4. Supreme Court decisions a) Like all appellate courts, the Supreme Court normally does not hear any evidence. The Court’s decision in a particular case is based on the written record of the case and the written arguments (briefs) that the attorneys submit. b) The attorneys also present oral arguments. c) The opinion outlines the reasons for the Court’s decision, the rules of law that apply, and the decision. d) Concurring opinion - Often, one or more justices who agree with the Court’s decision may do so for different reasons than those outlined in the majority opinion. e) Dissenting opinions – If one or more justices disagree with the Court’s conclusion, these justices may write dissenting opinions outlining the reasons why they feel the majority erred. V. How do judges function in the criminal justice system? 6
Lesson Objective 1: Define jurisdiction and contrast geographic and subject-matter jurisdiction Lesson Objective 2: Explain the difference between trial and appellate courts Lesson Objective 3: Explain briefly how a case is brought to the Supreme Court Lesson Objective 4: List the different names given to public prosecutors and indicate the general powers that they have A. The roles and responsibilities of trial judges 1. One of the reasons that judicial integrity is considered so important is the amount of discretionary power a judge has over the court proceedings. a) Before the trial judges determine the following: a. Whether there is sufficient probable cause to issue a search or arrest warrant, or to authorize electronic surveillance of a suspect. b. Whether enough evidence exists to justify the temporary incarceration of a suspect. c. Whether a defendant should be released on bail, and if so, the amount of the bail. d. Whether to accept pretrial motions by prosecutors and defense attorneys. e. Whether to accept a plea bargain. b) During these pretrial activities, the judge takes on the role of the negotiator. 2. During the trial a) When the trial starts, the judge takes on the role of referee, where she or he is responsible for seeing that the trial unfolds according to the dictates of the law and that the participants in the trial do not overstep any legal or ethical bounds. b) The judge is expected to be neutral, determining the admissibility of testimony and evidence on a completely objective basis. c) The judge also acts as a teacher during the trial, explaining points of law to the jury. 3. The administrative role a) Judges are also administrators, as each courtroom has a docket, or calendar of cases, and it is the judge’s responsibility to keep the docket current and to keep track of the immense paperwork generated by each case and manage the various employees of the court. B. Selection of judges 1. Partisan elections are elections in which candidates are affiliated with and receive support from political parties.
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- Fall '17
- GEORGE WEISSINGER
- Supreme Court of the United States, United States Supreme Court, Trial court