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Cases and Resources
Unit 2

Welcome to the Street Law Cases and Resources pages. Using the buttons above, you can navigate between the chapters of this unit, as well as chapters of other units. All links within these pages are just a mouse click away from tons of useful information. By hitting a link, a new window will open, allowing this page to remain behind and open for your return once you have finished. Every new link you hit will replace the existing link in the new window, so you might want to keep track of your links by creating bookmarks for them in your browser. Go ahead! Give it a try!
CHAPTER 7 Crime in America
The Nature Of Crimes     Substance Abuse And Crime
Gangs And Crime      Victims Of Crime
Guns And The Law

The Nature Of Crimes
A subject of frequent debate is the cause of crime. It is hard to find one reason why some people choose to commit crimes, while most do not. Read an article that explains one person's understanding of why crime happens and how to find a cause.

View crime statistics on the Bureau of Justice Statistics Web site. Explore the statistics of property crimes. For more specific statistics on violent crime and property crime trends, view these Graphs and Charts. Need help preparing a report? Download the full size color charts discussed above for overheads or handouts.

Explore statistics dealing with crime and justice. View the trends in federal investigations and prosecutions, felony convictions in state courts, and correctional facilities.

Find out how you can receive the most current criminal justice news, information, services, and publications from The National Criminal Justice Reference Service. You can also search a crime library containing an extensive collection of materials on crime and crime protection.

Organized crime is the use of legitimate businesses to cover for illegal activities. Read about organized crime today and what the FBI is doing to combat it.

Get the Scoop! Learn about community policing and how you can help in crime prevention.

Is your town safe? Compare the crime rate of your town to the national average.

Security on Campus, Inc.  provides college and university campus crime statistics. Link to the campus police site of the school you're interested in. Click onto the resources from the homepage and browse through the list of campus police in your state.

To be a victim of any type of crime can leave a person feeling violated and angry or afraid. There are organizations that offer help and assistance to victims of crime - read about some of these groups at the Department of Justice's website.
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Gangs And Crime
While gangs are usually associated with large cities, they also appear in smaller cities and suburbs as well. Why do young people join gangs?

Read about the new federal program G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training). The Department of Justice supplies tips on how to avoid gangs and recommends gang prevention resources.

Learn about gangs and their structure. Explore the statistics on delinquent acts attributable to gang membership.

Helping young people to leave gangs or avoid joining gangs is the key to ending the power that gangs have over communities. Read about ways to intervene in gang activity.

To learn even more about gangs, and gang research, read through a series of articles and information available on-line from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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Guns And The Law
The right to bear arms and the effort to curb violence and crime exacerbated by guns has lead to an ongoing debate among Americans. Read about some of the various angles on the gun-control debate, such as what the constitution actually guarantees citizens or if gun-control laws would really make a difference in crime-prevention.

View the statistics of firearms and crime. Examine the highlights from an in-depth report on Federal Firearm Offenders. Why has there been a decline in firearm prosecutions?

Read about gun control policy, including articles and commentary about controversial gun control laws.

Learn about the antigun movement from Jurist: The Legal Education Network. Explore current news events, ongoing legal action, and federal and state gun laws, including information on state legislation, your congressperson's voting record, and definitions at the Brady Campaign website.

Learn about the pro-gun movement from the National Rifle Association( NRA). The NRA Research and Information Division provides a fact sheet on the relationship between gun law and crime. The NRA Institute for Legislative Action provides information on current federal and state legislation.

Both sides of the debate regarding the right to bear arms remain powerful and vocal groups. Browse through Time Magazine's collection of essays and photo essays about the role of guns in America over recent history.

You can read the case of Printz v. United States, which invalidated the portion of the Brady Act requiring the states to conduct background checks, in short form, in full text, or hear the oral arguments.

Read the summary of the Brady Act. Find out the effects of the Brady Act in a study on background checks for firearm transfers.

The Washington Post maintains a comprehensive site about the issues and new stories about gun-control, as well as links to major organizations that lobby for or against gun-control laws. Use this site to learn about the gun laws in your state.
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Substance Abuse And Crime
Explore a wealth of information about alcohol and drugs at a website designed to disseminate information about substance abuse. You can read about prevention, facts, research and laws. Using Acrobat, read a report and view the statistics and graphs about alcohol use during the commission of a crime. Many resources are directed toward protecting Americans, particularly youth, from abusing alcohol or drugs. One such large campaign is Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Explore the statistics on drunk driving

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) can help you track drunk driving legislation, explore the hot issues in this area, or provide services if you or someone you know was a victim of a drunk driving accident.

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) provides information on how to use the media, courts, and local businesses to help solve the problems of underage drunk driving.

Using Acrobat, read a fact sheet and view the statistics about the amount of crime related to drugs.

View the trends in teenage drug use, How does drug use relate to the attitudes of teenagers and the availability of drugs?

Read the Drug Legalization Debate for a quick summary of the positions of the two sides on this issue. Also explore areas such as criminal punishment and medical use.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is strongly against the legalization of drugs. Read the statement in support of their position.

A relatively new weapon used in the effort to deter and punish drug dealers is the federal mandatory minimum sentence that must be imposed on offenders. This means that if you are caught participating in a drug trade, a federal judge is forced by Congress to give you a specific sentence, regardless of the circumstances. Some people, including members of Congress, believe this works as a serious punishment for drug dealers, and other groups feel this is an unfair practice.

Advocates of drug legalization believe that this would give the U.S. more control over drug trafficking and relieve tax-payers of the cost of the "War on Drugs." Read the opinions of NORML, a group that advocates the legalization of marijuana.
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Victims Of Crime
View statistics of violent crimes using charts of violent crime rates by the gender of the victim. What are the characteristics of crimes against juveniles? Read a summary of statistics of victim characteristics.

Help for Crime Victims! The Department of Justice provides information on the Office for Victims of Crimes, regional advocacy centers, and toll-free numbers.

Find out about victim assistance programs in your state. Many states now offer victim compensation funds to give financial restitution to victims of crime.

For information on the beginning of the victims' movement, read this statement of the seven principles behind the movement of legal rights for victims.

Does the enactment of a victims' rights amendment endanger everyone's rights? Read a statement opposing a victims' rights amendment.

There are many organizations that reach out and help victims of specific crimes. Learn about healing from violent experiences such as rape, murder, robbery, or hate crimes.
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CHAPTER 8 Introduction to Criminal Law
General Considerations
Parties To Crimes
Crimes of Omission
Preliminary Crimes
State and Federal Crimes
Classes of Crimes

General Considerations
Read the definition of a crime and think about where our criminal laws originated. All crimes are made up of elements. In order to convict someone of a crime, every element must be proven. Read the elements needed to prove the crimes in Texas. Read the elements of the different types of homicide, and note the differences

Curious about the elements of a crime? State jury instructions for criminal trials can be found on the Internet.
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Parties To Crimes
Read more about the parties to a crime and why people who participate in the same crime might get different punishments.

Good Samaritan laws bring moral responsibility into the legal field. These laws either encourage bystanders to help the victim of a crime or a dangerous situation, (as in Utah), or require bystanders to come to a victim's assistance (as in Minnesota). There are few cases that have brought about the highlighted Good Samaritan laws, like the deaths of young Sherrice Iverson and Princess Diana. Read viewpoints that support or oppose these laws. Do you think Good Samaritan laws are a good idea?
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Crimes of Omission
A crime of omission is a failure to act. An example of a crime of omission is the failure of parent to adequately care for his or her child, also called "child neglect." Read some definitions of child neglect at the Child Welfare Information Gateway and use their search feature to find the comparable statutes in your state. Now read about an international case of an alleged crime of omission.
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Preliminary Crimes
Read about the crimes of solicitation and attempt.

An attempt to commit a crime can be a crime if the attempt is serious enough. Read the story of the assassination attempt of former President Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Learn about one of the most famous conspiracy cases of the 1990s. Explore the trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nicols, charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the Oklahoma City bombing. More recently, an alleged conspirator in the September 11th terrorism, Zacarias Moussaoui, faces many conspiracy charges in the attacks.
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State and Federal Crimes
The state and federal government have separate court systems. Read about these two systems and review a diagram explaining them. The federal government and state governments each have individual criminal laws. That is why something can violate a state law, but not a criminal law. Read about the different criminal codes in the federal and state systems. Look up the code in your own state.

What happens when a criminal violates both state and federal criminal laws? How do prosecutors choose in which court to try the defendant? Read an interview with Congressman Ehrlich (R-Md) who advocates prosecuting criminals who use guns in federal courts, rather than state courts, because the punishment is tougher in federal courts.
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Classes of Crimes
Review the differences between a felony and a misdemeanor and see how the punishment guidelines vary for each. See how some crimes can be a misdemeanor or a felony based on small differences in the facts.
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CHAPTER 9 Crimes Against the Person
Homicide       Assault And Battery
Suicide Rape   

Homicide
Review the different types of homicide and what each types means. Explore the homicide trends in our country.  View the graphs on homicide trends by demographics, region, and city size.

Take this quick course in the various types of homicide.

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Suicide
Suicide, the taking of one's own life, has studied over time. Read about some of the warning signs that a suicidal person experiences. Read more about the facts of suicide and attempted suicide.

Explore the suicide fact sheet from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.


Is assisted suicide murder? Read about Dr. Kevorkian, who was indicted for first-degree murder for physician-assisted suicide. 

Compare the views of people who do not support assisted suicide with those of Dr. Kevorkian. Look over Oregon's assisted suicide law statistics.
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Assault And Battery
Read about assault for an explanation of the crime of assault and the difference between battery and assault.

Learn more about stalking laws and the behaviors associated with this crime. The internet has brought on a new type of stalking, called cyberstalking. Scroll to page 10 to read a report on cyberstalking. Some people think whole new laws should be created to protect computer-users from cyberstalkers.

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Rape
It is important to understand the crime of rape. Did you know that rape is NOT about sex? That men can be raped as well as women? Explore the resources out there to educate about rape and help victims heal. View rape statistics.

One of the reasons rape has been underreported in this country is because the trials against the rapist can be very difficult for the victim. Rape Shield Laws have been created to encourage victims of rape to come forward.

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CHAPTER 10 Crimes Against Property
Arson             Burglary
Vandalism      Forgery 
Larceny    Receiving Stolen Property
Embezzlement    Unauthorized Use Of A Vehicle       
Robbery Computer Crimes  
Extortion  

Explore the statistics of property crimes.

Arson
Explore the statistics of arson.

Learn the truth about juvenile arson, such as why juveniles commit arson, and how it is handled in the criminal justice system. 

Arson is a problem when buildings are deliberately set on fire, but arson is also a problem when property is set on fire. Arson fires can burn out of control, setting off arson wildfires that destroy homes, business, national parks, and open spaces.

Learn about the National Church Arson Task Force and what caused the task force to organize. You can read the Church Arson Prevention Act, mentioned on page 111, either the summary or the full text .
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Vandalism
The destruction or damage to property, or vandalism, is a problem in many U.S. communities. Read a guide from the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing about school vandalism and the factors and motivations that contribute to it.

Read about juvenile vandalism. How much does juvenile vandalism account for of the total amount? Is juvenile vandalism on the rise or decline?

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Larceny
Read about the elements of larceny.

Explore the statistics for shoplifting and learn about the financial burden shoplifters place on our economy. Why do people commit larceny or shoplift? Many adults and teenagers justify larceny or shoplifting by telling themselves that stores budget and plan for shoplifters. In fact, larceny and shoplifting is a hurtful crime.
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Embezzlement

Read the definition of embezzlement and why embezzlement is different from larceny. To learn more about the growing problem of embezzlement read about the warning signs. People who embezzle money are prosecuted as criminals.
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Robbery
Look at the robbery statistics in the U.S. and see how they have changed. Why do you think robbery rates have risen and dropped as they have?

Protect yourself by learning what you should do during and after a robbery.
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Extortion
Blackmail, or extortion, is often associated with organized crime, but is committed by various individuals and groups, both nationally and internationally.


A high-profile case of the 1990s concerned Bill Cosby, whose alleged daughter was charged with extortion. How do the facts of this case fit the elements of extortion? Extortion is also growing on the internet.
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Burglary
Read some statistics about burglary.

Many burglaries can be prevented. Learn how to protect your home from burglars.
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Forgery
Forgery is a crime that affects of all us, especially the elderly. Learn more about forgery and how to prevent this crime from happening to you.
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 Receiving Stolen Property
Read the definition of receiving stolen property. Now read state statutes from Mississippi and New Jersey. Do you understand why this is a crime?
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Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle
Learn the elements of crime by reading the jury instructions for unauthorized use of a vehicle. Learn more about joyriding and read personal stories of teens who have been caught.

Protect yourself by learning how to reduce your risk of being carjacked (tips from the Los Angeles Police Department) and find out why carjacking is popular with some criminals.

You can read the Antitheft Act, Congress's response to the rise in carjackings, either the summary or the full text.
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 Computer Crime
Computer crimes are becoming an increasing threat. Explore the government's website on cybercrime and the extensive articles on this subject. Besides computer crimes hurting businesses and people financially, many worry about terrorism through computers.

You can read the summary of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

You can read the summary of the National Information Infrastructure Act, mentioned on page 118.

You can read the full text of Reno v. ACLU, mentioned on page 118, in short form or hear the oral arguments
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CHAPTER 11 Defenses
No Crime Has Been Committed
Defendant  Did Not Commit The Crime
Defendant Committed a Criminal Act, But the Act Was Excusable or Justified
Defendant Committed a Criminal Act, But Is Not Criminally Responsible For His Or Her Actions

No Crime Has Been Committed
Remember, as discussed in chapter eight, in order to convict someone of a crime you must prove all of the elements of a crime. If the defendant can show that an element was lacking and no crime was committed, the defendant will go without punishment. Read the story of a Torris Harris, who was a victim a homicide, but not in the legal sense.
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Defendant Did Not Commit The Crime
Learn what the defense needs to prove in an alibi defense by reading the jury instructions.

Read about the alibi defense in a real case, the Ennis Cosby murder trial.

The defense that someone else committed the crime other than the defendant is often used. The evidence to prove may be an alibi, and some defendant's are also using DNA to prove whether they were physically present at the crime scene.
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Defendant Committed a Criminal Act, But The Act Was Excusable or Justified
A criminal defendant may admit to committing a crime, but prove that the crime was excusable. Read about the types of defenses a criminal defendant may use.

Some cases where this type of defense is used are widely publicized in the media, such as when women who are abused kill their abusers. The defense many of these women use is called "battered women's syndrome". Read the story of a California woman.

Learn what the defense needs to prove in a self-defense case or in a protection of property case by reading the jury instructions.
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Defendant Committed a Criminal Act But Is Not Criminally Responsible For His Or Her Actions

The defense of infancy is becoming more controversial as criminals start at younger ages, and the crimes become increasingly violent. At what age do you think a child understands what is criminal?, Examine this opinion in a New York Court of Appeals case involving the age of criminal responsibility. Read a news article about child criminals.

Click here to learn more about entrapment.

What happens to a person found not guilty by reason of insanity? What is the difference between incompetence and insanity? Read the answers to these questions and find out about other defenses.

Read about the insanity defense in a real case, Hinckley's attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan. How did Hinckley's defense team prove legal insanity?

Explore the difference between not guilty by reason of insanity and diminished capacity, as well as the history of the insanity defense.


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CHAPTER 12 The Criminal Justice Process: The Investigation Phase
Arrest
Search And Seizure
Interrogations And Confessions

Arrest
Read an explanation of your rights if you are arrested at the Maryland State Bar Association, Inc. It is important to know how to conduct yourself when you encounter the police. This can help you in the end. If you are arrested, know what to do and what to say.

You can read the full text of Tennessee v. Garner, the case involving use of deadly force mentioned on page 130.

The police can stop and frisk a person who appears suspicious or dangerous. Learn more about why police can do this and what they can do when they stop somebody.

Police who arrest or search a person unlawfully usually cannot use evidence they find from these actions to prosecute a person in court. This is called the "fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine". The poisonous tree is the unlawful arrest, and the fruit is the evidence. The fruit is tainted because it comes from something unconstitutional.

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 Search And Seizure
The rules around search and seizure can be complicated. Read more about the laws and your rights to understand the Fourth Amendment. The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine, or the exclusionary rule, prohibits police and prosecutors from using evidence gathered during unlawful searches and seizures. The Supreme Court once thought that the exclusionary rule was not needed. What do you think?

You can read the short form of California v. Greenwood, the case concerning no reasonable expectation of privacy in garbage left for pick up on one's curb described on page 134. You may also examine the full text of the case or hear the oral arguments.

To learn more about "no-knock" entries mentioned on page 135, read Richards v. Wisconsin, either in short form or full text, or hear the oral arguments.

To find out more about the knock and announce principle and the Fourth Amendment mentioned on page 135, read the short form of Wilson v. Arkansas, or the full text, or hear the oral arguments.

Read Maryland v. Wilson, either in short form or the full text, or hear the oral arguments.
Explore the situations in which the police can conduct a search without a warrant.

You can read the case of Vernonia School District v. Acton, described in the feature on page 142, either in short form or the full text, or hear the oral arguments. Vernonia v. Acton was expanded in 2002 by the Supreme Court. Board of Education v. Earls allows random and suspicionless drug-testing of any student involved in any voluntary extracurricular activity at school. Read the full text of this opinion or a short summary. Read What You Need to Know about Drug Testing in Schools and understand why these decisions have been made.

The rules for search and seizure vary with the different circumstances of each situation. For example, the search and seizure policies while driving or riding in an automobile are different than if you are at home or even walking down the street. Read about the exceptions to the normal rules of search and seizure.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, security in the U.S. has changed many minds on when it is appropriate to search bags and people. Read how security concerns have affected our policies of what is needed, such as baggage inspection before traveling.
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Interrogations And Confessions
Read in-depth about interrogation and what it means. What is required of the police? Learn some of the tactics and methods that police use when questioning a suspect.

You can read the case of Escobedo v. Illinois, discussed on page 143, either in short form or the full text, or hear the oral arguments.

Miranda v. Arizona, covered on pages 143-145, is available in either a short form or full text. You may wish to hear the oral arguments.

PROBLEM 12.11 on page 145 is based on Oregon v. Mathiason.

The case describing the public safety exception to Miranda is New York v. Quarles, (referenced on page 144). It can be read either in short form or full text.

Explore the development of the Miranda rule. How has the Supreme Court limited or expanded Miranda? Read more about this case at the Landmark Cases website.
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CHAPTER 13 The Criminal Justice Process: Proceedings Before Trial
Booking And The Initial Appearance Felony Arraignments And Pleas
Bail And Pretrial Release Pretrial Motions: The Exclusionary Rule
Preliminary Hearing Plea Bargaining
Grand Jury

Booking And Initial Appearance
The initial proceedings before a trial begins are mostly administrative, meaning that many of the questions and events are meant to gather information about the defendant to enter the system, but are not meant to help the defense or the prosecution in the case or investigation. Read the initial hearing, pretrial procedures and what happens once the defendant comes before the magistrate judge.
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Bail And Pretrial Release
Read an actual bail hearing in a real case.

You can read a summary of the Bail Reform Act, mentioned on page 149.

What is bail or bond?

Explore the statistics of a defendant's pretrial release.
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Preliminary Hearing
What is a preliminary hearing? Read the news story about Jack Kevorkian as his trial for assisted suicide enters the preliminary hearing phase.
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Grand Jury
Read about the grand jury proceeding in a fictional case.

Explore Grand Jury Information  to learn about federal and state grand juries; read frequently asked questions about grand juries or the Ken Starr grand jury. Do you have a question? You can also post your question on this site for the author to answer.

Read the American Bar Association's Frequently Asked Questions about federal grand juries.
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 Felony Arraignments And Pleas
What is an arraignment?
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Pretrial Motions: The Exclusionary Rule
Does the exclusionary rule serve a judicial purpose or does it allow guilty defendants to slip through the system?

You can read the case of New Jersey v. T.L.O, described in the feature on page 153, either in short form or the full text. You may wish to hear the oral arguments .

For more on Mapp v. Ohio (page 154), read either the short form or the full text, or hear the oral arguments. Read more about this case at the Landmark Cases website.

In United States v. Leon, the Supreme Court adopted a "good faith" exception to the exclusionary rule, referenced on page 154. Read the case in short form or full text, or hear the oral arguments.
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Plea Bargaining
Read this article exploring the problems in the plea bargaining process. Do you agree with the author that there is no alternative? Can you recommend any reforms?

Read how plea bargaining played a role in a real case.


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CHAPTER 14 Criminal Justice Process: The Trial
Right To Trial By Jury  Freedom from Self-Incrimination
Right To a Speedy And Public Trial Right To An Attorney
Right To Compulsory Process and to Confront Witnesses  

Right To Trial  By Jury
Read this article about the differences between a trial by jury and a trial before a judge. Think about why we have juries and why juries are important to our judicial system.

While the constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury, there is still some debate over Jury or Judge Trial: Which Is Better?. The process by which a jury is chosen is called voir dire. Read about how a lawyer chooses a jury. Does this influence how you feel about juries?

You can read the Supreme Court decision permitting smaller juries, Williams v. Florida, either in short form or full text

Batson v. Kentucky, the Supreme Court case forbidding the exclusion of jurors because of race, can be read either in short form or full text, or you may wish to hear the oral arguments.

To understand the Supreme Court's ruling permitting a verdict that is not unanimous, read Johnson v. Louisiana, either in short form or the full text, you may wish to hear the oral arguments.

Read about the stages in a jury trial. Find out more about the power of a jury by understanding jury nullification.
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Right To a Speedy And Public Trial
Read about the rationale behind the right to a speedy and public trial. What happens when the right to a speedy trial is denied?

You can read Barker v. Wingo, the Supreme Court case about a defendant's right to a speedy trial.
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Right To Compulsory Process and to Confront Witnesses
It has always been deemed important to a defendant to use compulsory process and the right to confront a witness to create a defense. Where did this right come from? Can you think of a situation where it might be difficult for witnesses to confront the defendant?

To understand the defendant's right to confront a child abuse victim, read Coy v. Iowa.
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Freedom from Self-Incrimination
Read more about the freedom from self-incrimination and why the founders placed this right in the Constitution. Remember, this right applies to both the guilty and the innocent.

The government often grants immunity to witnesses to get valuable information so they can prosecute people that commit worse or greater crimes.
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Right To An Attorney
Read about the history of the right to a lawyer and how that right has changed over time to cover more types of crimes. How would you choose a lawyer if you needed one?

Read Gideon v. Wainwright, page 162, in short form or study the full text;  you may wish to hear the oral arguments. Read more about this case at the Landmark Cases website.

See Argersinger v. Hamlin in short form or read the full text and hear the oral arguments.

Read about some of the issues faced by lawyers for indigent, or poor, clients at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Brennan Center for Justice. Explore the statistics on the defendants who have court appointed attorneys.
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CHAPTER 15 Criminal Justice Process: Sentencing and Corrections
Sentencing Options Capital Punishment
Purposes Of Punishment Corrections
Parole

Sentencing Options
Explore the federal sentencing statistics and discover the likelihood of going to prison. View the trends in prison populations. Why has there been an increase in crime?

Read the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

For many types of crimes, especially drug-related crimes, Congress has decided what the punishment should be. Mandatory minimums are the minimum punishment that a judge must give to a defendant found guilty of a specific crime in federal courts.
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Purposes Of Punishment
The government may seek forms of punishment for the purposes of retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation and incapacitation. However, according the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, no punishment can be cruel or unusual.

You can read the Violent Offender Incarceration and Truth in Sentencing Act, discussed on page 167, either in full text or the summary.
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Parole
Learn more about what parole is and how it happens.

Explore the statistics on defendants who are on probation or parole.
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Capital Punishment
Explore the statistics on capital punishment.

You can read the case of Furman v. Georgia, discussed on page 169, either in its short form or see full text;  you may wish to hear the oral arguments.

Another capital punishment case referred to in the text is Lockett v. Ohio. Read the short form, the full text, or hear the oral arguments.

Learn the history of the death penalty in America.

Compare the views of those who do not support the death penalty  with those of people who do support the death penalty.  How are they similar? How are they different?

You can read the case Thompson v. Oklahoma that is featured on page 171 in its short form or read the full text.

In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty for the mentally retarded was unconstitutional. Read the transcripts of the oral arguments in this case. In addition, several states have halted executions in order to evaluate if the system is fair. Pro-death penalty advocates disagree with this decision. What do you think?
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Corrections
Explore the characteristics of jail inmates. Compare the statistics of federal and state prison inmates. How do you account for the difference?

Read a summary of findings on the latest trends in state, federal, and local prisons. Take a look at yearend statistics of prison populations for 2009.

Explore a detailed study on prison and jail inmates. How do the numbers in state and federal prisons compare to local jails?

Read a special report on incarcerated parents and their children. What percentage of parents held in the U.S. prisons has minor children? How many families are affected by the imprisonment of a parent?

Prison rights groups are becoming more vocal about conditions at prisons. Others believe that prisons should not be comfortable places. What rights should a prisoner have?
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CHAPTER 16 Juvenile Justice
History and Overview of Juvenile Courts
Who Is a Juvenile?
Status Offenses
Juvenile Justice Today
Procedures In Juvenile Court


History and Overview of Juvenile Courts
Read an in-depth article, Juvenile Justice: A Century of Change, on the development of the juvenile justice system.

Some programs are designed to prevent youth from entering the court system. These programs are called juvenile diversion programs. The rates of juvenile crime are still a concern, and the government is turning its attention to fighting this problem, as well as adult crime.

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Who Is A Juvenile?
The federal government's policy towards juvenile crime is getting tougher. Why do you think the government is passing more laws about juvenile crime?

Read about the rise of juveniles charged as adults and the impact of this increase on the justice system.

Explore the statistics on juveniles in the criminal system.

You can also read the full text of the current federal law on juvenile crime, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.
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Status Offenses
Some juveniles continue to commit crime and are not easily rehabilitated. These juveniles are status offenders who need more help and services than other juvenile offenders. Read a report by the U.S. Department of Justice about the success of these programs.
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Juvenile Justice Today
Read the definition of juvenile justice today, with links to more resources. Learn more about youth justice by looking at the Department of Justice Web site.

You can read the case of In re Gault, featured on page 185, in its short form or see the full text, and hear the oral arguments.

Another Supreme Court decision concerning the due process rights of juveniles is In re Winship, discussed on page 186.  You may also read the case in short form or hear the oral arguments.

McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, is also explained on page 186.
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Procedures in Juvenile Court
The procedures in a juvenile court are not the same as in adult courts. Review an online chart of how a juvenile case typically flows through the system.

Examine the statistics involved with each stage of the juvenile justice procedure system below the online chart. What surprises you? What did you expect?

Read the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act written in1974 and amended in 1977, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, and 2002. Find out what happens to youth who are adjudicated as delinquents in Juvenile Court Placement of Adjudicated Youth.
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Last Modified: February 28, 2001