Introduction - Houston Community College

Introduction - Houston Community College

Courts and Criminal Justice in America CHAPTER 1 Legal Foundations Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Introduction

Courts serve as an agency of social control What is fair? What is just? Who should be punished, for how long, for what? Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Courts and Their Importance Courts in American Government Civil courts resolve disputes between

private parties Criminal courts try suspected offenders Serve as a mechanism by which society expresses its established social norms Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Courts and Their Importance Why Government Courts? Tribal civilizations resolved disputes informally and privately Greek city-states and Roman Empire

made law enforcement and public affair Lead to creation of formalized courts and other criminal justice institutions Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Courts and Their Importance Dual Court System Separates federal and state court systems Federalism- power is constitutionally divided

between a central governing body and various constituent units In the U.S., federalism gives the states power to make their own laws Cooperative federalism- lines between federal and state power are blurred Dual Court Systems can promote complication and confusion Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Courts and Their Importance

Main Functions of the Court System Upholding the law Police arrest people for violating criminal codes Prosecutors decide which arrestees to charge Courts determine if arrestees should answer for their actions Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Courts and Their Importance Protecting Individuals

Presumptions exist to ensure protection for everyone who comes before the courts Resolving disputes Courts are agencies of dispute resolution Most fall into either civil or criminal categories Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Courts and Their Importance Reinforcing social norms

Informal and often unspoken rules concerning standards of behavior. Can send a message about the types of behavior society is willing to tolerate (e.g. Michael Vick) Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Legal Basis for the Courts Early Legal Codes Code of Hammaurabi Eye for an eye philosophy

Roman law and the Twelve Tables First secular written legal code Strong element of retributive justice Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Legal Basis for the Courts Signified the emergence of formalized law Law generally refers to formal rules,

principles and guidelines enforced by political authority Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Legal Basis for the Courts The Common Law and Precedent Precedent is a prior action that guides current action Ensured continuity and predictability Can change as times change

Stare Decisis to stand by things decided Formal practice of adhering to precedent (e.g. Legality of abortion and Roe v. Wade) Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Legal Basis for the Courts Why Common Law? Emerged when legal codes were in their infancy Judges issued decisions without formal

statutes to criminalize certain forms of conduct Laws needed explanations, clarification, and modifications from time to time Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Legal Basis for the Courts Other Sources of Law Modern Legal Codes Exist at different levels of government and come

in several different forms Prohibit conduct considered criminal Provide important rights, e.g. Minimum wage laws provide individuals the right to a specific wage Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Legal Basis for the Courts Administrative Regulations Rules publicized by government agencies that have been given their authority by the

executive or legislative branch Eases the burden on the executive or legislative branch Permits agencies to adapt and change as new laws are passed (E.g. The Internal Revenue Service determines what is a legitimate tax deduction) Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Legal Basis for the Courts Constitutions

Perhaps the most significant source of law Generally do not prohibit actions of private citizens Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Legal Basis for the Courts Can place limits on government authority Define government structure and organization

Determine how government officials will be selected Determines the roles of various government branches Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Legal Basis for the Courts The Role of the Courts in Criminal Justice Today Adjudication: determines who is and is not guilty

Ensure lower courts applied the law correctly Oversight: oversees operations of criminal justice officials (e.g. police officers) Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals Presumptions A presumption is a fact assumed to be true under law

Conclusive presumptions Rebuttable presumptions Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals Presumption of Innocence Every person charged with a crime is assumed, in advance, to be innocent Both a presumption of law and a rebuttable presumption

Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals Box 1-1: Common Presumptions Presumption of sanity. All defendants are presumed sane; the burden falls on the defense to prove otherwise. Presumption of death. It is presumed that a person who has disappeared and is continually absent from his or her customary location (usually after seven years) is dead.

Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals Presumption against suicide. It is assumed that when a person dies, the cause is not suicide. Presumption of a guilty mind following possession of the fruits of crime. The jury can usually infer guilt if a person is caught red-handed with the fruits of crime.

Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals Presumption of knowledge of the law. Ignorance is not a defense to criminal liability. Presumption of the regularity of official acts. It is assumed, for example, that a proper chain of custody exists, unless the defense can show otherwise. Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition

Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals Presumption that young children cannot commit crimes. Some states presume that children under a certain threshold age (e.g., age seven) cannot form criminal intent and thus cannot commit crime. Presumption that people intend the results of their voluntary actions. If a person voluntarily shoots another, the jury can presume the shooter intended

to do so. Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals Constitutional Rights Help ensure that people accused of criminal activity are not rushed to judgment and treated unfairly Constitutional rights protect everyone in this countryEven non-citizens enjoy the same protection as U.S. citizens

Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals The Bill of Rights four constitutions most relevant in the criminal justice context The Fourth Amendment Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure; requirements guiding the warrant process Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition

Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals The Fifth Amendment Grand juries are necessary Protection against self-incrimination and double jeopardy The Sixth Amendment The right to a speedy and public trial, impartial juries, compulsory process and counsel

Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals The Eighth Amendment Protection against cruel and unusual punishment Protection against unreasonable bail Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc.

All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals Constitutional Rights Due Process Fourteenth Amendment: nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without any due process of law Substantive due process: Protecting substantive rights Procedural due process: Concerned with ensuring fairness Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall

Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Protection of Individuals The Adversarial System Two competing sets of interests The defendant and the government Adversarialism promotes argument, debate and openness Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys are not mortal enemies Often work together on a routine basis Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall

Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Types of Disputes Civil Law and Procedure Nature and Substance of Civil Law Courts determine a parties legal rights and then settle on appropriate remedies (monetary damages, injunctive relief) Categories of Civil Law Tort law, contract law, property law, law of succession, family law Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition

Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Types of Disputes Criminal Law What is a Crime? A crime is any action that violates a statute duly enacted by the proper authority An offense against society, as opposed to against an individual Criminal law does not necessarily define all actions that are most harmful to individuals or society

Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Types of Disputes Categories of Crime Felonies serious offenses; generally punished with at least one year of incarceration Misdemeanors less serious; little or no incarceration Infractions least serious; usually violations of state statutes or local ordinances and punished by fines or

other penalties (no incarceration) Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved Types of Disputes The Elements of Crime Corpus delicti, the body of crime Actus reus, the criminal act Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc.

All Rights Reserved Types of Disputes Mens rea, degree of intent on the offenders part Specific Intent specify the type of intent needed for a guilty verdict General Intent does not specify what intent is necessary Negligence is a failure to use reasonable care or caution Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc.

All Rights Reserved Types of Disputes Criminal Defenses Justification defenses take responsibility for the criminal act but argue it was justified under the circumstances (e.g. self-defense) Excuse defenses defendants admit wrongdoing, but claim they were not responsible for the crime (e.g. insanity pleas, diminished capacity, age, duress, etc.) Courts and Criminal Justice in America, 2nd Edition Siegel | Schmalleger | Worrall

Copyright 2015 by Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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