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Judiciary, Rights and Basic Principles

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There are two court systems which are federal and state. The court that has the jurisdiction over a case can make the only legally binding decisions in a case. Criminal cases can be tried in both federal and state jurisdictions and not fall under double jeopardy because these cases fall under dual sovereignty. We learned the difference between jurisdiction and venue. Jurisdiction is the court that is able to hear a crime and is determined by the law. Jurisdiction can’t be changed except by the law. Venue is the place that the crime is actually tried in court and determined by where the crime was committed. Defendants and the defense team can ask for a change of venue which happens when there is a lot of publicity in the trial or sometimes when either party has strong ties to the community.

There are four basic sources of rights which are federal and state, statutes, case law, and court rule. The constitution includes the most important which are the bill of rights that make up the first ten amendments in the constitution. The bill of rights includes the minimum rights that a defendant has a right too while facing charges. The Fifth Amendment is important in this chapter because it includes the law of double jeopardy, stating that a person cannot be charged for the same crime twice. In addition to the first ten amendments the fourteenth amendment is the right to due process which is equally important when dealing with a criminal case. Statutory law states that federal and state law may cover the same laws. This is a little complicated to understand but it basically means that state police may follow their state’s law but in addition must follow the federal laws. Case law refers to the laws that are written down and represented by a code of law or conduct. The differences in case and common law are that case law may evolve over time to adjust to societal change but common law always stays the same. The last form of basic right laws are court rules. This was also hard to understand but boils down to federal courts being able to add detail to laws that states have made but unable to take away laws in which they have made.

The final thing that was covered in chapter one was the Supreme Court and the incorporation controversy. The controversy is whether Bill of Right protects against violations by state officials, federal officials, or both. This controversy started with the interpretation of the due process clause over time. There are four types of incorporation in which the clause is interpreted. The first, selective incorporation refers to the inclusion of only fundamental rights. Total incorporation is the inclusion of the entire Bill of Rights while total incorporation plus is the inclusion of the total Bill of Rights in addition to clean air, water, and environment. Lastly, case-by-case incorporation is the inclusion on a case-by-case basis.

Overview: In chapter two, we learned about the different procedures and the overall criminal justice process. The three stages used in processing the defendants are before, during, and after trial. Before trial, a complaint is made and the suspect is arrested. The two types of arrest include with and without a warrant. For less serious crimes, a summons or citation is issued while more serious crimes, a bench warrant is issued. Next, a booking happens which places the suspect’s name, time of arrest and offense committed into a police blotter. Next, Miranda warnings are read, bail is set, and the preliminary hearing, which is held in a reasonable amount of time after the arrest, happens. Next, the decision to charge using indictment versus information happens. Information is filed with the prosecutor and doesn’t require a grand jury. Indictment requires a motion filed with the grand jury. The arraignment is next and includes the reading of charges to the accused as well as the plea by the defendant. At this time the defendant is sometimes offered a plea bargain, where they can plead to a lesser charge, or a lower sentence. If a plea bargain doesn’t happen, it is time to move to the trial.

During the trial, the selection of jurors happens. The defense and the prosecution are given a chance to excuse the jurors they feel will have a bias toward the case using challenge for cause. They can also ask for dismissal using peremptory challenge without reason. It is important to note that you may not dismiss on the basis of race or sexual orientation. Next, opening statements by both the prosecution and defense followed by presentation from the prosecution. This involved examination, cross examination, then redirect examinations by both the prosecution and defense. Next, presentation from the defense happens and rebuttal evidence is presented to destroy the likelihood of an innocent verdict. Closing arguments are followed by a defense motion is applicable. This can include a motion for acquittal if there is enough evidence to charge or a directed of verdict of acquittal if there isn’t enough evidence to convict. Next, the jury deliberates and the verdict is read. This part sounds simple, but can take days. There are times when the jury can not make a decision based on the evidence they are given. In these cases, a mistrial can be granted or a new trial granted. Finally, the after trial step can happen.

After the defendant has been convicted and sentencing happens, there is still the last step, which is after trial procedures. After the defendant is sentences, the imposition of sentence happens where the sentence is carried out. During this time, the defense may decide to appeal or take the case to a higher court. Usually the defense team has thirty days to decide on whether or not the defendant will appeal or carry out the sentence. After the defense appeals, the court of appeals does have the right to either accept the appeal, affirm the appeal, or reverse and remand the appeal which happens when the lower court’s decision is revered and they will hear further arguments on the case.

In week 1 we discussed what criminal procedure was and looked at a case to determine who would have jurisdiction over the case. Criminal procedure is the rule of laws that are over the criminal justice system to protect an individual that is accused of a crime. The criminal procedure is governed by the bill of rights and safeguards against poor treatments of suspected criminals. Basically, criminal procedure enforces the constitutional rights of any individual during the criminal process. I’m putting this in this section because I think that it will be helpful later. I think this week was more struggles than successes, it has been a crazy week and hopefully next one will get better and it won’t be as difficult.

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