CHAPTER 7COURTS AND THE QUEST FOR JUSTICELEARNING OBJECTIVESAfter reading this chapter, the student should be able to: Define and contrast the four functions of the courts. Define jurisdiction and contrast geographic and subject-matter jurisdiction. Explain the difference between trial and appellate courts. Outline the several levels of a typical state court system. Explain briefly how a case is brought to the Supreme Court. Explain the difference between the selection of judges at the state level and at the federal level. List the different names given to public prosecutors and the general powers that they have. Explain why defense attorneys must often defend clients they know to be guilty.Lesson Plan Correlated to PowerPointsI. Functions of the CourtsLearning Objective 1: Define and contrast the four functions of the court.Courts have extensive powers in our justice system: the can apply the authority of the state to seize property and restrict individual liberty. The court’s legitimacy is based on two factors: impartiality and independence A. Due Process and Crime Control in the Courts i. The Due Process Functiona. Includes the duty to protect the rights of individuals against the power of the state ii. The Crime Control Function a. Emphasizes punishment and retributionB. The Rehabilitation Function i. Based on the medical model, sees offenders not as evil but in need of treatmentC. The Bureaucratic Function i. Involves the day to day processing of criminal cases through the systemII. The Basic Principles of the American Judicial SystemLearning Objective 2: Define jurisdiction and contrast geographic and subject-matter jurisdiction.Learning Objective 3: Explain the difference between trial and appellate courts.A. Jurisdiction i. Juris means “law,” and diction means to “speak;” thus jurisdiction literally refers to the power “to speak the law” ii. The jurisdiction of every court is limited in some way a. Geographic Jurisdiction1. Generally, a court can exercise its authority over residents of a certain area.b. International Jurisdiction1. Under international law, each country has the right to create and enact criminal law for its territoryc. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction1. Courts of general jurisdiction i. Have no restrictions on the subject matter they may address ii. Deal with the most serious felonies and civil cases2. Courts of limited jurisdiction i. Known as lower courts ii. Handle misdemeanors and civil matters under a certain amount B. Trial and Appellate Courts i. Courts having original jurisdiction are courts of the first instance, or trial courtsa. Almost every case begins in a trial courtb. Trial court is where a trial takes place, and the judge imposes a sentence if the defendant is found guiltyc. Primarily concerned with questions of fact ii. Courts of appellate jurisdiction act as reviewing courtsa. Cases can be brought before appellate courts only on appeal by one of the parties in the trial courtb. Appellate court makes decisions on whether the case should be reversed and remandedc. Judges present written explanations for their decisions, and these opinions of the court are the basis for a great deal of precedentd. Do not determine the guilt or innocence of the defendante. Primarily concerned with questions of lawC. The Dual Court System i. Federal and state courts both have limited jurisdiction a. Federal courts deal with acts that violate federal lawb. State courts deal with acts that violate state lawc. A number of crimes are deemed illegal by both federal and state statutes, and persons accused of such crimes can be tried in either court system – concurrent jurisdiction d. Federal and state prosecutors need to decide who will handle such a casee. Often prosecutors will “steer” a suspect toward the harsher penalty Media Tool “Introduction to the U.S. Court System” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dnp_01e4Qw A short clip about the American court system. III. State Court Systems Learning Objective 4: Outline the several levels of a typical state court system.A. Trial Courts of Limited Jurisdiction i. Local trial courts are limited to trying cases involving minor criminal matters ii. Minor courts usually keep no written record of the trial proceedings iii. Cases are decided by a judge rather than a jury iv. Defendants have the same rights as those in other trial courts v. Majority of all minor criminal cases are decided in lower courts vi. Can be responsible for preliminary stages of felony cases vii. Arraignments, bail hearings, and preliminary hearings often take place in these lower courts viii. Also includes the justice of the peace and magistrate ix. Many states have created specialty courts that retain jurisdiction over very narrowly defined areas of criminal justice, examples includea. Drug courts b. Gun courts c. Juvenile courtsd. Domestic Courtse. Elder Courts Media Tool “Family Drug Court” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz2P3wKJKoo A short clip about family drug court. B. Trial Courts of General Jurisdiction i. May be called “county courts,” “district courts,” “superior courts,” or “circuit courts” ii. Courts of general jurisdiction have the authority to hear and decide cases involving many types of subject matter, and they are the setting for criminal trials C. State Courts of Appeals i. Every state has at least one court of appeals that may be an intermediate appellate court or the state’s highest court ii. Decisions of each state’s highest court on all questions of state law are final iii. Only when issues of federal law or constitutional procedure are involved can the U.S. Supreme Court overrule a decision made by a state’s highest courtIV. The Federal Court System Learning Objective 5: Explain briefly how a case is brought to the Supreme Court.A. U.S. District Courts i. Lowest tier of the federal court system ii. Courts in which cases involving federal laws begin, and a judge or jury decides the case iii. Every state has at least one federal district court, and there is one in the District of Columbia iv. The number of judicial districts varies over time; currently there are 94B. U.S. Court of Appeals i. Currently there are 13 U.S. courts of appeals ii. Also referred to as U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals iii. Decisions of the circuit courts of appeals are final unless a further appeal is pursued and granted, in which case the matter is brought before the U.S. Supreme Court Media Tool “U.S. Court of Appeals Denys Utah’s Request to Stay Gay Marriage Back in Court” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDm8m9rb9bI A short clip about the U.S Court of Appeals. C. The United States Supreme Court i. Reviews a miniscule percentage of the cases decided in the United States each year ii. Impact of the Court decisions on the criminal justice system is profounda. Gideon v. Wainwrightb. Miranda v. Arizonac. Furman v. Georgiad. Gregg v. Georgia iii. Judicial Reviewa. Court reviews whether a law or action by other branches of the government is constitutional iv. Statutory Interpretationa. Final interpreter of the constitutionb. The Court must determine the meaning of certain provisions as they pertain to specific situations v. Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court a. Consists of nine justices – a chief justice and eight associate justicesb. Court has original or trial jurisdiction only in rare instancesc. Rarely does a case originate at the Supreme Court level vi. Which Cases Reach the Supreme Court? a. Thousands of cases are filed with the Supreme Court each year and on average, the Court hears fewer than 100b. With a writ of certiorari, the Supreme Court orders a lower court to send it the record of a case for reviewc. More than 90% of petitions for a writ of certiorari are denied 1. The Court will not issue a writ unless at least four justices approve it (rule of four)2. Unless justices feel that the case addresses important federal law or constitutional issues, they will vote to deny the writ of certiorari vii. Supreme Court Decisionsa. General Notes1. Normally the Supreme Court does not hear any evidence2. Decision is based on the written record of the case and the written arguments that the attorneys submit3. Attorneys can also present oral arguments4. Justices discuss the case in conferenceb. Majorities and Pluralities1. When a decision has been reached, the chief justice assigns the task of writing the Court’s opinion to one of the justices2. The opinion outlines the reasons for the decision3. Plurality opinions are opinions in which no single reason gets five votesc. Concurrence and Dissent1. Opinion outlines the reasons for the Court’s decision, the rules of law that apply, and the decision2. One or more of the justices that agree with the opinion may do so for different reasons, which will be included i. Concurring opinions ii. Dissenting opinions What If Scenario What if . . . you have been convicted in state district court of a crime? The jury that found you guilty heard evidence from your roommate, who stated that you bragged about the crime after you committed it. You maintain that his testimony was a lie. After the jury has rendered the verdict of guilty against you, you tell your attorney that you are innocent and that you are going to appeal your case “all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court! “ Do you have the right to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear your case? What Court will hear your case after the trial court found you guilty? A. V. Judges in the Court SystemLearning Objective 6: Explain the difference between the selection of judges at the state level and at the federal level.A. The Roles and Responsibilities of Trial Judges i. Before the Triala. Determine whether there is sufficient probable cause to issue an arrest or search warrantb. Determine whether there is sufficient probable cause to authorize electronic surveillance of a suspectc. Determine whether enough evidence exists to justify the temporary incarceration of a suspectd. Determine whether a suspect should be released on bail, and if so, the amount of baile. Determine whether to accept pretrial motions by prosecutors and defense attorneysf. Determine whether to accept a plea bargaing. Judge often takes on the role of negotiator Media Tool “Casey Anthony in Court as Judge Denies Motions, Sets Rules” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_Pa0UoKLW0 A short clip about rulings on motions in the Casey Anthony case. ii. During the Triala. When the trial starts, the judge takes on the role of referee 1. Responsible for seeing that the trial unfolds according to dictates of the law2. Judge is expected to be neutralb. Judge also acts as a teacher1. Explains points of law to the jury2. Must decide on the length and type of sentence iii. The Administrative Rolea. Primary task is scheduling a docketb. Keep track of immense amount of paperwork B. Selection of Judges i. In the federal court system, all judges are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate ii. Procedures for judges varies widely between statesa. Partisan election is used to choose judges through elections in which a judicial candidate is openly supported by a political partyb. Nonpartisan election is used to choose judges without requiring a candidate to affiliate him or herself with a political party c. Merit selection was first used by Missouri in 1940, and is referred to as the Missouri Plan1. When a vacancy on the bench arises, candidates are nominated by a nonpartisan committee of citizens2. The names of the three most qualified candidates are sent to the governor or executive of the judicial system, and that person decides who will be the judge3. A year after the new judge has been installed, there will be a “retention election”4. The goal of the Missouri Plan is to eliminate partisan politics from the selection procedureC. Diversity on the Bench i. One criticism of the Missouri Plan is a lack of diversity on the bencha. About two-thirds of state appellate judges are white malesb. Women and minorities are notably absent ii. Federal Diversitya. Minorities are underrepresentedb. Of 111 justices who have served on the U.S. Supreme Court, only two were African American, only one is Hispanic, and only four were women iii. The Impact of Past Discriminationa. Some argue that past discrimination by law schools has resulted in low minority representation on the benchb. While some argue judges should be impartial regardless of racial or ethnic background, others assert that diversity on the bench can only enrich our judiciary system by introducing a variety of voices and perspectives Media Tool “Obama announces nominations to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61krZRbZljA A short clip about Obama’s nominations to the U.S Court of Appeals. VI. The Courtroom Work Group Learning Objective 7: List the different names given to public prosecutors and the general powers that they have.Learning Objective 8: Explain why defense attorneys must often defend clients they know to be guilty.A. Members of the Courtroom Work Group i. Made up of those individuals who are involved with the defendant from the time he or she is arrested and until sentencing ii. Most prominent members include the judge, prosecutor, and the defense attorney iii. Other participants are also includeda. Bailiffb. Clerk of the courtc. Court reportersB. The Judge in the Courtroom Work Group i. The judge is the dominant figure in the courtroom and exerts the most influence over the values and norms of the work group ii. A judge’s personal philosophies affect court proceedings iii. Judge relies on other members of the work group and may be considered less informed than a prosecutor or defense attorneyC. The Prosecution i. Criminal cases are tried by public prosecutors, employed by the government ii. Prosecutors may be referred to as prosecuting attorney, state prosecutor, district attorney, county attorney, or city attorney iii. Have great autonomy and are considered dominant figures in the American criminal justice system iv. They have the power to bring the resources of the state against the individual and hold the legal keys to meting out or withholding punishment v. The Office of the Prosecutora. There are limits on the prosecutor’s conductb. During pretrial, prosecutors have a great deal of discretion in decisions1. Whether an individual who has been arrested by the police will be charged with a crime2. The level of the charges to be brought against a suspect3. If and when to stop the prosecution vi. The Prosecutor as Elected Officiala. Introduction1. As an elected official, the prosecutor must answer to the voters2. U.S. attorneys are appointed by the president and approved by the Senateb. Prosecutorial Politics1. The prosecutor may be part of the political machine 2. The post of prosecutor is a stepping stone to higher political pressuresc. Prosecutorial Pressures1. Prosecutors are also subject to community pressures vii. Prosecutors and Victimsa. Victims often see themselves on the same side as the prosecutorb. But, prosecutors do not represent crime victimsc. Victims focus mainly on the fate of the accusedd. Prosecutors must balance the rights of the victims with the rights of the accused, and the best interest of the public at large What If Scenario What if . . . you are a deputy district attorney charged with the task of prosecuting a group of teens for possessing marijuana, which is against the law in your state. The police report indicates that, while investigating a domestic disturbance, police made contact with several teens sitting around a table containing a very small quantity of marijuana. None of the teens admitted that the contraband belonged to them. The police arrested them all for possession of the controlled substance. As the prosecutor, what discretionary decisions can you make in the prosecution of the case? D. The Defense Attorney i. Most persons charged with a crime have little or no knowledge of criminal procedure ii. Without assistance, defendants would be helpless against a government prosecutor iii. The Responsibilities of the Defense Attorneya. Defendants are entitled to representation as soon as their rights may be denied, which includes the custodial interrogation and lineup identification proceduresb. The defense attorney’s primary responsibility is to represent the defendant at various stages of the custodial processc. Other responsibilities1. Investigating the incident2. Communicating with the prosecutor3. Preparing the case for trial4. Submitting defense motions5. Representing the defendant at trial6. Negotiating a sentence7. Determining whether to appeal a guilty verdict iv. Defending the Guiltya. Our adversarial system insists that the defense attorney “defend the client whether he is innocent or guilty”. b. If defense attorneys refused to represent clients whom they believed to be guilty, the Sixth Amendment guarantee of a criminal trial for all accused persons would be rendered meaningless v. The Public Defendera. Two different types of defense attorneys – private attorneys and public defenders, who work for the government 1. State must provide a public defender to those who cannot afford to hire one for themselves – indigent defendant i. Many observers believe that public defenders do not provide an acceptable level of defense to indigents ii. Unless the presiding judge rules otherwise, a person can waive his or her Sixth Amendment rights and act as his or her own defense attorney.2. A defendant who is paying for her or his defense attorney has a right to choose that attorney without interference from the court. This right of choice does not extend to indigent defendants. vi. Attorney-Client Privilegea. Effective defense requires that a defense attorney have access to all the facts concerning the case, including those that might be harmful to the defenseb. Laws require that communications between a client and his/her attorney are confidential, unless the client consents to disclosurec. The Exception to the Privilege1. Per United States v. Zolin (1989) attorneys must disclose contents of a conversation with a client if the information concerns a crime that has yet to be committedLecture NotesAmerican criminal courts serve four basic functions. The due process function is primarily concerned with the protection of individual rights, while the crime control function is concerned with the punishment of criminal offenders. These two functions often compete as the courts attempt to balance the rights of individuals with the needs of society. A third function is the rehabilitative function, where the court’s primary duty is to dispense treatment to offenders. Finally, the bureaucratic model is concerned with the overall functioning of the court as a process. Chapter 7 also explains the various jurisdictions of the court, as well as the levels of the state and federal court systems. This can be a confusing discussion for students as not all states are consistent in the organization of their court systems. It is helpful to familiarize students with the jurisdictions of the various courts in your state, as well as personalize your explanations by discussing where these courts are located and identifying a few of the presiding judges. Extra attention should be paid to the United States Supreme Court. Students should have a thorough understanding of how cases are brought before the court, as well as how rulings are determined. Encourage students to familiarize themselves not only with the justices, but also with the docket for the current year.The courtroom work group consists of a number of individuals, including the judge, the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the bailiff, the clerk, and the court reporter. These key personnel manage the flow of cases through the court and ensure that the court is administered appropriately. One of the primary concerns facing the courtroom work group is excessive caseloads. One result of excessive caseloads is a lack of individual attention to particular defendants. Instead, a system of “assembly-line” justice develops, in which defendants are ushered through the process as rapidly as possible. Assembly-line justice has a number of serious consequences, each of which students should analyze and discuss. End the chapter by revisiting the functions of the court and asking students to once again identify the most important duty of the court in their view. Key TermsAppellate courts – courts that review decisions made by lower courts, such as trialcourts; also know as courts of appeals. (p. 206)Attorney-client privilege – a rule of evidence requiring that communications between aclient and his or her attorney be kept confidential, unless the client consents to disclosure. (p. 226)Attorney general – the chief law officer of a state; also, the chief law officer of thenation. (p. 221)Concurrent jurisdiction – the situation that occurs when two or more courts have theauthority to preside over the same criminal case. (p. 207)Concurring opinion – separate opinions prepared by judges who support the decision ofthe majority of the court but who want to make or clarify a particular point or to voicedisapproval of the grounds on which the decision was made. (p. 214)Courtroom work group – the social organization consisting of the judge, prosecutor,defense attorney, and other court workers. (p. 219)Defense attorney – the lawyer representing the defendant. (p. 223)Dissenting opinions – separate opinions in which judges disagree with the conclusionreached by the majority of the court and expand on their own views about the case. (p. 214)Docket – the list of cases entered on a court’s calendar and thus scheduled to be heard by a court. (p. 216)Dual court systems – the separate but interrelated court system of the United States,made up of the courts on the national level and courts on the state level. (p. 207)Extradition – the process by which one jurisdiction surrenders a person accused orconvicted of violating another jurisdiction’s criminal law to the second jurisdiction. (p. 205)Judicial review – the power of a court – particularly the United States Supreme Court –to review the actions of the executive and legislative branches, and, if necessary, declare thoseactions unconstitutional. (p. 212) Jurisdiction – the authority of a court to hear and decide cases within an area of the law or ageographic territory. (p. 205)Magistrate- public civil officers or officials with limited judicial authority within aparticular geographic area. (p. 208)Missouri Plan- a method of selecting judges that combines appointment and election. (p. 217)Nonpartisan elections – elections in which candidates are presented on the ballot withoutany party affiliation. (p. 217)Opinions – written statements by the judges expressing the reasons for the court’sdecision in a case. (p. 207)Oral arguments – the verbal arguments presented in person by attorneys to an appellatecourt. (p. 214)Partisan elections – elections in which candidates are affiliated with and receive supportfrom political parties. (p. 217)Problem-Solving Courts – lower courts that have jurisdiction over one specific area of criminal activity, such as illegal drugs or domestic violence. (p. 208)Public defenders – court-appointed attorneys who are paid by the state to representdefendants who are unable to hire private counsel. (p. 224)Public prosecutor – an individual, acting as trial lawyer, who initiates and conduct casesin the government’s name and on behalf of the people. (p. 221)Rule of four – a rule of the United States Supreme Court that the Court will not issue awrit of certiorari unless at least four justices approve of the decision to hear the case. (p. 213)Trial courts- courts in which most cases usually begin and in which questions of factare examined. (p. 206)Writ of certiorari – a request from a higher court asking a lower court for the record of acase. In essence, the request signals the higher court’s willingness to review the case. (p. 212)Assignments1. Research the due process and crime control function of the court. Prepare a discussion. Explain the purpose of the due process and crime control function. Discuss why many say that these two functions conflict with one another. Which function is more important? Explain your answer. (LO 1)2. Watch the BBC documentary about Amanda Knox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS9PtoLiM4M. In a paper describe the crime, evidence, and criminal proceedings to this point. Amanda Knox is currently waiting for a judgment from Italy’s highest court. If they find that her conviction was correct, should the U.S. extradite her to Italy? If yes, why? If not, why not? Discuss the political consequences of a decision not to extradite her. (LO 2)3. Research drug courts and how they work. Prepare a class presentation about their purpose, how they work, recidivism rates, and the criticisms. (LO 4)4. Research a recent case pertaining to the criminal justice system that was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Describe the case. What was the issue? Then, explain the decision of the court and the reasons for the decision. Prepare a class presentation including two discussion questions. (LO 5)5. Prosecutors rarely lose cases they prepare against criminal offenders and defense attorneys seldom win. Write a one page paper explaining why this occurs. Identify the benefits of having a defense attorney if, in fact, they seldom are able to establish their clients’ innocence. (LO 7-8)Answers To Critical Thinking Questions In The Text In 2010, authorities in Thailand extradited Russian citizen and alleged international arms dealer Viktor Bout to the United States. The evidence against Bout included an audio recording of a conversation he had with American agents posing as Colombian rebels. During this conversation, Bout agreed to furnish the “revolutionaries” with weapons for the purpose of killing American pilots. How does this evidence give the United States jurisdiction over Bout?ANS: The United States has extradition treaties with other countries which enables them to adjudicate people who have committed crimes on U.S. territory or against American citizens. Since the planned crime targeted U.S. citizens, the U.S. used the extradition treaty to get Bout to the U.S. and in front of a court of law. Several years ago, the United States Supreme Court “denied cert” in the case of Joel Tenenbaum, who had been ordered to pay a recording company $675,000 in fines for illegally downloading thirty-one songs using a file-sharing Web site. Tenebaum claimed that the fine was excessive and unfair. What does it mean for the Court to “deny cert”? In this instance, what might have been some reasons for the Court’s refusal to consider Tenenbaum’s case?ANS: Denying cert means that the court will not hear the case and that the original verdict stands. The court usually only hears cases that involve a “substantial federal question.” The Court may not have thought that the fine for the copyright infringement case raised such a substantial question. The United States Supreme Court does not allow its proceedings to be televised. Do you think that doing so would increase or diminish public confidence in the Court? Why or why not?ANS: Some people argue that the lawyers would use the “stage” for self-promotion. Another argument is that the clips would be taken out of context, but that is also a concern for any other televised proceedings, such as those of congress. I think allowing the public to view the Court in session would increase the confidence in the Court because people may be better able understand the decisions. The public would be able to get more facts on a specific case, such as healthcare. Prosecutors cannot face civil lawsuits for misconduct, even if they have deliberately sent an innocent person to prison. In practical terms, why do you think prosecutors are protected in this manner? Do you agree with a policy of blanket immunity for prosecutors? Explain your answers.ANS: Prosecutors are protected from civil lawsuits to ensure their ability to bring charges against criminals without the fear of being sued. Theoretically, if people were able to sue prosecutors then every person who is found “not guilty” would have a strong case. The prosecutor would be in civil court often and probably broke. There would be very few people who would be willing to become prosecutors. Government agencies can charge fees for “free” legal counsel when the fees will not impose a “significant legal hardship” on the defendant. Why might this practice go against the Supreme Court’s ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright (see page 224)?ANS: In Gideon the Court ruled that defendants who would suffer “substantial hardship” if they had to pay their defense attorney should receive free counsel. To impose a fee on such defendant’s may result in substantial financial hardship. The Court did not focus specifically on legal hardship, but all hardship. Thus, basing a decision to charge a fee on legal hardship is not in congruence with the Gideon decision.