Identify the steps involved in the pretrial criminal process.
The initial appearance is the first step after arrest. During the appearance, the defendant is: ◦ Informed of the charges ◦ Advised of right to counsel ◦ Told the amount of bail ◦ Given a date for the preliminary hearing
Bail is the amount or conditions set by the court to ensure that the defendant will appear for further criminal proceedings. Bail is provided for under the Eighth Amendment. In most cases, the defendant will only be released if he/she posts bail. Bail is generally prohibited in capital cases.
The Preliminary Hearing – an initial hearing in which a magistrate decides if there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crime with which he/she is charged ◦ The Preliminary Hearing Process ◦ Waiving the Hearing The Grand Jury – the group of citizens called to decide whether probable cause exists to believe that a suspect committed the crime with which she/he has been charged
Case Attrition – the process through which prosecutors, by deciding whether to prosecute each person arrested, effect an overall reduction in the number of persons prosecuted ◦ Scarce Resources
Explain how a prosecutor screens potential cases.
Screening Factors: ◦ Belief in the guilt of the suspect ◦ Case priorities ◦ Uncooperative victims ◦ Unreliability of victims ◦ Defendant who is willing to testify against other offenders
At the arraignment, defendants must file a plea: Guilty Not Guilty Nolo Contendre
Motivations for Plea Bargaining ◦ Prosecutors and Plea Bargaining - want a conviction ◦ Defense Attorneys and Plea Bargaining - want the best outcome for the defendant ◦ Defendants and Plea Bargaining - want some measure of control over the outcome and a lighter sentence ◦ Victims and Plea Bargaining – about half of the states permit for victim participation in plea bargaining
Identify the basic protections enjoyed by criminal defendants in the United States.
Speedy Trial: Required by the Sixth Amendment Barker vs. Wingo (1972) All 50 states have their own speedy-trial statutes The Speedy Trial Act of 1974 (federal) ◦ No more than 30 days between arrest and indictment ◦ No more than 10 days between indictment and arraignment ◦ No more than 60 days between arraignment and trial
Role of the Jury: Sixth Amendment guarantees an “impartial” jury Duncan vs.. Louisiana (1968) Jury size Unanimity – most states require a unanimous verdict
Explain what “taking the Fifth” really means.
The Privilege Against Self-Incrimination: Provided for in the Fifth Amendment Witnesses are granted immunity Adamson vs.. California (1947), the decision to “take the Fifth” should not prejudice the jury “Taking the Fifth” means that a witness may refuse to testify if such testimony may be self-incriminating
Defendants are The standard of proof presumed innocent in criminal court is until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt
All those chosen from the master list are summoned to appear. This group, from which the jury will be selected, is called the Venire. The attorneys then determine the suitability of each potential juror through a questioning period called Voir Dire.
Contrast challenges for cause and peremptory challenges during voir dire.
There are two ways jurors are excluded: Challenges for Cause ◦ The attorney must provide a sound, legally justifiable reason why a juror cannot serve Peremptory Challenges ◦ The attorney can remove a juror without showing and supporting reason or cause ◦ Batson vs.. Kentucky (1986)
Opening Statements: The first step of the trial process. The prosecutor speaks first, followed by defense counsel. Each side attempts to construct a “road map” of their case for the jury to follow by outlining their evidence.
Explain the difference between testimony and real evidence, between lay witnesses and expert witnesses, and between direct evidence and circumstantial evidence.
Testimony is verbal Real evidence is evidence given by brought into court and witnesses under oath. seen by the jury, as opposed to evidence that is described for a jury.
Lay witnesses are Expert witnesses are those who can those with truthfully and professional training accurately testify on a or substantial fact in question experience qualifying without having her/him to testify on a specialized training or certain subject. knowledge; an ordinary witness.
Direct evidence is Circumstantial evidence that evidence is indirect establishes the evidence that is existence of a fact offered to establish, that is in question by inference, the without relying on likelihood of a fact inference. that is in question.
The Prosecution’s Case: Burden of proof is on the state. Attempts to establish corpus delicti. Calls witnesses for direct examination. ◦ Establishes relevance and competency of witnesses. ◦ Avoids hearsay. ◦ After cross-examination, prosecutor will have one more opportunity during redirect examination.
Questions: ◦ Why is it important for prosecutors to uphold high ethical standards? ◦ Are there ripple effects on the criminal justice system when a case like this gets high-profile media attention?
Defense Strategies: The defense can simply rest Create reasonable doubt Present an alibi defense Present an affirmative defense ◦ Self defense ◦ Insanity ◦ Duress ◦ Entrapment
Indicate the circumstances in which a criminal defendant may be tried a second time for the same act.
Double Jeopardy – The Fifth Amendment prohibits a second prosecution in the same court for the same criminal offense ◦ The Possibility and Risk of Retrial – a state’s prosecution of a crime will not prevent a separate federal prosecution of the same crime, and vice versa, if the act is also defined as a crime under federal law; different states may also prosecute the same person for multiple crimes that take place in different jurisdictions