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Unformatted text preview: 10/16 Courts and Adjudication Structure of Courts 3 Levels Trial Courts of limited jurisdiction- • Misdemeanors and cases involving small amounts of money Trial Courts of general jurisdiction- • Full range of felony cases and other civil Appellate Courts • Review court decisions and hear appeals of lower courts • One cannot appeal simply because he/she does not like the result Function of Courts Adversary Process Used by both state and federal courts Each side represents clients best interests Judge enforces rules but does not advocate Inquisitorial Process Used by most every other country in the world Judge takes an active role in questioning Functions of the Judge Adjudicator- assumes neutrality Negotiator- helps mediate between prosecuting and defense (plea bargains) Administrator- managing trial schedule and courthouse The Prosecutorial System Prosecuting (state/district) attorneys- The legal, elected representative of “the people” Make decision to pursue charges, which charges and sentence recommendations Prosecutorial Discretion Limitless authority over who to pursue and what, if any, charges to file • Michael Vick, Jena 6, Duke Lacrosse Prosecutor’s Roles Trial counsel for the police House counsel for the police Representative of the court Elected official United States Attorneys One U.S. attorney per U.S. district (94) Represent the federal government Attorney General (nation’s top lawyer) Peter D. Keisler The Defense Attorney The lawyer who represents the accused Must have knowledge of law, procedure, and investigation Counsel for Indigents (poor people) Assigned counsel- the court appoints a private attorney Most famous case precedent requiring counsel for indigents: Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) • Problems: ♦ Lawyers donating to judges reelections ♦ Bias of the judge in the case Contract Counsel Attorneys provide legal services for a set determined fee • Problems ♦ Case overload ♦ “Lowest bidder” Public Defenders Full or part time (public or private) salaried attorney • Problems ♦ Case overload The Courtroom Workgroup Local legal culture Shared norms and values about how cases should be handled Going rate Shared view of the appropriate sentence 10/18 Pretrial Procedures After Arrest Accuse is booked at the police station Not always a smooth process Within 48 hours after booking taken to court for his/her initial hearing Initial Hearing Judge confirms that there is a probable cause for the arrest No probable cause, the accused goes free Charges read to the accused Accused informed of his/her rights Determine if the accused is indigent Indigent does not mean total destitution The state has an obligation to provide counsel Judge sets bail (if appropriate) After the initial hearing, the accused gets “arraigned” in court...
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- Spring '08
- Political Science