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The Courts
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  • 1. The Courts Class notes
  • 2. I. Two main types
    • A. Civil Courts
        • Resolve disputes between individuals
    • B. Criminal Courts
      • Resolve cases brought by the
      • state against individuals accused of
      • wrongdoing
  • 3. II. Functions of Criminal Courts
    • A. Due Process Function
        • Protect the rights of individuals
    • B. Crime Control Function
        • Punish wrongdoing, protect society from harm
    • C. Rehabilitation Function
        • Ordering “treatment” of criminals if warranted
    • D. Bureaucratic Function
        • Speed and efficiency in handling caseload
  • 4. III. Court System
    • A. Trial Courts—court of original jurisdiction. Only courts where jury is present.
    • B. Appellate Courts—reviews decisions of lower courts on appeals.
    • C. Supreme Court (state)--Highest court in the state.
    • D. Supreme Court (US)--Highest court in the land. Decisions are final. “Court of last resort”
  • 5.  
  • 6.  
  • 7. IV. Adversarial Nature of Criminal Trials
    • A. Main Players
    • 1. Prosecution—represents the state
    • 2. Defense—represents the accused
    • 3. Judge—impartial referee (ensure due
    • process of law)
  • 8.
    • B. Other players
      • 1. Jury—usually 12 people, produce
      • a verdict
      • 2. Court reporter—records every
      • word of trial
      • 3. Bailiff (or deputy sheriff)—keeps
      • order and provides security
      • 4. Witnesses—testify for prosecution or
      • defense
  • 9. V. Relevant Amendments
    • A. 4th—Protection against unreasonable search and seizure; law enforcement must prove probable cause
    • B. 5th—Can't be held without charges, no double jeopardy (being tried twice for the same crime), right against self-incrimination, right to due process
  • 10. Amendments cont.
    • C. 6th—Right to a speedy trial, right to an impartial jury of peers, right to be tried locally, right to know nature and cause of accusation, right to be confronted by opposing witnesses and to present witnesses in one's favor, and right to counsel (a lawyer).
    • D. 8th—protection from excessive bail