Terms in this set (60)
the accused is ordinarily taken to the police station, where the police list the possible criminal charges against him and obtain other info for the booking process. this may include recording a description of the suspect and circumstances of the offense. the suspect may then be fingerprinted, photographed, and required to participate in a lineup.
is usually detained by the police until it is decided whether a criminal complaint will be filed.
is a formal written document identifying the criminal charge, the date and the place where the crime occurred, and the circumstances of the arrest.
the complaint is sworn
to and signed under oath by the complainant, usually a police officer. the complaint will request that the defendant be present at an initial hearing held soon after the arrest is made.
the judge informs the defendant of the charge, ensures that the accused is properly represented by counsel, and determines whether he should be released on bail or some other form of release pending a hearing or trial.
a form of security, usually a sum of money, that is put up or exchanged to secure the release of an arrested person before trial begins.
bail was also
incorporated into the 8th amendment of the US constitution, but only insofar as it prohibits "excessive bail"
excessive bail clause may be interpreted to mean that the sole purpose of the bail is to ensure that the defendant returns for trial; bail may not be used as a form of punishment or to coerce or threaten a defendant.
US supreme court
interpretation of the 8th amendment's provision on bail was set out in 1951 case of STACK v. BOYLE. in the case, the court found bail to be a traditional right to freedom before trial that permits unhampered preparation of a defense and prevents the criminal defendant from being punished prior to conviction. the court held that bail is excessive when it exceeds an amount reasonably calculated to ensure that the defendant will return for trial.
did not establish an absolute right to bail, it did set guidelines for courts to follow: if a crime is bailable, the amount set should not be frivolous, unusual, or beyond a person's ability to pay.
full cash bail
défendant pays full amount out of pocket. in some jurisdictions, property can be pledged instead of cash.
defendant deposits a percentage of the bond with the court, usually 10%. may be returned once the defendant appears back in court
defendant pay percentage of the bond, usually 10%, to a bonding agent, who posts the full bail. not returned one defendant returns to court.
defendant is released after promising to abide by some specified conditions in lieu of cash
defendant is released with no immediate requirement of payment. however, if defendant fails to appear, he is liable for the full amount.
release on recognizance
eligible defendants are released without bail upon their promise to return for trial.
the defendant who is not eligible for bail or release on recognizance is subject to pretrial detention in the local county jail.
more than 50% of those held in local jails have been accused of crimes but not convicted
whereas bail reform efforts are typically aimed at liberalizing bail, there are also efforts to tighten bail restrictions on the most dangerous offenders. the reason is the fear that serious criminals may reoffend while in the community.
federal bail reform act of 1984
contrasted sharply with previous laws. although the act does contain provisions for ROR, it allows judges to order preventative detention if they determine "that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of any other person and the community"
United sates v salerno
ruled that the bail reform act's denial of bail to dangerous defendants did not violate the 8th amendment.
the grand jury
was an early development of English common law. under the magna carta (1215), no "freeman" could be seized and imprisoned unless he had been judged by his peers.
two roles of grand jury
1. it has the power to act as an independent investigating body. in this capacity, it examines the possibility of criminal activity within its jurisdiction. these investigative efforts are directed toward general, not individual, criminal conduct. after completing its investigation, the grand jury issues a report called a presentment, which contains its findings and (usually) a recommendation of indictment.
a written accusation charging a person with a crime. it is drawn up by a persecutor and submitted to a grand jury, which-after considering the evidence presented by the prosecutor-votes to endorse or deny the indictment.
the action by a grand jury when it votes to indict an accused suspect.
the action by a grand jury when it votes not to indict an accused suspect.
hearing before a magistrate to determine whether the government has sufficient evidence to show probable cause that the defendant committed the crime.
a formal charging document, similar to an indictment, based on probable cause as determined at a preliminary hearing.
after indictment or information is filed a grand jury or preliminary hearing, an arraignment takes place before the court that will try the case. the judge at the arraignment must make sure that the defendant clearly understands the charges.
ordinarily, a defendant in a criminal trial will enter one of three pleas: guilty, not guilty, or bolo contendere.
more than 90% of defendants appearing before the courts plead guilty prior to the trial. a guilty plea has several consequences. it functions not only as an admission of guilt but also as a surrender of the entire array of constitutional rights designed to protect a criminal defendant against unjustified conviction, including the right to remain silent, the right to confront witnesses against him, the right to trial by jury, and the right to be proved guilty by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. for a guilty plea to be valid, however, it must be both understood and voluntary.
judge must follow certain procedures when accepting a plea of guilty.
first, the judge must clearly state to the defendant the constitutional guarantees automatically waived by this plea. second, the judge must believe that the facts of the case establish a basis for the plea and that the plea is made voluntarily. third, the defendant must be informed of the right to counsel during the pleading process. the defendant may be required to allocate or admit in open court to having committed the crime. finally, the judge must inform the defendant of the possible sentencing outcomes, including the maximum sentence that can be imposed.
entered in two ways: 1. it is orally stated by the defendant or the defense counsel, or 2. it is entered for the defendant by the court when the defendant stands mute before the bench.
nolo contendere (no contest)
essentially a plea of guilty. same consequences as a guilty plea, with one exception: it may be held against the defendant as proof in a subsequent civil matter because technically no admission of guilt has been made.
a relatively recent development that took hold late in the 19th century. during the first 150 years after the nation's birth, the trial by jury was viewed as the fairest and most reliable method of determining the truth in a criminal matter.
nature of the bargain
the exchange of prosecutorial and judicial concessions for pleas of guilty. normally, a bargain can be made between the prosecutor and the defense attorney in four ways: 1. the initial charge may be reduced to those of a lesser offense, thus automatically reducing the sentence imposed, 2. in cases in which many counts are charged, the prosecutor may reduce the number of counts, 3. the prosecutor may promise to recommend a lenient sentence, such as probation, and 4. when the charge imposed has a negative label attached, the prosecutor may alter the charge to a more socially acceptable one in exchange for a plea of guilty.
proponents contend that plea bargaining actually benefits both the state and the defendant in the following ways
the overall costs of the criminal prosecution are reduced
the administrative efficiency of the courts is greatly improved
the prosecution can devote more time to more serious cases
the defendant avoids possible detention and an extended trial and may receive a reduced sentence
resources can be devoted more efficiently to cases that need greater attention
opponents of the plea bargaining process believe that the negotiated plea should be eliminated for the following reasons
it encourages defendants to waive their constitutional right to trial
plea bargains allow dangerous offenders to receive lenient sentences
also raises the danger that an innocent person will be convicted of a crime if he is convinced that the lighter treatment ensured by a guilty plea is preferable to the risk of conviction and a harsher sentence following a formal trial
prosecutors are given a free hand to induce or compel defendants to plea bargain, thus circumventing law
it is possible that innocent persons will admit guilt if they believe that the system is biased and that they have little chance of being acquitted
a guilty-plea culture has developed among defense lawyers
legal issues in plea bargaining
the us supreme court has reviewed the propriety of plea bargaining in several decisions and, while imposing limits on the practice, has upheld its continued use.
plea bargaining reform
in recent years, efforts have been made to convert plea bargaining into a more visible, understandable, and fair dispositional process. such safeguards include: 1. the judge questions the defendant about the facts of the guilty plea before accepting the plea. 2. the defense counsel is present and can advise the defendant of her rights. 3. the prosecutor and the defense attorney openly discuss the plea. 4. full and frank info about the defendant and the offense is made available at this stage of the process. in addition, judicial supervision ensures that plea bargaining is conducted in a fair manner.
right to an impartial judge
every criminal enjoys the right to a trial by an impartial judge. supreme court ruled as much way back in the 1972 case of Tumey v. Ohio. in that case, a municipal court judge was also the mayor, an executive official. what's more, he received fines and fees that he ordered against defendants who were convicted in his courtroom. the supreme court held that it is a violation of due process when a judge "has direct, personal, substantial pecuniary interest in reaching a conclusion against a defendant in his case"
right to be competent at trial
to stand trial, the defendant must be considered mentally competent to understand the nature and extent of the legal proceedings. if a defendant is considered mentally incompetent, his trial must be postponed until treatment renders him capable of participating in his own defense.
Riggins v. Nevada
us supreme court ruled that forced treatment does not violate a defendant's due process rights if it is medically appropriate and, considering less intrusive alternatives, is essential for the defendant's own safety or the safety of others.
right to confront witnesses
the 6th amendment states that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right... to be confronted with the witnesses against him." the accused enjoys this right not just by being able to confront witnesses but also by being allowed to participate in his trial. that is, trials cannot be conducted without the accused being afforded the right to appear in person.
the constitutional right of a criminal to see and cross-examine all the witnesses against him.
testimony that is not firsthand but, rather, relates info told by a second party
right to an impartial jury
only the right to a trial by jury in criminal cases appears both in the original constitution (article III, section 2) and the bill of rights (6th amendment). although they may have disagreed on many points, the framers did not question the wisdom of the jury trial. today the defendant has the right to choose whether the trial will be before a judge or a jury. although the 6th amendment guarantees the defendant the right to a jury trial, the defendant can and often does waive this right. a substantial proportion of defendants, particularly those charged with misdemeanors, are tried before the court without a jury.
Powell v. Alabama
supreme court decided that indigent defendants enjoy the right to counsel. the court limited its decision, however, to "capital case(s), where the defendant is unable to employ counsel, and is incapable adequately of making his own defense because of ignorance, feeble-mindedness, illiteracy, or the like.
right to a speedy trial
the tactics employed by wary defense attorneys, along with inefficiencies in the court process, have made delay in criminal cases a serious and constitutional issue. as the american bar association states in the standards relating to speedy trial, "congestion in the trial courts of this country, particularly in urban centers, is currently one of the major problems of judicial administration." delays in the trial process conflict with the 6th amendment's guarantee of a right to a speedy trial.
the supreme court has called the right to a speedy trial "as fundamental as any of the rights secured by the 6th amendment." its primary purposes are to:
improve the credibility of the trial by having witnesses available for testimony as early as possible.
help criminal defendants avoid lengthy pretrial detention.
avoid extensive pretrial publicity and questionable conduct of public officials that may influence the defendant'a right to a fair trial.
avoid any delays that could affect the defendant's ability to defend himself against charges.
right to a public trial
sometimes having a trial open to the public can cause problems
Sheppard v. Maxwell
the courtrooms was packed with people, including members of the media, for all nine weeks of the trial. reporters handled evidence and took pictures throughout the trial. the supreme court eventually reversed the defendant's conviction, citing the "carnival atmosphere." the case did not lead to the exclusion of cameras from the courtroom, but some judges require that they be kept out. this why one sometimes sees sketches of a case instead of actual photos.
Chandler v. Florida
us supreme court removed any constitutional obstacles to the use of electronic media coverage and still photography of public criminal proceedings, over the objections of a criminal defendant . certainly, the defendant has a constitutional right to a public trial, but it is equally imperative that the media be allowed to exercise their first amendment rights, which include making that public trial truly public.
proof beyond a reasonable doubt
the standard of proof needed to convict in a criminal case. the evidence offered in court does not have to amount to absolute certainty, but it should leave no reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the alleged crime.
the trial of a criminal case is a formal process in a specific and orderly fashion in accordance with rules of criminal law, procedure, and evidence. unlike what transpires in popular tv programs involving lawyers-where witnesses are often asked leading and prejudicial questions and where judges go far beyond their supervisory role-the modern criminal trial is a complicated and often time-consuming, technical affair. it is structured adversary proceedings in which both prosecution and defense follow specific procedures and argue the merits of their cases before the judge and jury.
the group called for jury duty from which jury panels are selected
the process in which a potential jury panel is questioned by the prosecution and the defense in order to select jurors who are unbiased and objective
challenge for cause
dismissal of a prospective juror by either the prosecution or the defense because he is biased, because he has prior knowledge about a case, or for the reasons that demonstrate the individual's inability to render a fair and impartial judgement.
dismissal of a prospective juror by either the prosecution or the defense for unexplained, discretionary reasons.
once the prosecutor has provided all the government's evidence against a defendant, he informs the court that he rests the people's case. the defense attorney at this point may enter a motion for a direct verdict. this is a procedural device in which the defense attorney asks the judge to order the jury to return a verdict of not guilty.
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