Courtroom Players Response
March, 13, 2012
Courtroom Players Response
In the past week’s I have been learning the history of the American court system and courtroom work group. There are two kinds of court functions in the American criminal justice system. The system is called a dual court system consisting of federal and state court systems (Schmalleger, p. 308, 2011). In order for the court system to operate there has to be a courtroom work group.
A courtroom work group is made up of the judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, bailiffs, court clerk, expert witnesses and others who earn their living by working for the courts (Schmalleger, p. 312, 2011).
A judge is a public official who is appointed or elected to govern a court of law, authorized to hear and conduct trials, and may be allowed to decide a case (Schmalleger, p. 312, 2011). The bailiff is an armed law enforcement officer who duties include ...view middle of the document...
326, 2011). The clerk of the courtroom duties is to combine a group of jurors for review, issue subpoenas and jury summonses, and preserve criminal records (Schmalleger, p. 326, 2011). Expert witnesses are called to testify based on their field of education and how it relates to a case (Schmalleger, p. 327, 2011).
The last part of the work group is the prosecutor, and their role is to conduct criminal trials on behalf of the state or people against individuals who have committed a crime (Schmalleger, p. 315, 2011). Prosecutors oversee a staff of assistant district attorneys who handle majority of the work completed in court. The prosecutor may take on the role of giving legal advice to police departments. A few other roles of the prosecutor is to decide which case should go to trial, should there be a plea bargain, sentence recommendations, what charges to bring against the accused and review the evidence (Schmalleger, p. 316, 2011).
A prosecutor determines which case to pursue by examining the evidence presented. Prosecutors are given the authority of prosecutorial discretion which allows them to decide whether to charge a person or not (Schmalleger, p. 316, 2011).
In summary the courtroom system must have a courtroom work group in order to operate and get closure on criminal cases. If the criteria for taking a case were less stringent the courts would have many more cases overflowing the court system, it would cost the state more money to try the increase of cases, and more time consuming. If the criteria for taking case load were more stringent there would have to be law changes to accommodate the changes in taking a case, and there would be a higher rate of crimes being committed and making geographical areas unsafe for citizens. I think that both changes would affect the rights of individuals as well.
The courtroom work group interacts daily with the members working together to successfully complete criminal cases. There are no changes I would recommend because I feel the criteria in place works well.
Schmalleger, F (2011). Criminal justice today: An introductory text for the twenty-first century (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Pearson Prentice Hall