Chpt 8

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Courtroom Participants and the Trial

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Question Answer
jurisdiction The authority of the court to try a case. Usually, jurisdiction is established when some part of the crime was committed within the geographic jurisdiction of the district court.
courts of limited jurisdiction Courts that handle misdemeanor crimes, violations of criminal traffic laws, and lesser offenses.
courts of general jurisdiction Courts that handle felony crimes.
double jeopardy The act of trying a person twice for the same offense.
due process Court rules that define the standards for a “fair” trial.
prosecutorial discretion The power of a prosecutor to decide whether to charge a defendant and what the charge(s) will be, as well as to gather the evidence necessary to prosecute the defendant in a court of law.
grand jury An alternative method, which is confidential, to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to charge the defendant with a crime.
arraignment A criminal proceeding where the defendant is formally charged with a crime and is asked to enter a plea.
competent to stand trial The defendant’s ability to comprehend the charges against him or her and to assist counsel in his or her defense.
prosecutorial discretion The power of a prosecutor to decide whether to charge a defendant and what the charge(s) will be, as well as to gather the evidence necessary to prosecute the defendant in a court of law.
grand jury An alternative method, which is confidential, to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to charge the defendant with a crime.
arraignment A criminal proceeding where the defendant is formally charged with a crime and is asked to enter a plea.
competent to stand trial The defendant’s ability to comprehend the charges against him or her and to assist counsel in his or her defense.
bail Temporary release of the defendant prior to trial.
excessive bail Bail that is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment, but there is no uniform standard as to what “excessive” is.
bail bonds agent An agent of a private commercial business that has contracted with the court to act as a guarantor of a defendant’s return to court.
jumped bond Failed to appear for a court appearance.
release on recognizance (ROR) To secure the pretrial release of the accused based merely on the defendant’s unsecured promise to appear at trial.
unsecured bond Bond that releases the defendant based on his or her signing a promissory note agreeing to pay the court an amount similar to a cash bail bond if he or she fails to fulfill the promise to appear at trial.
signature bond Bond that releases the defendant based on his or her signature on a promise to appear in court, usually for minor offenses such as traffic violations.
conditional release A bail alternative in which the defendant is released from custody if he or she agrees to court-ordered terms and restrictions.
plea bargaining A pretrial activity that involves the negotiation between defendant and prosecutor for a plea of guilty for which in return the defendant will receive some benefit, such as reduction of charges or dismissal of some charges.
clearing cases In reference to the status of a criminal offense, knowing the perpetrator of the crime, as asserted by the police or prosecutor.
clearing cases In reference to the status of a criminal offense, knowing the perpetrator of the crime, as asserted by the police or prosecutor.
sentence bargaining Negotiating with the prosecutor for a reduction in length of sentence, reduction from capital murder to imprisonment, probation rather than incarceration, or institution where the sentence is to be served in return for a guilty plea.
sentence bargaining Negotiating with the prosecutor for a reduction in length of sentence, reduction from capital murder to imprisonment, probation rather than incarceration, or institution where the sentence is to be served in return for a guilty plea.
Missouri v. Frye and Lafler v. Cooper The two cases that extended the constitutional rights of criminal defendants to effective counsel during plea negotiations.
trial penalty The fact that the sentences for people who go to trial have grown harsher relative to sentences for those who agree to a plea.
court docket The schedule of cases and hearings.
statute of limitations The length of time between the discovery of the crime and the arrest of the defendant.
Klopfer v. North Carolina The act that requires states to grant defendants a speedy trial.
Barker v. Wingo The case in which the court ruled that the defendant’s failure to request a speedy trial does not negate the defendant’s right to a speedy trial.
Speedy Trial Act of 1974 The act that requires a specific deadline between arrest and trial in federal courts.
rules of evidence Administrative court rules governing the admissibility of evidence in a trial.
contempt of court A charge against any violator of the judge’s courtroom rules, authorizing the judge to impose a fine or term of imprisonment.
gag order A judge’s order to participants and observers at a trial that the evidence and proceedings of the court may not be published, broadcast, or discussed publicly.
bench trial A trial in which the judge rather than a jury makes the determination of guilt.
bailiffs The people who provide courtroom security. Deputy sheriffs provide security for state courts, and Deputy U.S. Marshals provide security for federal courts
indigent A defense counsel provided for a defendant who cannot afford a private attorney.
Taylor v. Louisiana The case that ruled that the exclusion of women from jury duty created an imbalance in the jury pool.
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