CRMJ 410 Week 7 Assignment Chapter 18: The Criminal Trial

CRMJ 410 Week 7 Assignment Chapter 18: The Criminal Trial

Questions for Thought and Discussion

1. Jurors are generally selected from among those citizens who have registered to vote or who have registered motor vehicles. Do these methods produce juries drawn from a “representative cross-section of the community”? Can you suggest a better way of selecting jurors?

5. Many rules of evidence applied in jury trials are derived from the early common law, when jurors were largely uneducated. These rules were designed to prevent jurors from hearing evidence that might prejudice their judgment in the case. Given the educational standards in the United States, should these rules be made less restrictive regarding evidence that can be presented in courts? What constitutional problems would arise by allowing hearsay evidence to be presented against a defendant?

7. Do you think a trial judge should be allowed to summarize the evidence for the jury’s benefit before the jurors retire to deliberate? What advantages and disadvantages can you see in such a practice? Would it be constitutional?

Chapter 19: Sentencing and Punishment

Questions for Thought and Discussion

2. How could a prisoner on death row establish that his or her death sentence was the result of racial discrimination?

6. Suppose you were a probation officer and a judge asked you to recommend probation conditions for a first-time offender convicted of the sale and possession of cocaine. What specific conditions would you propose?

10. What is the rationale for granting only minimal due process rights to parolees and probationers and to prisoners in disciplinary proceedings?

Chapter 20: Appeal and Post conviction Relief

Questions for Thought and Discussion

3. What new or revised procedures would expedite the resolution of criminal appeals? Would such procedures detract from the fair and deliberative review essential to determine whether the decision of the trial court in a criminal case was arrived at fairly and accurately?

8. After studying briefs submitted by counsel and hearing oral arguments in a proceeding open to the public, appellate judges retire to privately discuss and decide the merits of criminal appeals. Should these deliberations be open to the public? Why or why not?

10. Do you think the ability of a convicted defendant to secure DNA testing rises to an issue of due process of law? Does Congress have a role to play in providing a standardized process throughout the country? Should the process be governed by federal statute, or should state legislatures and courts be left free to develop their own procedures?