Mid-Term 2 Paper - POSC 472 Dr Fiber Mid-Term two Due to...

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POSC 472 Dr. Fiber Mid-Term two Due to the complexity of modern times, we have created laws to protect our rights, but these laws can be turned against us if we are ever charged with a crime. When charged with a crime we are entered into the justice system, it is up to the judge and jury, to reach a decision based on presentations and arguments made by the prosecutor, and a representative of the defendant. The decision ultimately lies to the judge to decide whether an argument is admissible in court or it is to be denied a motion, this in turn aids the jury their deliberations. The sole record of the jury’s deliberative process is the verdict itself. This is true for trial courts but this paper will be focusing on appellate courts where there is no jury. “It is up to the judge alone to determine which side has made the better case.” (Murphy et al, pg. 620) This leads to the concept of judicial reasoning; “judicial reasoning is not like the formal logic of the philosopher”. (Murphy et al, pg 617) This means that there is not one set way to handle cases, every case presents unique challenges that judges need to understand and overcome. A major player in reasoning for judges is the concept of personal values. “They [the judge] leave room for play of personal values, including moral judgments, philosophies of law, concepts of proper judicial functions, weights of probable effects of a decision and perceptions of the political environment and likely reactions of other actions”. (Murphy et al, pg. 617) It is the duty of the judge to set aside his or her own political and personal views to allow the defendant to have a fair trial uninfluenced by outside sources. According to research, this concept is a “long shot” to say the least, as humans we cannot help but become personally involved in what we are
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doing and let our emotions get the better of us. “In a comprehensive study of state judges of Iowa James L. Gibson found that their [the judges] political attitudes (which he derived from personal interviews) did not provide a very good prediction of their sentencing decisions. Only when Gibson considered the role orientations of these judges did political attitudes exert any influence. Judges who believe that their own values and attitudes are legitimate criteria for decision-making are in fact strongly influenced by those values and attitudes and reach sentencing outcomes accordingly; judges who believe that it is improper to consider their own preferences fail to take them into account when making fair decisions. This finding led Gibson to conclude that the role orientation may not predict judicial behavior but do “predict the criteria” of decisions”. (Murphy et al, pg. 618) This is not to say that the problem of biases lies only with their political, and moral views, it also lies with their concept of the community, which is known as localism. Localism can be loosely described as the concept of local opinions to what is right and what is wrong, a concretive community might not have the same opinion of a
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Mid-Term 2 Paper - POSC 472 Dr Fiber Mid-Term two Due to...

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