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cj exam 3


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administrative context of sentencing
  • organizational constraint
  • community values
Appellate Court of Last Resort (supreme court,             supreme court of appeals, court of appeals)
can choose which cases will be heard    
same as bail, except money is being put up by a             licensed agency (like a loan) for a collateral and a             promise to return to court
charging (prosecutors)
  • asses arrests
  • determine if the state would persue the case or not
  • wide discretion= single/multiple charges ect.
Courts of General Jurisdiction
    =try and decide on all cases, civil and criminal
•    mostly serious offenses (felonies)
•    appeals from lower courts
•    judges and lawyers

Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
•    =inferior or lower courts
•    =conduct summary trials (without a jury) on minor             offenses; misdemeanors (e.g. traffic violations,     
determinate sentencing
  • time to serve is fixed
  • after specified time, has to be released even without review by parole board
Deterrence (utilitarianism)
  • forward looking (jeremy bentham
  • all suffering is evil
  • punishment is suffering and evil
  • modify behavior of criminal


a) Plea Bargaining
   * practiced in 80-90% of cases not                     rejected by prosecutors    

b) dismissal     

District Courts
comparable to the general trial courts                       *violations of regulatory codes (made by              
enforcing law (prosecutors)
  • vigorously bring the states case against the accused
  • obligated to sort out evidence of guilt
  • justice to be done- not who would win case
evidential considerations
  • does it warrant court time
  • will case hold up with judge
  • finding elements of the crime
Federal courts
-violate laws of the national government.
•    violation of U.S. criminal code

federal judges- selection
  • appointed by the president of teh US and confirmed by the senate
  • was originally for supreme court justices
  • applied to the rest of federal judges in judiciary act of 1789
  • positions for life
good time
time taken off of sentence for good behavior

sufficiency of evidence or admissability of evidence

can reverse jury decisions 

  • holding a person in jai/prison to prevent him or her from commiting other crimes
  • ultimate incapaciation: death penalty
  • problems: can only have so many people in jail, and can only hold people for so long
indeterminate sentencing
  • min/max set
  • discreion by correction officials to release between these time periods
  • parole board hearing every 1-3 years after min is set
  • common until the 1980s
  • used in approx 30% of convictions
  • the only punishment we use for severe offenses
Intermediate Appellate Courts (appellate court;             superior courts)
helps alleviate the burden of cases for the                 court of  last resort
  • important actors in court
  • decides on evidentary matters
judges- at trial
neutral- neither for or against a particular position or issue
judges- other duties
  • negotiations (procedings/guilty pleas)
  • administrators: especially in rural areas
judges-before trial
  • issue warrant
  • release decisions
  • final decision makers in plea bargaining
Jurisdiction of courts

*depends on the geography, subject matter, hierarchy
    *geography: by geographic boundary (countries, boroughs, city); can decide cases that cross boundries

*subject matter: pertain to specific cases:

just desserts (retribution)
  • blameworthiness of conduct: deservedness of punishment
mandatory minimum sentencing
  • raises min sentence to be served
  • usually harsher for drug related, or weapon related crimes
merit selection (missouri plan)
  • adresses criticism of elected ane appointed procedures
  • combination of elected and appointed procedure
  • gubernatorial appointment from list
  • serve one or more years until the next election where apointee must be confirmed by t
Motions (application to the court to bring about an order for a specific action)

*motion to suppress evidence

*motion to dismiss  

*motion for pretrial discovery

Nolle Prosequi
  • "refusing to prosecute"
  • not to press a charge as a whole, or as to one or more counts, or as to one or more defendants.
  • tremendous discretion
  • powers can leade to abuse
  • powers challenged but UPHELD i
organizational considerations
  • regulate caseloads based on capacity of the courts
  • provide checks and balances to police power
plea bargaining
  • pleading guilty in exchange for some type of concession (usually lesser penalty)
positive school
  • individuals are not free: products of society, biology, and economic conditions
  • conditions have to be adressed to reform individuals
  • use of indeterminate sentenceing
pragmatic considerations
  • what is political environment
  • enough resources to prosecute?
  • use of diversion program
presentence report
  • done by probation
  • background of defendants
  • give judges better sense of what ehy defendant may need
presumpitve sentencing
  • range defined by sentencing guidelines for each crime
  • often by a sentencing commission
  • judges can override
  • can be adjusted by legislature to even out disparities
Pretrial Detention (Remand)

 *does not violate due process and excessive                 bail : protects the community from danger 

 *issues:  -not allow free time to prepare for case

Pretrial Process

before trial, start after charging, at the initial appearance

=happens in the lower courts (courts of limited jurisdiction)

=Pressure to move cases as quickly as possible 

  • estimated 65% of adults in correctional institutions are on some type of probation
  • part of the rehabilitative ideal
  • tied to incarceration
profile of judges
  • overwhelminly white and male
  • avg 53 yrs old
  • half of them had own legal practices (often prosecuting attorneys)
proportionality (retribution)
  • punish only so long as the punishment is proportional to the harm inflicted by offender
  • no more, no less than deserved
  • more real power/discretion than judges
  • interact with most of the other actors in thecj process
  • criminals considered "sick"
  • need social intervention
  • conviction allows opportunity for community to get involved
represent gov in matters of law (prosecutors)
  • enforcement of state penal codes
  • assesses law breaking evidence
  • careful examination of the presence of the elements of a crime
  • punish offender for harm done
  • eye for an eye...
  • backward looking- look at crime and have person pay for it
ROR (Release on Recognizance)

started with: Manhattan Bail Project in New York (Vera Institute of Justice)            

*no money involved

  • judges responsibilty
  • many influences
sentencing guidelines
  • ofent based on criminal history and severity of offense
  • developed due to disparities in sentenceing
  • makes senencing more uniform (sex, race, ect)
State courts
-criminal/civil matters pertaining to the state
•    violations of the state penal codes

state judges-selection
  • reside in state they work in
  • typically age 25-70
  • gubernatorial appointment
  • merit selection (missouri plan)
structure: state and county
  • attorney general (prosecutor for state)
  • district attorney (for each county)--more specialized in urban areas
•    adversarial system in the United State
•    as opposed to inquisitorial system – not necessarily an assumption of innocence

truth-in sentencing
  • laws that require offenders to serve as substantial proportion of their prison senence before being released on parole
  • many states requre 85% of sentencing to be served or 2/3 of max
  • some limite or eliminate good time
U.S. Court of Appeals (Circuit courts)
don’t retry cases but look at interpretations of the law         and procedural issues
U.S. Magistrates
lesser misdemeanors; review civil rights and             habeas     corpus petitions
U.S. Supreme Court

1. general powers (original trial

2. appellate powers    * typically questions on the “constitutionality” of lower court decisions, procedures 

 3. can choose their own cases

writ of certiorari
order lower courts to forward up the records so the Supreme Court can review it

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