea bargains ○ Fewer judges ○ Technology like red­light cameras ○ Innocence project/exoneration ● Race and Ethnic Diversity ○ Most of the prison population are of a minority ○ Most in the judicial system are white


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