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U.S.A. Criminal Justice

1. What is the justification for pretrial detention? Do you feel that pretrial detention unfairly discriminates against the poor? If pretrial detention were ruled unconstitutional, do you think that most defendants would not appear on their court dates? Would crime rates rise?

2. Why is it that the United States remains the only Western country in the world to retain the death penalty? Why is there such great public support for capital punishment? Do you predict a downturn in support over the next decade? Why or why not?

3. What are some of the reasons for the extremely high incarceration rate in the United States?

4. Has the Supreme Court gone too far in protecting the rights of prisoners, or not far enough?

5. There is a big debate over whether needles and condoms should be made available in prison. Advocates argue that drug and sexual contact in prison are inevitable, and the goal should be reducing the harms of these behaviors (such as AIDS). But others say that giving out needles and condoms encourages and condones these illicit behaviors. Where do you stand on this issue?

6. Many states have done away with parole and moved to embrace a "truth in sentencing" philosophy. Is this a smart thing to do, given what we know about prison overcrowding? Why is the availability of parole a valuable prison management tool?

7. Should capital punishment be imposed on persons as young as eleven years who are charged with homicide? List the argument for or against this proposition.

8. Since most criminal cases do not lead to conviction of an offender, how is "restorative justice" applicable in such cases?

9. Explain the term "Burden of Proof".

10. Explain the restorative model of justice. What is the difference between this model and the Retributive Justice?

Scenario:

A woman called the police to her home after her daughter was severely beaten earlier in the day by the daughter's boyfriend. The daughter agreed to use her key to let the officers into the apartment where the man was sleeping. The officers did not seek to obtain an arrest warrant or a search warrant. After the daughter unlocked the apartment door, the officers entered and found a white substance, which later proved to be cocaine, sitting on a table. They arrested the sleeping man and charged him with narcotics offenses. The defendant sought to have the drugs excluded from evidence because the officers' warrantless search was based on permission from the girlfriend who had moved out of the apartment several weeks earlier.

a. As the prosecutor, what arguments would you make about why the evidence should not be excluded?

b.Now imagine that you are the judge. Decide whether the evidence obtained should be excluded. Provide the reasons for your decisions. Please use legal terms as well.

12. Discuss, compare and contrast civil and criminal proceedings. Main points-who has been harmed, prosecution, sanctions/penalties, procedural differences, and burden of proof.

13. What are two limits imposed on government power to punish by the Eighth Amendment? Give two examples.

14. Briefly define the exclusionary rule and discuss the three rationales justifying this rule. Give examples.

15. Although most jurisdictions allow for victim/witness impact statements to be offered at the sentencing phase, much debate continues to surround this practice. Identify the pros and cons for the victim, offender, and the criminal justice system as a whole.

Scenario

After arresting a suspect for burglary, police officers learned that the suspect's nickname was "Butch". A confidential informant previously told them that someone named Butch was guilty of an unsolved murder in another city. The police in the other city were informed of this coincidence and sent officers to question the suspect about the murder. Meanwhile, the suspect's sister secured the services of a lawyer to represent her brother on the burglary charge. Neither she nor the lawyer knew about the suspicions concerning the unsolved murder case. The lawyer telephoned the police station ad said she would come to the station to be present if the police wished to question her client. The lawyer was told that the police would not question him until the following morning and she could come to the station at that time. Meanwhile the police from the other city arrived and initiated the first series of evening questioning sessions with the suspect. The suspect was not informed that his sister had obtained the services of a lawyer to represent him. The suspect was not told that the lawyer had called the police and asked to be present during questioning. During questioning, the suspect was informed of his Miranda rights. He waived his right to be represented by counsel, and subsequently confessed to the murder.

a.If you were the defense attorney, what arguments would you make to have the confession excluded from evidence?

b.If you were the judge, would you permit the confession to be used as evidence? Provide legal reasons for your decision.

Scenario

John was pulled over by the police when they observed him swerving in and out of traffic as he was driving. They made him walk a straight line, which he was unable to do. They determined that John was drunk and placed him under arrest for drunk driving. While one officer was placing the handcuffs on him and patting him down, the other officer walked around to the passenger side of the car. He looked in the car and then opened the glove compartment where he found a switch blade with blood on it. They transported John to the precinct and proceeded to interrogate him about where the blood on the knife came from. John started to sob and said that he had killed his wife earlier that evening.

Given this scenario, explain whether or not the evidence will be admissible in court.

Scenario newspaper article:

**Man Arrested and Charged in Connection with Assault**

Synopsis

• On Monday June 17, 2013 on the island of St. Thomas, a woman was assaulted at her home about 1pm.
• Victim was grabbed and hit several times.
• She later sought treatment for her injuries to her left eye.
• Police arrested St. Claire Crabb on Wednesday June 19, 2013 in connection with assault to victim.

Outcome
• Police arrested 46 year old St. Claire Crabb on Wednesday and charged him with second-degree assault domestic violence.
• Crabb is held without bail pending his court appearance.
• Detectives are still investigating and asking anyone for additional information to this case to call Crime Stoppers.

Lay out the facts of the case. Then define and apply one theory of crime that does a good job of explaining this type of behavior/offense. Integrate the facts from the article to support your argument.

Solution Preview

1. What is the justification for pretrial detention? Do you feel that pretrial detention unfairly discriminates against the poor? If pretrial detention were ruled unconstitutional, do you think that most defendants would not appear on their court dates? Would crime rates rise?

Pre-trial detention was initially meant to keep the most dangerous criminals detained before trial because of their threat to the public. The current use of pretrial detention discriminates against indigent defendants because they are unable to post the necessary bonds that will allow them to be released despite their level of threat to the public. Pretrial detention was never intended for solely ascertaining if defendants would appear at trial as Bail Bondsman are responsible for their clients attending trial, which is why they take the financial risk of posting bail for a nominal fee. I don't feel that crime would significantly rise as many indigent defendants are incarcerated for nonviolent offense and aren't hard-core criminals but rather poor people attempting to survive or escape their realities by using a substance that is considered legal in some parts of the world.

2. Why is it that the United States remains the only Western country in the world to retain the death penalty? Why is there such great public support for capital punishment? Do you predict a downturn in support over the next decade? Why or why not?

There will not be a downturn because a minimum of 50% of the population that identifies with the "so called" Christian conservative and Republican doctrine endorse the use of the death penalty. Therefore, the death penalty will continue to be used in America and this is because not enough of a majority of the population are against it. These same "so called" Christians are against abortion based on the grounds that they consider it "murder" yet endorse the "murder" of human beings if it is state sanctioned. These individuals have many lobbyists and voting power to ensure that the death penalty and state sanctioned murder of human beings continues unabashedly in America. America was the last Westernized country to ban the death penalty for JUVENILES.

3. What are some of the reasons for the extremely high incarceration rate in the United States?

RACISM, the new JIM CROW prison industrial complex is a result of the racist drug laws passed in the late 70s under Nixon and bolstered in the early to mid-80s by Congress. Over 70% of those incarcerated in America are incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses with a large majority of these defendants' minorities. Minorities are sentenced at disproportionate rates for drug offense in comparison to whites who abuse drugs at far higher rates than minorities. Therefore, racism is the main reason for the high incarceration rate in America wherein the ...

Solution Summary

The justification for pretrial detentions are determined. The reasons for an extremely high incarceration rates in the United States are determined.

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