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America’s Courts and the Criminal Justice System, International Edition 11th Edition by David W. Neubauer – Test Bank

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America’s Courts and the Criminal Justice System, International Edition 11th Edition by David W. Neubauer – Test Bank

 Sample Questions

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Chapter 2

LAW AND CRIME

 

TEST BANK

 

MULTIPLE CHOICE

 

 

  1. The key characteristics of common law include all of the following, except:
  2. predominately judge-made                     c.     found in multiple sources
  3. based on justice                                       d.     applies rules of law found in previous cases

 

ANS:   B         REF:    30        OBJ:    2

 

 

  1. The burden of proof required for a victory in a civil case is:
a. preponderance of evidence c. probable cause
b. beyond a reasonable doubt d. reasonable suspicion

 

ANS:   A         REF:    34        OBJ:    5

 

 

  1. Much of the Bill of Rights has been made applicable to the states through the:
a.  Fourth Amendment c. legislative process
b. doctrine of precedent d.  Fourteenth Amendment

 

ANS:   D         REF:    38-39   OBJ:    4

 

 

  1. The prosecution always bears the burden of persuading the trier-of-fact that the defendant:
  2.  is guilty based on clear and convincing evidence.
  3.  committed the majority of the elements of the crime(s) charged
  4.    committed each and every element of the crime(s) charged
  5. is guilty and deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law

 

ANS:   C         REF:    34        OBJ:    3

 

 

  1. Corpus delicti is a Latin phrase meaning:
a. guilty act c. guilty mind
b. body of the crime d. body of the victim

 

ANS:   B         REF:    44        OBJ:    6

 

 

  1. Which of the following is not an element of a crime?
a. Mens rea c. Attendant circumstances
b. Actus reus d. Guilty conscience

 

ANS:   D         REF:    44-46   OBJ:    6

 

 

  1. Mens rea refers to the:
a. guilty act c. scene of the crime
b. body of the crime d. guilty mind

 

ANS:   D         REF:    45-46   OBJ:    6

 

 

  1. Which Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures?
a.  First Amendment c. Fifth Amendment
b. Fourth Amendment d.  Eighth Amendment

 

ANS:   B         REF:    39        OBJ:    4

 

 

  1. Which two Amendments to the U.S. Constitution mention due process?
a. Fifth and Sixth c. Fifth and Fourteenth
b. Eighth and Tenth d. Eighth and Fourteenth

 

ANS:   C         REF:    39        OBJ:    4

 

  1. Victims of crime are increasingly resorting to:
a. notifying law enforcement c. vigilantism
b. criminal prosecution d. civil litigation

 

ANS:   D         REF:    41        OBJ:    5

 

  1. Unlike all the other states, this state derives its civil law from the Napoleonic Code.
a. Alabama c. Louisiana
b. Wisconsin d. Florida

 

ANS:   C         REF:    30        OBJ:    1

 

  1. A court order directing a specific action or lack of action is known as an:
a. interrogatory c. injunction
b. indictment d. interdiction

 

ANS:   C         REF:    41-42   OBJ:    5

 

 

  1. An example of a legal attendant circumstance would be:
a. the credibility of eyewitnesses c. the defendant’s getaway vehicle
b. the defendant’s character d. the amount of money or goods stolen

 

ANS:   D         REF:    46        OBJ:    6

 

  1. The primary justification for providing constitutional safeguards in the criminal justice process is to ensure that:
  2.  innocent persons are not harassed or wrongly convicted
  3.   the guilty are punished
  4.  society administers justice to the accused
  5.   convictions are not overturned on appeal

 

ANS:   A         REF:    36-37   OBJ:    4

 

 

  1. Which of the following is the highest burden of proof?
a. Clear and convincing evidence c. Probable cause
b. Preponderance of evidence d. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt

 

ANS:   D         REF:    34-35   OBJ:    3

 

  1. Most civil cases involve a request for:
a. declaratory judgment c. an injunction
b. monetary damages d. temporary restraining order

 

ANS:   B         REF:    40        OBJ:    5

 

  1. A common civil remedy used in drug cases is:
a. writ of habeas corpus c. asset forfeiture
b. mandatory minimum sentences d. declaratory damages

 

ANS:   C         REF:    41-42   OBJ:    5

 

  1. This Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to counsel.
a. Fourth c. Sixth
b. Fifth d. Eighth

 

ANS:   C         REF:    38-39   OBJ:    4

 

  1. The party who initiates a civil suit is known as the:
a. Appellant c. appellee
b. Victim d. plaintiff

 

ANS:   D         REF:    40        OBJ:    5

 

 

  1. Laws created by federal and state legislatures are known as:
  2.  ordinances                                               b.     administrative regulations
  3. statutes                                                    c.     legislation

 

ANS:   B         REF:    32        OBJ:    1

 

  1. Substantive law creates:
a. only criminal law
b. only civil law
c. methods of enforcing legal obligations
d. legal obligations

 

ANS:   D         REF:    33        OBJ:    3

 

  1. Infancy and insanity are known as:
  2. substantive defenses                               c.     justification defenses
  3. excuse defenses                                      d.     mental incapacity defenses

ANS:   B         REF:    48 & 50           OBJ:    7

 

  1. When a plaintiff files a civil lawsuit they seek to obtain:
a. a remedy such as monetary damages or an injunction.
b. public acknowledgement of some wrong committed against them.
c. a conviction against someone who committed a crime against them.
d. retribution through the justice criminal justice process.

 

ANS:   A         REF:    40        OBJ:    5

 

  1. The two major adversary actors in the criminal justice system are:
a. police and criminals c. prosecutors and defense attorneys
b. courts and the media d. defendants and victims

 

ANS:   C         REF:    33-34   OBJ:    3

 

  1. The obligation of a party to produce evidence to put facts in issue is called the burden of:
  2.  presumption                                            c.     progression
  3.  production                                               d.     persuasion

 

ANS:   B         REF:    34        OBJ:    1

 

  1. The United States operates under the adversary system of law, characterized by which of the following important principles?
a. Accusations of criminal conduct would not be raised against a defendant unless      there was some certainty of guilt.
b. That two parties approaching the facts from entirely different perspectives offers the best chance at uncovering the truth.
c. Obtaining the truth is paramount regardless of the methods employed in uncovering it.
d. That punishment should be swift and certain.

 

ANS:   B         REF:    33-34   OBJ:    3

 

  1. Which of the following is one example of a safeguard provided by the adversarial system?
a. The presumption of equality
b. Pretrial detention of defendants
c. The right to compensation for losses suffered
d. The right to cross-examination

 

ANS:   D         REF:    33-34   OBJ:    3

 

  1. From the case citation Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the reader knows which of the following?
a. The decision is in favor of the defendant.
b. The case was a criminal case.
c. The case is in volume 384 of the Supreme Court Reports.
d. The case is found on page 1966.

 

ANS:   C         REF:    31        OBJ:    1

 

  1. When a defendant bears the burden of persuasion to prove a defense, it is called a(n):
  2.    alibi defense                                            c.     defense rebuttal
  3. affirmative defense                                 d.     violation of due process

 

ANS:   B         REF:    34        OBJ:    5

 

  1. When government prosecutors file an in rem asset forfeiture proceeding, and the property at issue is seized, what must the owner of the property do to get his property back?
a. The burden of proof is on the government that the property is subject to forfeiture–the owner does not need to do anything.
b. The owner must show that the property was not used illegally.
c. File a countersuit alleging a Fourth Amendment violation of the right against unreasonable seizures
d. Nothing.  These types of proceedings have been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

 

ANS:   A         REF:    42        OBJ:    5

 

 

  1. Criminal trials start with two presumptions: the presumption of innocence and the presumption of:
  2. sanity c.     zealous representation
  3. equality d.     judicial activism

 

ANS:   A         REF:    34        OBJ:    3

 

  1. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the law requires the trier of fact to make a conclusion or deduction known as a(n):
  2. presumption c.     judgment
  3. inference d.     opinion

 

ANS:   A         REF:    34        OBJ:    3

 

  1. Which of the following is not a major area of civil law?
  2. personal injury c.     divorce and child custody
  3. inheritance/probate                         d.     juvenile delinquency

 

ANS:  D          REF:    39-40   OBJ:  5

 

  1. This doctrine requires a judge to decide a case by applying the rule of law found in previous cases, provided the facts are similar.
  2. selective incorporation c.     precedent
  3. judicial restraint d.     jurisprudence

 

ANS:  C          REF:    30-31   OBJ:  2

 

  1. The adversary system incorporates a series of checks and balances aimed at curbing political misuse of the criminal courts through:
  2. incorporation of rights c.     prosecutorial discretion
  3. diffusion of powers                         d.     judicial activism

 

ANS:  B          REF:    33-34   OBJ:  3

 

  1. Which of the following does not meet the requirement of actus reus?
  2. voluntary acts c.     contemplation
  3. omission d.     possession

 

ANS:  C          REF:    45        OBJ:

 

  1. Prisoner lawsuits claiming conditions of confinement constitute cruel and unusual punishment are alleging their rights under this Amendment are being violated.
  2. Eighth c.     Tenth
  3. Fourteenth d.     Sixth

 

ANS:  A          REF:    43        OBJ:

 

 

  1. The level of proof for an officer to conduct a brief, limited, investigative detention (“stop

and frisk”) is:

  1. probable cause c.     clear and convincing evidence
  2. mere suspicion d.     reasonable suspicion

 

ANS:  D          REF:    34        OBJ:

 

  1. After confessing to racketeering, Nicky Cheeks’ (through his high-priced mob attorney) is now saying that his confession was coerced and that his waiver of Miranda rights was not valid, therefore his confession should not be admissible in court. By what standard of proof is the prosecution now required to prove the validity of Nicky’s waiver of rights?

 

  1. No standard, it is the responsibility of the defense to prove the waiver was not valid.
  2. Probable cause
  3. Preponderance of the evidence
  4. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt

 

ANS:  C          REF:    35        OBJ:

 

  1. Under the adversary system, it is the responsibility of the defense attorney to:
  2. prove the defendant not guilty by a preponderance of the evidence.
  3. argue for the client’s innocence and assert legal protections.
  4. dispute all evidence presented by the prosecution.
  5. present a defense that counters all claims made by the prosecution.

 

ANS:  B          REF:    33        OBJ:    3

 

 

  1. Joe Smith suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. He has been under a doctor’s care for ten years, but often stops taking his medication because he thinks he’s cured.  While off his medication, Joe steals a car to “escape from a CIA hit man,” accidentally running over and seriously injuring a pedestrian in the process.  Joe is arrested and charged with several felonies.  His public defender believes he is not guilty by reason of insanity.  Which of the following is true regarding the use of the insanity defense in this case?

 

  1. In addition to the burden of proving the elements of the offense, the prosecution bears the additional burden of proving the defendant is not insane.
  2. With increasing public awareness regarding mental illnesses, the insanity defense has         become more commonly presented and is often successful.
  3. The defense bears the burden of proving the defendant’s insanity, often an expensive proposition.
  4.  If acquitted, Joe will likely spend less time in a mental facility than in jail or prison.

 

ANS:  C          REF:    48        OBJ:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRITICAL THINKING SCENARIOS

 

CASE 2.1

 

Roberta picks her toddler up at the daycare after she gets off work. The child is asleep in her car seat and Roberta decides to stop off at the local pool hall for a beer and to talk to some friends for a little while. She leaves the child in the car while she goes inside. She winds up staying for a second beer and a couple of line dances. The temperature in the car reaches 120 degrees and the child dies of hyperthermia.  Roberta, though not very bright, would never intentionally harm her child.

 

  1. Which of the following elements is apparently lacking in this scenario?

 

  1. actus reus c.   mens rea
  2. omission d.   criminal result

 

ANS:  C          REF:    45-46   OBJ:    6

 

  1. Which of the followings statements regarding Roberta’s criminal liability is true?

 

  1. Roberta is not guilty because this tragedy was an accident.
  2. Roberta is not guilty because although she was negligent, she had no criminal intent to harm

her child.

  1. Roberta is guilty because she intentionally left her child in the car and the same intent

applies to any harm that results.

  1. Roberta is guilty because she had a legal duty to keep her child safe—her negligent

omission resulted in the child’s death.

 

ANS:  D          REF:    45-46   OBJ:    6

 

CASE 2.2

 

Uniformed officers are driving a marked car into an area known for heavy drug trafficking, intending to investigate drug activity and anticipating encountering drug customers and lookouts.  One officer sees the suspect standing next to a building and holding an opaque bag.  The suspect looks in the direction of the officers and flees.  The officers turn their car, watch the suspect run through an alley, and eventually corner him on the street.  One officer leaves the car, stops the defendant, and conducts a frisk of the defendant, discovering a concealed handgun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Which of the following statements is true regarding the legality of the “stop and frisk”?

 

  1. The stop was illegal. The officers did not have specific, articulable facts to justify the stop.
  2. The stop was legal. A brief investigative stop can be justified by the circumstances.
  3. The stop was legal. The gun provided probable cause to justify the stop, a standard of proof higher than reasonable suspicion.
  4. The stop was illegal. The officers didn’t find any drugs on the suspect.

 

ANS:  B          REF:    34-35   OBJ:

 

  1. Which of the following facts cannot be used to provide justification for the stop?
  2. It was an area known for heavy drug trafficking.
  3. The suspect was standing next to a building holding an opaque bag.
  4. The suspect’s unprovoked flight upon seeing the officers.
  5. Discovery of the concealed handgun.

 

ANS:  D          REF:    34-35   OBJ:

 

TRUE/FALSE

 

  1. The use of precedent promotes fairness and consistency.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    30-31   OBJ:    2

 

 

  1. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” means over 95% certainty of guilt.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    34-35   OBJ:

 

 

  1. Legislatures did not become a principal source of law in the U.S. until the 20th century.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    32        OBJ:    2

 

 

  1. Tort law includes any wrong, hurt, or damage done to a person’s rights, body, reputation, or property.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    40        OBJ:    5

 

 

  1. Due process of law is not actually mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    37-38   OBJ:    4

 

 

  1. Civil suits may only be filed by individual citizens.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    39-40   OBJ:    5

 

 

  1. Selective incorporation refers to the application of certain provisions of the Bill of Rights to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    38-39   OBJ:    4

 

 

  1. Democratic governments derive their powers from the law.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    37        OBJ:    5

 

 

  1. If a person is found not guilty in a criminal case, they may not be sued in civil court.

 

ANS:   F                      REF:    34-35   OBJ:    5

 

  1. Necessity is not a defense recognized by law.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    48        OBJ:    7

 

  1. All crimes require the same level of intent.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    45-46   OBJ:    6

 

  1. To be criminal, an act must be voluntary.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    45        OBJ:    6

 

  1. Defendants in a criminal case are never required to bear the burden of persuasion.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    48        OBJ:    3

 

  1. The standard of proof for the government prosecutor under the adversary system is beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    34-35   OBJ:    3

 

 

  1. An example of a procedural safeguard in the trial process is contained in the Sixth Amendment’s right to confront witnesses.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    36-39   OBJ:    3

 

  1. A prison guard may not be sued by a prison inmate.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    43        OBJ:    5

 

  1. A failure to act when there is a legal duty to act can also qualify as “actus reus.”

 

ANS:   T          REF:    45        OBJ:    6

 

  1. Punitive damages in a tort case represent the actual losses suffered by the plaintiff and are frequently awarded by juries.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    40        OBJ:    5

 

  1. Law is enacted by public officials in a legitimate manner.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    29        OBJ:    1

 

  1. The Constitutional right to counsel applies at both criminal and civil proceedings.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    38-39   OBJ:    4

 

  1. The legal defense of insanity has its roots in 20th century jurisprudence.

 

ANS:  F           REF:    48        OBJ:  7

 

  1. Administrative regulations are the newest, fastest growing, and least understood source of law.

 

ANS:  T           REF:    32        OBJ:  1

 

  1. Due process requires that no law or government procedure should be arbitrary or capricious.

 

ANS:  T           REF:    38-39   OBJ:  4

 

  1. The doctrine of stare decisis (“let the decision stand”) precludes judges from overturning previous decisions.

 

ANS:  F           REF:    30        OBJ:  1

 

 

  1. The right to cross-examination is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment.

 

ANS:  T           REF:    33-34   OBJ:  3

 

 

COMPLETION

 

  1. Common law developed into a system of law made primarily by _____________.

 

ANS:   judges

 

REF:    30        OBJ:    2

 

  1. A ruling in a previous case that serves as a guide in deciding subsequent cases with similar circumstances is known as a ____________________.

 

ANS:   precedent

 

REF:    30        OBJ:    2

 

  1. The ________________ is the supreme and fundamental law of the land.

 

ANS:   U.S. Constitution

 

REF:    32        OBJ:    1

 

  1. The ______________ is the name for the first ten Amendments of the U. S. Constitution.

 

ANS:   Bill of Rights

 

REF:    38-39   OBJ:    1

 

  1. The protection of Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights during a legal proceeding is commonly referred to as _____________________.

 

ANS:   due process

 

REF:    38-39   OBJ:    4

 

  1. ______________ are conclusions or deductions that can be made based on the facts that have been established by the evidence.

 

ANS:   Inferences

 

REF:    34        OBJ:    2

 

  1. ________________ is independently verifiable factual information that supports the conclusion that there is a “fair probability” that a crime occurred or that a particular person was involved in a crime.

 

ANS:   Probable cause

 

REF:    34-35   OBJ:

 

  1. One of the most fundamental protections recognized in the American criminal justice process is the presumption of ______________.

 

ANS:   innocence

 

REF:    34-35   OBJ:    1

 

  1. The doctrine of applying the Bill of Rights to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment is known as ____________________.

 

ANS:   selective incorporation

 

REF:    38-39   OBJ:    4

 

  1. The ________________of a crime provide the technical definition of a crime.

 

ANS:   elements

 

REF:    46        OBJ:    6

 

  1. A key characteristic of the common law is the use of , often referred to as stare decisis.

 

ANS:   precendent

 

REF:    30        OBJ:    2

 

  1. The conditions surrounding a criminal act are known as ______________________.

 

ANS:   attendant circumstances

 

REF:    46        OBJ:    6

 

  1. Courts are required to utilize a set of rules during the processing of both civil and criminal cases, referred to as ____________________ law.

 

ANS:   procedural

 

REF:    33        OBJ:    8

 

  1. ____________ are the best known aspects of procedural law.

 

ANS:   Trials

 

REF:    33        OBJ:    3

 

  1. _____________law involves a type of lawsuit filed by a person when they are injured by another person.

 

ANS:   Tort

 

REF:    40        OBJ:    5

 

  1. __________ are agreements between two or more persons involving a promise supported by mutual obligation.

 

ANS :  Contracts

 

REF:    40        OBJ:

 

  1. Guilty intent or guilty mind is also known as ____________________.

 

ANS:   mens rea

 

REF:    45-46   OBJ:    6

 

  1. Brief, limited investigative detentions (“stop and frisk”) are also known as __________ stops as a result of the landmark Supreme Court decision authorizing them.

 

ANS:   Terry

 

REF:    34        OBJ:    4

 

  1. Civil asset forfeiture is termed a(n) ____________________ proceeding because the action is against the thing, not the person who owns the thing.

 

ANS:   in rem

 

REF:    42        OBJ:    5

 

  1. ____________________ is the most obvious way criminal law affects the operations of the criminal courts.

 

ANS:   Sentencing

 

REF:    50-51   OBJ:    8

 

 

ESSAY

 

  1. Contrast civil and criminal law proceedings.

 

ANS:

A crime is public wrong, codified in law, prosecuted by the state, must be proven beyond a

reasonable doubt, and consequences can range from fines or imprisonment to the death penalty.

A tort is a civil wrong against an individual and it is up to the individual to bring legal action.

Torts only require a showing of a preponderance of the evidence and the consequences are not

considered to be as severe, usually limited to injunctions or financial awards to compensate the

victim.  An act can be both a tort and a crime, and failure to prove guilt in a criminal case does

not preclude a victory in civil court, an example being the O.J. Simpson case.

 

REF:    39-46               OBJ:    5, 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Which amendments from the Bill of Rights are pertinent to criminal procedure? Describe what rights they affect or provide for defendants.

 

ANS:

The Fourth Amendment provides protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and outlines warrant requirements.  The Fifth Amendment provides the right against self-incrimination and against double jeopardy.  The Sixth Amendment provides the right to counsel, a speedy and public trial by jury, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and the right to compel witnesses to appear and testify.  The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments and excessive bail and fines.  These rights are the basis for the protection of defendants’ due process rights in criminal procedure.  All of these Amendments in the Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments to the Constitution) have been incorporated to apply to state criminal proceedings through the Fourteenth Amendment.

 

REF:    38                    OBJ:    4

 

 

  1. A man whose gas tank exploded without any warning and severely burned him filed a complaint against the car manufacturer. Explain what the civil remedies are in the examples above, including why civil remedies may be used to combat criminal acts.

 

ANS:

The injured man may file a complaint for both compensatory and punitive damages against the car company.  Civil cases go after a defendant’s money and the reduced standard of proof is easier to meet.  Civil asset forfeiture is a potent remedy for obtaining the goods used or obtained as a result of the illegal action.

 

REF:    40-41               OBJ:    5

 

 

  1. Discuss why legislatures have become the principal source of law beginning in the early 20th century to the present.

 

ANS:

In the early 20th century, the rapidly industrializing society was faced with new types of problems, such as how to protect the interests of workers and consumers.  The cautious approach to problem solving of the common law courts would not work when dealing with questions of such a broad scope.  The increasing complexity of society required legislators to enact broad rules of law with the precision and detail needed to address immediate problems.

 

The large number of governmental bureaucracies that exist today are authorized by federal, state, and local governments to issue rules and regulations consistent with principles specified in a statute or municipal ordinance.  Administrative regulations are the newest, fastest-growing, and least understood source of law.  The federal government alone issues thousands of pages of new rules and policies each year.

 

REF:    32                    OBJ:    1

 

 

  1. In order for a defendant to be convicted of a crime the prosecution must successfully offer proof beyond a reasonable doubt of each element of the crime charged. List the five elements of crime.  Do you believe it is fair that a person might not be held responsible for a crime if there is an element missing? For example, a person who does the actus reus (sells drugs to a neighbor) but who lacks the mens rea (sold the drugs because of death threats from their roommate if they didn’t complete the drug deal).

 

ANS:

Five elements of crime (corpus delicti = body of the crime) include: the guilty act (actus reus), guilty intent (mens rea), relationship between (fusion of) the guilty act and intent, attendant circumstances, and result.  Students should wrestle with the question of various defenses like duress, insanity, and self defense acknowledging that the law protects people whose actions are unlawful, but whose intentions provide a justification or excuse.

 

REF:    44-46               OBJ:    6, 7

 

  1. As civil law is set up to settle disputes between individuals, is it proper for the

government to use civil law to deter violations of criminal law, like drug dealing (e.g., using public nuisance laws to condemn abandoned houses used by drug dealers)?

 

ANS:  Students answers will vary, but should include a discussion of the different levels of proof necessary for civil as opposed to criminal actions and whether or not it is appropriate for the government to use non-law enforcement tools to address crime problems.

 

REF:   39-43               OBJ:   5

 

  1. Criminal law affects the courts in many ways, one of which revolves around sentencing

of offenders.  Describe the connection between the public, legislature and courts relating to criminal sentences.

 

ANS:  The most obvious way criminal law affects the operations of the criminal courts is in sentencing. The legislature establishes sentencing options from which judges must choose. Because of the public’s concern about crime, pressures are strong to increase penalties. As a result, legislatures increase the harshness of sentencing, and the courts mitigate that harshness. Legislative action and courthouse reactions follow a predictable pattern:

  • Step I. Laws calling for severe punishments are passed by legislatures on the assumption that fear of great pain will terrorize the citizenry into conformity.
  • Step II. Criminal justice personnel soften these severe penalties for most offenders (a) in the interests of justice, (b) in the interests of bureaucracy, and (c) in the interests of gaining acquiescence.
  • Step III. The few defendants who then insist on a trial and are found guilty, or who in other ways refuse to cooperate, are punished more severely than those who acquiesce.
  • Step IV. Legislatures, noting that most criminals by acquiescing avoid “the punishment prescribed by law,” (a) increase the prescribed punishments and (b) try to limit the range of discretionary decision making used to soften the harsh penalties.
  • Step V. The more severe punishments introduced in the preceding step are again softened for most offenders, as in Step II, with the result that the defendants who do not acquiesce are punished even more severely than they were at Step III.

 

 

REF:    50-51                           OBJ:   LO 7

  1. Describe the five major areas of civil law.

ANS:  The five major areas of civil law are tort, contract, property, domestic relations, and inheritance/probate.  Tort law involves the legal wrong done to another person.  Tort injuries include any wrong, hurt, or damage done to a person’s rights, body, reputation, or property.  Contracts are agreements between two or more persons involving a promise supported by mutual obligations.  Property law regulates three types of property:  real, personal and intellectual.  Domestic relations law involves divorce and related issues such as child custody, child support, and alimony. Property received from a person who has died is governed by laws on inheritance. When someone dies without a will, the civil law of intestacy determines how possessions should be distributed by a court in probate proceedings.

REF:    39-41                           OBJ:  5

Chapter 4

STATE COURTS

 

TEST BANK

 

MULTIPLE CHOICE

 

  1. Which of the following is not an essential element of therapeutic jurisprudence?
a. immediate intervention c. treatment programs
b. hands-on judicial involvement d. adversarial adjudication

 

ANS:   D         REF:    110-112           OBJ:    8

 

  1. A typical court system includes how many layers?
a. Two c. four
b. Three d. five

 

ANS:   C         REF:    91        OBJ:    1

 

  1. Which of the following is not a common name for a trial court of general jurisdiction?
a. magistrate’s court c. superior court
b. district court d. circuit court

 

ANS:   A         REF:    103      OBJ:    5

 

  1. Litigants in state courts are most often
a. large and small businesses.
b. individuals and small businesses.
c. large businesses and governmental bodies.
d. individuals and governmental bodies.

 

ANS:   B         REF:    103      OBJ:    5

 

  1. The highest court in a state is called the court of last
a. appeal. c. resort.
b. chance. d. consequence.

 

ANS:   C         REF:    106      OBJ:    6

 

  1. A person cited for a misdemeanor would most likely appear before
a. a court of limited jurisdiction. c. a circuit court.
b. a court of general jurisdiction. d. a court of common pleas.

 

ANS:   A         REF:    93        OBJ:    2

 

  1. In states without intermediate appellate courts, state supreme courts
a. have complete discretion over the cases placed on their dockets.
b. have no power to choose which cases will be placed on their dockets.
c. hear only civil cases.
d. hear only criminal cases.

 

ANS:   B         REF:    106      OBJ:    6

  1. Lower courts handle what stages of felony cases?
a. the final stages c. the appeal stages
b. the intermediate stages d. the preliminary stages

 

 

ANS:   D         REF:    93        OBJ:    2

 

  1. Justice of the peace courts and municipal courts are similar in which of the following ways?
a. both have large caseloads c. both have urban taxes bases
b. both have small caseloads d. both are lower courts

 

ANS:   D         REF:    94-100 OBJ:    3

 

  1. Which of the following is consistent with court unification?
a. Judges may be temporarily assigned to other courts in other places throughout the state to alleviate backlogs and reduce delay.
b. A centralized state office supervises the work of judicial and non-judicial personnel.
c. Decisions about the allocation of funds are made at the state and not the local level.
d. All of the above.

 

ANS:   D         REF:    107-110           OBJ:    7

 

  1. Lower courts are confronted with which of the following problems?
a. inadequate financing c. strict court procedures
b. adequate facilities d. balanced caseloads

 

ANS:   A         REF:    101      OBJ:    4

 

  1. In Ewing v. California (2002), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the State of California’s Three Strikes Law on what grounds?
a. The punishment was not disproportionate to the crime committed.
b. The punishment did not violate the Eight Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
c. Offenders who repeatedly engage in serious or violent crime may be isolated from the rest of society.
d. All of these are correct.

 

ANS:   D         REF:    111      OBJ:    8

 

  1. Domestic violence courts generally do which of the following?
a. These courts coordinate with community partners that provide services for victims of domestic abuse.
b. These courts stress the importance of adversarial adjudication, which is necessary in any court.
c. Different judges handle criminal, family-related, and divorce cases that involve the same defendant.
d. Defendants who participate in these courts are less likely to be rearrested.

 

ANS:   A         REF:    113-114           OBJ:    8

  1. Which of the following statements is true about trial courts of limited jurisdiction?
a. All states have at least one trial court of limited jurisdiction.
b. Some states do not have any trial courts of limited jurisdiction.
c. Circuit courts are considered trial courts of limited jurisdiction.
d. These courts focus on felony case processing.

 

ANS:   B         REF:    92-94   OBJ:    2

 

  1. Which of the following states does not have any trial courts of limited jurisdiction?
a. California c. Texas
b. New York d. Ohio

 

ANS:   A         REF:    92-93   OBJ:    2

 

  1. The major trial courts decide felony cases and civil cases including
a. domestic relations c. voyeurism
b. drug cases d. kidnapping

 

ANS:   A         REF:    108      OBJ:    5

 

  1. Intermediate courts of appeals typically use _____________ panels for deciding cases.
a. rotating three-judge c. nine-judge
b. rotating five-judge d. single-judge

 

ANS:   A         REF:    105-106           OBJ:    6

 

  1. Intermediate courts of appeals do which of the following?
a. These courts carefully review evidence presented at a trial.
b. These courts determine whether technical violations of the law were committed at trial and release affected defendants.
c. These courts review trial proceedings to make sure the law was followed and that the defendant received a fair trial.
d. All of the above.

 

ANS:   C         REF:    105-106           OBJ:    6

 

  1. Which of the following is not true of the highest state courts?
a. All of these answers are true.
b. All the judges on the court participate in rendering a decision about a particular case.
c. All state supreme courts have a limited amount of original jurisdiction.
d. Some states have more than one court of last resort.

 

ANS:   A         REF:    106-107           OBJ:    1

 

  1. Which of the following is consistent with court unification?
a. centralized jury selection
b. integration of federal and state judicial systems
c. localized budgeting
d. statewide financing

 

ANS:   D         REF:    107-110           OBJ:    7

  1. A _____________ court system has a coherent hierarchy with authority concentrated in the state capital.
a. structured c. complex
b. systematic d. unified

 

ANS:   D         REF:    107-110           OBJ:    1, 7

 

  1. A key component of court unification includes which of the following?
a. a complex court structure c. local financing
b. decentralized administration d. none of the above

 

ANS:   D         REF:                OBJ:    1, 7

 

  1. _____________ courts are a prime example of courts based on the concept of therapeutic jurisprudence.
a. Drug
b. domestic violence
c. mental health
d. drug, domestic violence, and mental health

 

ANS:   D         REF:    110-115           OBJ:    8

 

  1. Which of the following statements is true about drug courts?
a. The first drug court was in New York City.
b. These courts assume that treatment will reduce the likelihood that convicted drug offenders will reoffend.
c. Judges who oversee these courts take a “hands-off” approach to offender monitoring.
d. These courts emphasize the speedy administration of punishment.

 

ANS:   B         REF:    112      OBJ:    8

 

  1. Sophisticated evaluations of drug courts have generated some interesting findings. Which of the following correctly summarizes the findings from recent examinations of drug courts?
a. Offenders who participate in drug courts are less likely to be rearrested and are more likely to hold a job.
b. Almost everyone who is eligible to participate decides to do so.
c. The drug court model is also effective when applied to drunk drivers.
d. The impact of drug courts is very similar from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

 

ANS:   A         REF:    112      OBJ:    8

 

  1. To be eligible for drug treatment by drug courts, defendants
a. must have no prior felony convictions.
b. must have no prior misdemeanor or felony convictions.
c. may be charged with drug possession or drug sale.
d. must request drug treatment, but are not required to admit that they have a drug problem.

 

ANS:   A         REF:    112      OBJ:    8

 

  1. Which of the following statements correctly summarizes research findings about the effectiveness of domestic violence courts?
a. Rates of rearrest increase among defendants adjudicated in these courts.
b. Rates of conviction are higher in these courts.
c. Victims and their families do not receive more services.
d. Victims and defendants are more satisfied with the court process.

 

ANS:   A         REF:    113-114           OBJ:    8

 

  1. In states without intermediate appellate courts, state courts of last resort
a. must hear all criminal appeals.
b. have discretion to hear only the cases they decide are the most important.
c. hear only the most notorious cases.
d. None of these answers is correct.

 

ANS:   A         REF:    106-107           OBJ:    6

 

  1. Which of the following represents a clear disadvantage of localized control of justice?
a. Local courts are closely linked to the people they serve.
b. The application of “state” law often has a local flavor.
c. The officials who staff these courts are recruited from the local community they serve and thus reflect the sentiments of that community.
d. Local control has been an incubator of corruption and injustice..

 

ANS:   D         REF:    107      OBJ:    9

 

  1. What court system provides a safety valve for checking the most flagrant abuses of local justice?
a. dual c. unified
b. appellate d. problem-solving

 

ANS:   A         REF:    116      OBJ:    9

 

  1. The key components of court unification do not include
a. simplified court structure c. centralized rule making
b. decentralized administration d. centralized judicial budgeting

 

ANS:   B         REF:    107-110           OBJ:    7

 

  1. Courts of therapeutic jurisdiction do not include which of the following?
a. drug courts c. domestic violence courts
b. courts of last resort d. elder court

 

ANS:   B         REF:    110-115           OBJ:    8

 

  1. The organization of courts in the United States impacts the processing of cases in which of the following ways?
a. decentralization of justice c. unification
b. appeals d. problem-solving

 

ANS:   A         REF:    116-117           OBJ:    9

 

  1. After the American Revolution, the functions of state courts
a. changed c. stagnated
b. stabilized d. was primary to international security

 

ANS:   A         REF:    91-92   OBJ:    1

 

  1. What courts are at the first level of state courts?
a. trial courts of limited jurisdiction c. municipal courts
b. justice of the peace courts d. problem-solving courts

 

ANS:   A         REF:    92-92   OBJ:    2

 

  1. Misdemeanors are handled by which courts?
a. lower courts c. justice of the peace courts
b. supreme courts d. problem-solving courts

 

ANS:   A         REF:    93        OBJ:    2

 

  1. Which of the following occurs with the imposition of tougher laws?
a. police do not necessarily make more arrests c. prosecutors are pressured to plea bargain
b. juries are reluctant to convict d. all of these occur with the imposition of tougher laws

 

ANS:   D         REF:    95-96   OBJ:    2

 

  1. What are courts collectively called in most rural areas?
a. lower courts c. justice of the peace courts
b. supreme courts d. problem-solving courts

 

ANS:   C         REF:    94        OBJ:    3

 

  1. What courts were created as a response to a significant growth in appellate cases that threatened to overwhelm the state supreme court?
a. lower courts c. justice of the peace courts
b. intermediate courts of appeals d. problem-solving courts

 

 

ANS:   B         REF:    105      OBJ:    6

 

 

 

 

CRITICAL THINKING SCENARIOS

 

CASE 4.1

 

Just as American law borrowed heavily from English common law, the organization of American courts reflects their English heritage. But the colonists and later the citizens of the fledgling new nation that called itself the United States of America adapted this English heritage to the realities of the emerging nation. Issues such as the clash of opposing economic interests, the debate over state versus national power, and outright partisanship have shaped America’s 50 diverse state court systems.

 

  1. Which of the following is true of the early colonial courts?
a. they were rather simple c. they were rather complex
b. they replicated English courts completely d. they replicated English courts in substance but not in form

 

 

ANS:   A         REF:    91        OBJ:    1

 

  1. In the colonial courts, each colony modified its court system according to what?
a. local customs c. different religious practices
b. patterns of commercial trade d. each colony modified its court system in all of these ways

 

ANS:   D         REF:    91        OBJ:    1

 

CASE 4.2

 

At the second level of state courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction, usually referred to as major trial courts. An estimated 2,000 major trial courts in the 50 states and the District of Columbia are staffed by more than 11,000 judges (LaFountain et al. 2008). The term general jurisdiction means that these courts have the legal authority to decide all matters not specifically delegated to lower courts.

 

  1. Which of the following is not one of the most common names for trial courts of general jurisdiction?
a. district court c. circuit court
b. superior court d. supreme court

 

ANS:   D         REF:    102-103           OBJ:    1

 

  1. Most of the nation’s judicial business takes place at what level?
a. city c. county
b. state d. federal

 

ANS:   B         REF:    103      OBJ:    1

 

  1. What kind of crimes do state courts primarily decide?
a. major drug distribution c. white-collar crimes
b. terrorist crimes d. street crimes

 

ANS:   D         REF:    103      OBJ:    5

  1. Over the past decade and a half, criminal cases filed in general jurisdiction courts (primarily felonies) increased
a. 25% c. 35%
b. 45% d. 55%

 

ANS:   A         REF:    103      OBJ:    5

 

TRUE/FALSE

 

  1. Some states have no trial courts of limited jurisdiction.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    92-93   OBJ:    1

 

  1. A justice of the peace court provides an example of a trial court of general jurisdiction.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    94-99   OBJ:    1

 

  1. Most trial courts of limited jurisdiction are created, funded, and operated by the state.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    92-94   OBJ:    4

 

  1. County courts stood at the heart of American colonial government.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    91        OBJ:    1

 

  1. Citizens are more likely to have contact with a trial court of limited jurisdiction than with any other type of court.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    92-93   OBJ:    2

 

  1. Initial evaluations of early drug courts found favorable rates of success.

ANS:   T          REF:    112-113           OBJ:    8

 

  1. The organization of the court system is nearly identical in every state.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    92        OBJ:    1

 

  1. Therapeutic drug courts operate in all 50 states.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    112-113           OBJ:    8

 

  1. Lower courts are typically controlled only by local governmental bodies that create and fund them.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    92-93   OBJ:    1

 

  1. The lion’s share of the nation’s judicial business takes place at the state, not the federal, level.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    103      OBJ:    1 and 5

 

  1. State trial courts receive over 95 times the number of filings received by federal district courts.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    103      OBJ:    2

 

  1. Over 90 percent of criminal violations involve nonviolent crimes, such as burglary and drug offenses.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    103      OBJ:    2

 

  1. Most criminal cases do not go to trial.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    103      OBJ:    2

 

  1. In domestic violence courts a single judge handles multiple criminal, family court, and divorce cases involving the same defendant.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    113-114           OBJ:    2 and 3

 

  1. Often, it is federal—not state or local—officials who prosecute corrupt local officials.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    116      OBJ:    9

 

  1. A century ago, state courts systems included only a single appellate body—the state court of last resort.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    105      OBJ:    1

 

  1. Intermediate courts of appeals must hear all properly filed appeals.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    105      OBJ:    6

 

  1. A decision made by a state’s intermediate appellate court is the final one for most cases.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    105      OBJ:    6

 

  1. One of the key components of court unification is diversified administration.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    107-110           OBJ:    7

 

  1. Appellate courts often release defendants on legal technicalities.

 

ANS:   F          REF:    106      OBJ:    6

 

  1. The principal objective of a unified court system is to shift judicial administration from local control to centralized management.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    107-110           OBJ:    7

 

  1. Some states have two courts of last resort—one for civil appeals and another for criminal appeals.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    106      OBJ:    1 and 6

 

  1. One of the four major problems confronting the lower courts is unbalanced caseloads.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    100-101           OBJ:    4

 

  1. Supreme courts in states without intermediate courts of appeals have no power to choose which cases will be placed on their dockets.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    106      OBJ:    6

 

  1. In most states with the death penalty, if the judge imposes capital punishment, then the case is automatically appealed to the state’s highest court, thus bypassing the intermediate courts of appeals.

 

ANS:   T          REF:    107      OBJ:    1

 

COMPLETION

 

  1. One type of problem-solving court is the                                violence court.

 

ANS:   domestic

 

REF:    113-114           OBJ:    8

 

  1. Trial courts of _____________ jurisdiction are sometimes referred to as inferior courts or lower courts.

 

ANS:   limited

 

REF:    92-94   OBJ:    2

 

  1. The principal objective of a _____________ court system is a shift in judicial administration from local control to centralized management.

 

ANS:   unified

 

REF:    107-110           OBJ:    7

 

  1. On the civil side, the lower courts decide disputes under a set  amount.

 

ANS:   dollar

 

REF:    94        OBJ:    5

 

  1. For one to be able to appeal a decision made by a state court of last resort to the U.S. Supreme Court the case must involve an important question of _____________ law.

 

ANS:   federal

 

REF:    107      OBJ:    1

 

  1. How the courts are organized and administered has a profound effect on the way cases are processed and on the type of  that results

 

ANS:   justice

 

REF:    116      OBJ:    9

 

  1. The combination of court decentralization and local control of the judiciary results in                     court financing.

 

ANS:   uneven

 

REF:    116-117           OBJ:    9

 

  1. The court that the average citizen is most likely to come in contact with is a court of ____________ jurisdiction, such as a traffic court.

 

ANS:   limited

 

REF:    93        OBJ:    2

 

  1. _____________ courts constitute 85 percent of all judicial bodies in the United States.

 

ANS:   Lower

 

REF:    93        OBJ:    1

 

  1. Trial courts of ____________ jurisdiction are commonly referred to as major trial courts.

 

ANS:   general

 

REF:    102      OBJ:    1

 

  1. A court system includes lower courts, major trial courts,  appellate courts, and a court of last resort.

 

ANS:   intermediate

 

REF:    92        OBJ:    1

  1. The lower courts handle the  stages of felony cases.

 

ANS:   preliminary

 

REF:    93        OBJ:    2

 

  1. Both justice of the peace courts and                            courts are considered lower courts.

 

ANS:   municipal

 

REF:    92-94   OBJ:    3

 

  1. The major trial courts decide felony cases and civil cases including relations, estate, personal injury, and contract cases.

 

ANS:   domestic

 

REF:    108      OBJ:    5

 

  1. The modern agenda of court reform includes topics such as reducing trial court     

 

ANS:   delay

 

REF:    110      OBJ:    7

 

  1. In states without intermediate appellate courts, state courts of last resort must hear all criminal             .

 

ANS:   appeals

 

REF:    105-106           OBJ:    6

 

  1. In domestic violence courts, the emphasis is on _____________.

 

ANS:   integration

 

REF:    113-114           OBJ:    8

 

  1. In discussing court reform, reformers generally envision a _____________-tier system.

 

ANS:   three

 

REF:    98        OBJ:    7

 

  1. Courts using therapeutic jurisprudence have  essential elements.

 

ANS:   five

 

REF:    110-112           OBJ:    8

 

  1. The  of courts in the United States impacts the processing of cases in several ways.

 

ANS:   organization

 

REF:    116-117           OBJ:    9

ESSAY

 

  1. Most state courts have four levels of courts. List and briefly describe the jurisdiction of the four levels of state courts.  Be sure to provide examples of the types of cases each level hears.

 

ANS:

Most state courts have the following four levels of courts:  trial courts of limited jurisdiction, trial courts of general jurisdiction, intermediate appellate courts, and a court of last resort.  State trial courts of limited jurisdiction hear misdemeanors and other small matters and may also conduct the preliminary stages of felony case processing (e.g., preliminary hearings).  State trial courts of general jurisdiction have the legal authority to decide all matters not specifically delegated to the lower courts.  Felony cases, for example, are heard in trial courts of general jurisdiction.  Courts of intermediate appeals usually must hear all properly filed appeals.  Decisions made at this level are often final for most cases.  Unlike their appellate counterparts, state courts of last resort usually exercise a great deal of discretion in deciding which appeals will be heard; very few appeals are accepted.

 

REF:    92                                OBJ:    1, 2, and 3

 

  1. Unified court systems and specialized courts are two different types of court reform that have emerged. Compare and contrast these two types of reform.  In which direction have contemporary court reformers gone?

 

ANS:

Those who advocate for a unified court system seek to create a more centralized court system, with authority concentrated in the state capital.  This would allow for centralized administration, rule making, and budgeting.  Under such a model, minor and specialized courts would be consolidated; variations between county courts would be eliminated and replaced by a similar court structure throughout the state.  Critics of such an approach argue that a unified court system does not allow for a consideration of the realities of the local courthouses or their unique offender populations.  These critics argue that court reform should focus on problem solving.  Thus, specialized courts at the local level have been created to deal with specific types of offenders.  Included among these courts are drug courts, domestic violence courts, and mental health courts, to name a few.  These specialized courts rely on therapeutic jurisprudence, and preliminary evaluations have been generally positive.  In short, while the idea of a unified court system has been debated, individual jurisdictions use specialty courts to meet their needs. Contemporary court reform is often identified with problem-solving courts (Wolf 2007).

 

REF:    107-115                                   OBJ:    7 and 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Explain and describe California’s Three Strike’s Law by making reference to the Ewing case from California. Explain the rationale for the law and why Ewing appealed his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Explain the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case, and your thoughts about the decision rendered.

 

ANS:

California’s Three Strikes Law was passed in response to citizen frustration with crimes committed by repeat offenders.  The California law allows for increased penalties for defendants convicted of a third felony; only one of these convictions must be for a violent crime.  Gary Ewing was prosecuted under the law for stealing three golf clubs that were hidden up his pant’s leg.  He had previously been convicted of two other felony offenses.  Ewing received a 25-year prison sentence.  In Ewing v. California (2002), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld California’s law by stating that the seemingly harsh punishment was not disproportionate to the crime committed and that it did not violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.  The Court further noted that offenders who repeatedly engage in serious or violent crime may be isolated from the rest of society and, thus, California’s deliberate policy choice was justified.  Critics of the law, including Ewing’s attorneys, argued that 25-year prison sentence was grossly disproportionate to the offense committed.  Under normal circumstances Ewing would have been prosecuted for a misdemeanor offense, but his criminal record marked the case as unusual. Moreover, prosecutors routinely exercise discretion as to when the law will be applied, which gives them an advantage in forcing a guilty plea among defendants who may be facing a lengthy sentence connected to a third felony.

 

REF:    111                              OBJ:    5 and 6

 

  1. Lower courts typically adjudicate two types of nonfelony criminal cases: misdemeanors and ordinance violations. Describe the similarities and differences between these two types of cases. Why do you think these cases are handled by the lower courts?

 

ANS:

A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by a fine, imprisonment (usually in a local jail, for a period of less than one year), or both. Misdemeanors are enacted by state legislative bodies and cover the entire state. Ordinances are laws passed by a local governing body. Ordinances are similar in effect to a legislative statute, but they apply only to the locality, and any fine that is assessed for violations goes to the local government, not to the state. It is typical for ordinances to prohibit the same types of conduct (disorderly conduct, public drunkenness) as state misdemeanors. Ordinance violations are technically noncriminal, which means that they are easier to prosecute. At times, police prefer to arrest a suspect for an ordinance violation because it presents fewer legal obstacles to gaining a conviction.

 

REF:    92-94                           OBJ:    2

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Compare and contrast justice of the peace courts and municipal courts.

 

ANS:

Justice of the peace courts are found in rural areas. Many JPs are not trained lawyers and often fail to abide by the rules that are supposed to bind them (Mansfield 1999).  Critics argue that the JP system has outlived its purpose. It is out of step with the modern era and should be abolished. A major defect is that JP courts are controlled only by the local government bodies that create them and fund them and their activities are not subject to appellate scrutiny. When a defendant appeals, the appeal is heard by a trial court of general jurisdiction. Today, many of the JPs have been replaced with magistrates. Magistrates are more likely to be appointed than elected and tend to have better training than JPs. Overall, the issues facing rural courts are qualitatively different from those faced by urban courts (Baehler and Mahoney 2005). Compared to their big-city counterparts, rural courts exhibit three special features: lower caseload, lack of resources, and greater familiarity (Bartol 1996; see also, McKeon and Rice 2009). The urban counterparts of the justice of the peace courts are municipal courts. The overriding reality of municipal courts in the nation’s big cities is the press of cases.  Accordingly, “obstacles” to speedy disposition—constitutional rights, lawyers, trials—are neutralized. In a process some have labeled an assembly line, shortcuts are routinely taken to keep the docket moving. Defense attorneys constitute another potential obstacle to the speedy disposition of cases. The general absence of defense attorneys reinforces the informality of the lower courts and the lack of attention to legal rules and procedures. In municipal courts, the defendant’s initial appearance is usually the final one.  Realistically, a defendant charged with crimes such as public drunkenness and disorderly conduct probably cannot raise a valid legal defense. What has struck all observers of the lower courts is the speed with which the pleas are processed. Few trials are held in the lower courts. The courtroom work group often works together to keep cases moving quickly.  Some courts manipulate bail to pressure defendants into an immediate disposition. The routines of the lower courts are threatened, however, by uncooperative defendants.

 

REF:    94-100                         OBJ:    3

 

  1. Describe the four problem areas facing the lower courts in the United States and explain why they represent problems for the judiciary.

 

ANS:

The four problem areas facing the lower courts in the United States are inadequate financing, inadequate facilities, lax procedures, and unbalanced caseloads. In general, lower courts are funded locally. Sparsely populated counties and small municipalities often lack funds to staff and equip their courts adequately. Lower-court courtrooms are often crowded and noisy, with 100 or more people forced to spend hours waiting for their minute before the judge. Some are makeshift, hastily created in the side of a store or the back of a garage. Courtroom conditions lack dignity and leave a bad impression, suggesting that the judiciary is more interested in collecting the fine for speeding than in bothering to do justice. Such inadequate facilities are detrimental to the attitudes of the defendant, prosecutor, judge, and all others involved in the justice process.  Many trial courts of limited jurisdiction do not have written rules for the conduct of cases. Conventional bookkeeping methods are often ignored. Many lower courts are characterized by moderate to heavy caseloads, but others appear to have little to do. Wide discrepancies exist in the quality of justice rendered.

REF:    100-101                                   OBJ:    4

 

  1. What are the key components of court unification? Why are these components important?

 

ANS:

The principal objective of a unified court system is to shift judicial administration from local control to centralized management. The loose network of independent judges and courts is replaced by a coherent hierarchy with authority concentrated in the state capital. Although court reformers differ about the exact details of a unified court system, their efforts reflect five general principles: a simplified court structure; centralized administration, rule making, and budgeting; and statewide financing (Berkson and Carbon 1978). Court reformers stress the need for a simplified, unified, court structure for the entire state. This would mean that variations between counties would be eliminated and replaced by a similar court structure throughout the state. Reformers envision centralized administration. A centralized state office would supervise the work of judicial and nonjudicial personnel. The state high courts of last resort would have the power to adopt uniform rules and judges could be temporarily assigned to other courts to alleviate backlogs and reduce delay. Centralized judicial budgeting would provide for a single budget for the entire state judiciary. Lower courts would be dependent on the state high court of last resort for their monetary needs and unable to lobby local representatives directly. Thus, decisions about allocating funds would be made at the state and not the local level. Along with centralized judicial budgeting, reformers argue for the adoption of statewide financing of the judiciary. State government has more money and could better support necessary court services.

 

REF:    107-110                                   OBJ:    7

 

  1. Describe the impact of court organization and its consequences.

 

 

ANS:

 

How the courts are organized and administered has a profound effect on the way cases are processed and on the type of justice that results. Although people often talk about the American legal system, no such entity exists. Instead, America has 51 legal systems—the federal courts and separate courts in each of the 50 states. Lawyers sometimes try to maneuver cases so that they are heard in courts that are perceived to be favorable to their clients. For example, some criminal offenses violate both state and federal laws. As a general rule, federal officials prosecute major violations, leaving more minor prosecutions to state officials. The prosecution of the DC-area snipers illustrates the importance of the choice of courts. The 50 state court systems are in actuality often structured on a local basis. The officials who staff these courts are recruited from the local community they serve and thus reflect the sentiments of that community.

As a result, the U.S. system of justice has close ties to local communities and the application of “state” law often has a local flavor. Local control of justice has the obvious advantage of closely linking courts to the people they serve. But local control has also been an incubator of corruption and injustice. The locally administered criminal justice system has also been marked by pockets of injustice. The dual court system has provided a safety valve for checking the most flagrant abuses of local justice. Often, it is federal—not state or local—officials who prosecute corrupt local officials. The combination of court decentralization and local control of the judiciary results in uneven court financing.  In most states, courts are financed by a sometimes bewildering array of state taxes, local taxes, court fees and fines.  During nationwide financial crisis cutbacks in funding the courts have resulted in major reductions in services.

Economic downturns not only reduce court funding but also increase demands for court services. Beyond the immediate problems of trying to provide the same services with less funding, courts also face long term limitations in designing new programs to respond to changing social problems.  Citizen demands to create or expand problem solving courts like drug court, domestic violence court and mental health courts are stymied because of a lack of funding.

 

REF:    116-117                                   OBJ:    9

 

 

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