Criminal Courts: Structure, Process, and Issues / Edition 1

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Concise synopsis of history of American courts, featuring judicial system and key courtroom actors
Up-to-date box materials supplementing text, featuring key issues and relevant themes of different aspects of court procedures
Comprehensive discussion of pretrial procedures, motions, bases for appeals, and alternatives to criminal prosecution, including alternative dispute resolution, pretrial diversion, and restorative justice
Extensive coverage and comparison of state and federal court systems
Comprehensive discussion of juvenile courts, juvenile rights, and the juvenile justice process
Detailed discussion of key courtroom actors, including prosecutors, defense counsels, and judges, and how each are elected or appointed
Comprehensive discussion of plea bargaining, plea bargaining controversies and ethical considerations, and plea bargaining bans in different jurisdictions
Complete discussion of jury system in United States, including jury selection, jury deliberations, and jury issues, including jury nullification, use of jury consultants, and juror misconduct
Complete discussion of the trial process, including opening and closing arguments, examination and cross-examination, and other aspects of presentation of testimony and evidence
Comprehensive discussion of American courts, their interplay with the media, and how the media have changed courtroom procedures
Extensive discussion of key federal and state cases concerning court actions and defendant rights
Discussion of major sentencing systems, including indeterminate, determinate,mandatory, and guidelines-based or presumptive sentencing
Ancillaries include test bank, comprehensive glossary, and bibliography
Questions for review at chapter ends, including listings of key terms
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780137803880
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 7.16 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Dean John Champion is Professor of Criminal Justice, Texas A & M International University; Laredo, Texas. Dr. Champion has taught at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, California State University-Long Beach, and Minot State University. He earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University and B.S. and M.A. degrees from Brigham Young University. He also completed several years of law school at the Nashville School of Law.
Dr. Champion has written over 35 texts and/or edited works and maintains memberships in eleven professional organizations. He is a lifetime member of the American Society of Criminology, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the American Sociological Association. He is a former editor of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences/Anderson Publishing Company Series on Issues in Crime and Justice and the Journal of Crime and Justice. He is a contributing author for the Encarta Encyclopedia 2000 for Microsoft. He has been a Visiting Scholar for the National Center for Juvenile Justice and is a former president of the Midwestern Criminal Justice Association. He has also designed and/or offered numerous online courses for the University of Phoenix, Excelsior University, and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
Among his published books for Prentice-Hall include Administration of Criminal Justice: Structure, Function, and Process (2003); Basic Statistics for Social Research (1970, 1981); Research Methods for Criminal Justice and Criminology 3/e (1993, 2000, 2006); The Juvenile Justice System: Delinquency, Processing, and the Law 4/e (1992, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007 forthcoming);Corrections in the United States: A Contemporary Perspective 4/e (1990, 1998, 2001, 2005); Probation, Parole, and Community Corrections 5/e (1990, 1996, 1999, 2005); Policing in the Community (w/George Rush) (1996); and The Administration of Justice Systems (2001). Dr. Champion's specialty interests include juvenile justice, criminal justice administration, corrections, and statistics/methods.
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Table of Contents

Preface xiii
Chapter 1 Law: The Legal Battlefield 1
Introduction 2
What Is Law? 3
The Functions of Law 4
The Evolution of Disputes 6
Types of Law 7
Sociolegal Perspectives and the Law 14
Chapter 2 The Structure of American Courts 23
Introduction 23
Classifying America's Courts 24
Federal Court Structure 26
State Court Structure 30
Chapter 3 The Prosecution 41
Introduction 42
The Adversary System 43
The Prosecution 44
Chapter 4 The Defense 61
Introduction 64
On Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility 64
The Right to Counsel 66
The Right to a Trial by Jury 71
The Defense 73
Interactions between Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys 82
The Discovery Process 83
Defense Attorneys and Their Defenses for Criminal Conduct 87
Chapter 5 Judges 97
Introduction 100
Judges and Their Qualifications 100
Judicial Training 135
Judicial Misconduct and Abuses of Discretion 136
Criticisms of Judges 137
Removing Judges from Office 142
Chapter 6 Juries 155
Introduction 156
The History of Juries 156
The Development of the Grand Jury 157
The Development of the Petit Jury 157
The Jury Selection Process 158
The Elimination of Jurors 161
Jury Consultants and Scientific Jury Selection 163
Jury Size 167
Jury Sequestration 170
Jury Decision Making and Voting 172
Jury Verdicts 173
Jury Nullification 175
Jury and Juror Misconduct 178
Chapter 7 Pretrial Procedures: Initial Appearance, Bail Decision Making, and Alternative Dispute Resolution 185
Introduction 186
Arrest and Booking 187
Initial Appearance 187
The Right to Bail 189
Bail Bondsmen and Bonding Companies 190
Competing Goals of Bail 191
Other Forms of Pretrial Release 193
Bounty Hunters 196
Decriminalization, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), and Diversion 198
Impartial Arbiters and Their Qualifications 202
Victim Participation and Input 202
Pretrial Diversion 203
Other Noncriminal or Criminal Sanctions 205
Chapter 8 Pretrial Procedures: Plea Bargaining 213
Introduction 215
Plea Bargaining: Negotiated Guilty Pleas 215
Types of Plea Bargaining 225
The Pros and Cons of Plea Bargaining 233
Why Is Plea Bargaining Banned in Some Jurisdictions? 244
Judicial Instructions for Accepting Guilty Pleas and Rights Waivers 245
Sentencing Systems and Plea Bargaining 249
Chapter 9 Trial Process and Procedures 253
Introduction 257
Bench Trials and Jury Trials Contrasted 257
The Trial Process 260
Jury Deliberations 275
The Verdict and Its Aftermath 280
Chapter 10 Sentencing and Appeals 285
Introduction 286
Functions and Goals of Sentencing 287
Forms of Sentencing 289
Habitual Offender Statutes and Truth in Sentencing 296
The Sentencing Hearing 303
The Presentence Investigation Report: Contents and Functions 305
Imposing the Sentence 311
Shock Probation and Split Sentencing 311
The Death Penalty and Bifurcated Trials 313
Appeals of Sentences 314
Chapter 11 Juvenile Courts, Juvenile Rights, and Processing 331
The Juvenile Justice System 333
Delinquency, Juvenile Delinquents, and Status Offenders 334
The Jurisdiction of Juvenile Courts 338
Variations in Criminal and Juvenile Court Processing 341
Juvenile Court History 341
The Juvenile Justice Process 343
Adjudicatory Proceedings 345
Transfers, Waivers, and Certifications 355
Criminal Court Processing of Juvenile Offenders 361
Juvenile Rights and Standards of Proof 363
Blended Sentencing Statutes and the Get-Tough Movement 366
Trends and Implications for Juvenile Offenders 371
Chapter 12 Courts, Media, and the Litigation Explosion 377
Introduction 379
Trials and the Court of Public Opinion 382
History of Media and the Courts 383
Current Status of Media Access to the Courts 386
Pretrial Publicity 387
What Types of Information Do Potential Jurors Consider Prejudicial? 389
How to Minimize the Effects of Pretrial Publicity 390
The Litigation Explosion 393
Torts 396
Arguments for Tort Reform 398
Glossary 405
References 439
Index 473
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Criminal Courts: Structure, Process, and Issues is about processing criminal offenders from the point when they are arrested and charged with crimes. This book provides a comprehensive examination of the trial process by which their guilt or innocence is ascertained by a judge or a jury.

The book begins with an examination of law and its social and political origins. Law is as ancient as time itself. Despite the different eras into which scholars have divided world history, the pervasiveness and continuity of law are apparent. Laws have always existed in one form or another, largely intended to fulfill the same general purposes regardless of the culture. The major functions of law are social control, dispute resolution, and social change. Over time, technology has changed and social ideas have evolved that have contributed to how people orient themselves to others. Whether through verbal traditions passed from one generation to another in simple societies or in lengthy compendia in more complex social systems, the primary objectives of law have remained constant over time.

Laws can be differentiated according to whether they pertain to civil or criminal matters. Statements about what the law says and how people should comport themselves in the company of others have to do with substantive law. In less complex social systems, substantive law tended to be espoused by the courts in the form of common law. Common law is traditional, dependent on the particular needs and desires of groups of people living together. As social systems have become increasingly complex, more elaborate legal schemes and more formal mechanisms have been devised to maintain the social order andregulate human conduct. How the law should be applied is the province of procedural law. In the United States, one of the world's most complex legal systems has been contrived. Today, there are all types of laws pertaining to different aspects of our society. These laws are either civil or criminal, and a whole body of law focuses on administrative law.

It is a legal reality that applications of the law from the beginning of time have favored particular interests over others. Some people believe that our laws have been created to preserve the status quo for those who possess political and economic power. Thus, there are inherent disparities wherever applications of the law are implemented. Historically, those suffering most from legal disparities have been women, children, and minorities. In recent decades, sociolegal movements have prompted substantial social changes in response to disparate treatment of minorities and women in the courts. From these movements, different types of sociological jurisprudence, legal realism, critical legal studies, and feminist legal theories have emerged.

Understanding the laws of the United States begins with a critical examination and description of the dual court system in this country. The principal components of the dual court system are federal and state court apparatuses. Chapter 2 describes federal and state court organization and various functions of these different types of courts. There are diverse court systems, and there is little continuity across states concerning what these different courts should be called. We do not have a universal nomenclature that can be applied to all state and local courts at various levels. However, there is considerable continuity within the federal court system. Federal and state court jurisdictions are distinguished, and the processes and functions of different types of courts are described and discussed.

The court work group consists of the same types of actors in both federal and state jurisdictions. The government has created a prosecutorial system that enforces the laws passed by the different legislatures. Whenever one or more of these laws are violated, prosecutors at the state or federal level act against alleged offenders to bring them to justice. Thus, Chapters 3 and 4 examine prosecutors and defense counsels in some detail, identifying their principal functions and duties. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights have vested all citizens with particular rights to ensure that they will be treated equally under the law. All those who are charged with a criminal offense are entitled to counsel if they are obligated to appear in court to answer criminal charges. Under particular circumstances, anyone may enjoy the right to a jury trial by one's peers. The roles and functions of both prosecutors and defense counsels are examined and discussed.

The most important actor in the court system is the judge. Judges, as discussed in Chapter 5, oversee all court proceedings and make important decisions. There are several types of systems used for judicial selection, and these systems are described. Although legal backgrounds are strongly recommended for those functioning as judges, it is not necessarily true that all judges have legal training or experience. Thus, different methods for selecting judges are explained, together with the weaknesses and strengths of these methods. Merit selection of judges seems to be favored in many jurisdictions, although often the best judges do not gravitate into these important posts. A segment of the judiciary clearly lacks the qualifications and commitment to make good decisions. Some judges are corrupt and commit deliberate acts that call their integrity into question. Judicial misconduct of various kinds is described, and some of the remedies available to the public for recalling bad judges are examined.

At the heart of the legal system is the jury process, the topic of Chapter 6. Juries are made up of individuals from the general population. Methods of jury selection vary greatly among jurisdictions. In fact, juries account for only about ten percent of all criminal cases that are pursued. Nevertheless, the jury process and how jurors are selected to judge the conduct of others are quite important. Both prosecutors and defense counsel conduct voir dires or oral questioning of prospective juries from a list of veniremen or a venire. Sometimes experts are used as consultants, because some people believe that jury selection can enhance the chances of a conviction or an acquittal. Various methods for discharging prospective jurors are examined, including challenges for cause and peremptory challenges. Various standards among the states and the federal system are described to show the different criteria applied for determining the appropriate jury size and the process of jury decision making. The decision-making process of juries is examined in some detail, and the important topics of jury nullification and juror misconduct are explored.

Chapter 7 deals with pretrial procedures. Not all those charged with crimes are ultimately processed by the criminal justice system. Some are diverted to civil courts or into civil dispute-resolution programs, where their cases can be concluded in noncriminal ways. Victims and offenders are often brought together in alternative dispute-resolution actions, in which victim compensation and restorative justice are sought as remedies for wrongdoing. For those who are eventually prosecuted criminally for violating the law, the arrest and booking process are described. The issue of bail is discussed. In some states, various laws are being scrutinized for the purpose of decriminalizing criminal acts through legislative changes, and this process is examined.

Perhaps the most frequently used resolution strategy for criminal offenders is plea bargaining, discussed in Chapter 8. Plea bargaining is a preconviction agreement between prosecutors, defense counsels, and their clients in which guilty pleas are entered to criminal charges in exchange for some type of leniency. Plea bargaining results in a criminal conviction, but the penalties imposed are often less harsh than the penalties imposed through trial convictions. Different types of plea bargaining, as well as the pros and cons of plea bargaining, are discussed. Furthermore, some jurisdictions have abolished plea bargaining, and their reasons for doing so are examined.

The actual trial process is illustrated in Chapter 9. Those charged with crimes may undergo either bench trials, in which a judge decides the case, or jury trials. The criminal trial process is described in some detail by way of fictional scenarios that parallel some actual legal cases of the recent past. In any criminal trial, due process requires considering any defendant innocent of a crime until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard is difficult to achieve in many cases. Prosecutors who pursue criminal cases against particular suspects believe that they can convince juries of the defendant's guilt. However, the defendant is represented by counsel who attempts to show that the defendant is innocent. Various witnesses are brought forth and testify, either for or against particular defendants. Some of these witnesses are eyewitnesses; others are expert witnesses who testify about the quality and significance of collected evidence. Juries deliberate and decide defendants' guilt or innocence.

Chapter 10 deals with sentencing and appeals. If the decision is a guilty verdict, then the offender undergoes a sentencing hearing. Sentencing hearings are conducted by trial judges and are, to some extent, replays of the court case originally presented. However, sentencing hearings permit victims or relatives of victims to make victim impact statements in either verbal or written form. Others testify on behalf of defendants. Judges are the final arbiters and impose different sentences, depending on the seriousness of the crime, the offender's prior record, and other factors. The several types of sentencing systems used by U.S. courts today are discussed in some detail, together with their implications for the early release of sentenced offenders. In the event that convicted offenders are dissatisfied with the verdict, they are entitled to appeal their cases to higher courts. The appellate process is discussed. Featured are death penalty cases, which are always automatically appealed. The appeals process is especially lengthy, and even those who are sentenced to death in states with capital punishment laws may not be executed for ten or more years.

A parallel system of justice exists for juvenile offenders. Chapter 11 examines the juvenile justice system in detail, with particular emphasis on how the juvenile court system is structured and operated. A different language applies to juvenile processing, and various comparisons are made between the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Several landmark juvenile cases are cited in which the U.S. Supreme Court has granted certain constitutional rights. Over time, juvenile courts have taken on the characteristics of criminal courts. Some people believe that in several years the juvenile court may be abolished in favor of a unified court for both juveniles and adults.

Chapter 12 examines the influence of the media on the court process. As society has become increasingly complex in a technological sense, more information is delivered to more people through different media, such as television and the Internet. At the same time that people have been increasingly exposed to what goes on in the courtroom, there has been a major litigation explosion, with increasing numbers of lawsuits filed. A very litigious society has evolved. One reason for the increase in litigation is the publicity derived from courtroom coverage by the media and the sensationalization of particular cases. Media in the courtroom are explored in this chapter, and the pros and cons of media coverage are examined in terms of how public opinion is shaped.

Ancillaries and desirable features of this book include numerous questions at chapter ends for review. Key terms are boldfaced throughout the text and listed at chapter ends, and the back of the book contains a comprehensive glossary of these and other terms. Suggested readings accompany each chapter so that those interested in learning more about particular subjects can locate further reading for their edification and education. An up-to-date bibliography of both research publications and legal cases is also provided at the back of the book. A particularly interesting feature is the liberal use throughout each chapter of interesting vignettes adapted from local newspapers that feature stories and events that complement the text itself. These boxes often show criminal justice in action, and real people and events are described. They are intended to heighten student interest in learning more about the court system.

An instructor's manual is available to professors and others. This manual contains true-false, multiple-choice, and short-answer essay test questions. The instructor's manual is available on diskette and CD-ROM for ease of use. It also lists Internet sites to enable those wishing to learn more about particular subjects to establish various Internet links and download useful information.

The two authors of this book acknowledge that the final result is the work of many persons. We wish to thank Kim Davies, our Prentice Hall Career and Technology editor, for her confidence in our ability to produce a useful text about the court system. We are also indebted to the following reviewers who made helpful suggestions and criticisms at critical points: H. Todd Locklear of Florida Metropolitan University. Dr. Roger E. Hartley of Roanoke College, Lynn Jones of the University of Scranton, Dr. Paul Katsampes of Metropolitan State College of Denver, and Dr. Tod Burke of Radford University. Finally, we wish to thank the production staff at Ohlinger Publishing in Columbus, Ohio. They have done a remarkable job of fashioning this project to enhance student interest and use.

Gary A. Rabe
Minot State University

Dean J. Champion
Texas A &M International University

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