In our society we have a well greased group that composes our court room work group. We can picture the court system as a big circle. The criminal is in the center and surrounding this criminal are: the judge, the prosecutor, the defense, bail, jail, appeals and sentences. There are so many different ideas on what areas of our court system that needs to be changed in order to create that perfect society. The final issue that stops all of these changes from occurring comes down to the budget our court systems are faced with. In order to create more jails, we need more money. In order to hire more police officers, we need more money. And in order to create more courts and court work groups, we need more money. There are several areas in which we can attempt to create more programs, more hiring opportunities in law enforcement and more court room work group individuals with the limited budget we have been given to work with. The following changes that could be made would help create our perfect court system.
Court Work Groups
Law enforcement officials, prosecutors, defenders and judges are not elected officials. These are individuals who have chosen to go into their prospective career areas. In the perfect world, there would be three main ways in which these individuals can go into their positions: they can be appointed, elected or put into their position through the merit system. Community would be able to play a much more active role if these individuals were elected into their positions. The only problem with this is the time that it would take to have every official elected. If we simply use the merit system we are basically eliminating the community involvement altogether.
Prosecutors are the main players in the court room work groups. These individuals are given the task of how to move the trial along and what types of sentences should be asked to the judge after the trial has taken place. There are several methods that prosecutors should employ to deal with crimes. One of these methods could be implementing diversion programs for criminals. Again, by placing such a program on the books this would put society more in charge of what is happening to criminals in their communities.
Misconduct of Court Room Players
In the courtroom, just as outside of the courtroom, there are always times in which misconduct of a courtroom player takes place. In today’s society, misconduct is usually dealt with by removing the individual from their position and if necessary bringing criminal charges against the individual. In the perfect society, we would continue to remove individuals from their positions if misconduct is proven and we cannot avoid bringing about criminal charges because this would just allow other courtroom players to believe that they could get away with crime.
When a jury list is chosen, our society mainly uses the list that is created when an individual goes to vote. Although this does provide the jury list with a good mixture of our society, we should begin using list from the department of motor vehicles and possibly the lists from utility companies. If we utilized such lists we could broaden our jury list even more. The simply fact is that not everyone votes so not everyone is going to have a change to be on a jury. When a jury list is chosen and the final number of jurors has to be decided, there should continue to be twelve individuals who come to a final decision. The final decision should be a voted on and agreed on by all twelve jurors.
Politics and the Court System
When we talk about the role politics play in the court room we have to focus on the lawyers. Lawyers become “politicians,” and law firms are often enough the home of politics. Law firms bring into the firm politician-lawyers who have left government service, or they actively promote the political ambitions of individual members of the firm. But this kind of involvement in politics by lawyers and the law firm is simply an extension of the electoral conception of politics and does not help us understand the politics of ethics in legal education. Following this electoral conception of politics, those who are not “politicians” can disclaim that what they do is political.
Lawyers, regardless of their role in traditional electoral politics, are nevertheless “political.” Many lawyers have an explicit sense of political purpose in their work, and for them layering is a stage upon which politics can be practiced, and moral purposes pursued. One reason, among others, that students come to law school is the desire to be in a profession that can effect social change. Whatever the political climate may be, some students are concerned about social justice. The idealism that brings students to law involves a social and political vision. Even these students, however, are often unable to maintain their idealism when confronted with the reality of law schooling.
When a criminal is sentenced for the crime they have committed strict guidelines are often followed. These guidelines have been established over many centuries. The sentence more often than not fits the crime, not so much the criminal. There is many times in which the courtroom players need to take into consideration the fact that although the sentence should fit the crime, the individual who has been accused may not have any criminal background and the crime that has been committed should be taken into consideration. An example of this would be an individual who writes a check that bounces in the amount of $50. In Arizona, this individual would go to jail if they did not take care of this. I feel as though this type of crime should be looked at and the punishment needs to fit the criminal not the crime.
Our inmates seem to have the best of situations when it comes to the appeal process. When an individual is sentenced, they know up front that they will be going through several appeals before the final decision is even enforced fully. I do not believe that inmates should be given so many appeals. I think one appeal should be granted to the inmate and after that the sentence that is given at the appeal needs to stand. We waste too much money and time watching inmates go through the appeal process. The only exception to this would be if an inmate is on death row. I would think that two appeals would be enough for these cases. We have too many ways in which forensics can guarantee evidence and we have strict procedures that we follow in the court room so why continue to appeal throughout the years when in the end the sentence will stand as is.
A juvenile in our society is not considered an adult until the age of 18. I continue to believe that this age should stand as far as bringing a juvenile case to the adult courts. Although 18 is simply a number and some juveniles act very much like adults, especially when the crime they have committed is taken into consideration, I still do not feel as though any individual under the age of 18 should have their case moved to the adult courts. I believe that all states should have separate court systems for juvenile cases. There are currently three states that have this system in place. I do not feel as though it is fair to lump both juveniles and adults into the same court system. If we had a separate system for juveniles we could have lawyers and judges who specialize in juvenile issues and cases. This would help guarantee a fair trial.
In our society the media plays an extremely important role in our court rooms. We even have a television channel that is devoted to keeping citizens informed of current cases. (Court TV) Although I believe the media is a necessity in our society, I am a firm believer that the media should not be allowed into any court room hearing. I believe information can be given to the media after the trial is over or after each day of trials. The problem I see with the media in the court rooms is the “drama” that is played out for the community. I also do not feel like an individual can always get a fair trial if the media is constantly showing court room information to citizens. The media has a habit of making sure the public sees the wrong but not so often the good. When our communities watch the news the expect to see all of the bad stuff, but why can’t the media show both sides? If they would do this it would help society realize that law enforcement and the court system is not the “bad guys” that the media portrays. I feel the media should have extremely limited access to our court rooms in order to guarantee our system gives a fair trial to every individual.
Although we would all like to see the perfect world and the perfect court system, there are so many areas that would need to be evaluated before such an occurrence would ever take place. Each individual has their ideas on what the perfect court system would be like. Overall, the United States does a good job at trying to make sure each individual gets the fairness they deserve in our court system. Through the next few decades we can expect many changes in the court system. This is due to the many changes that have been taking place not only in our law enforcement practices, such as forensic techniques, but also in the changing laws on our books. The perfect court system is in the eye of the beholder.
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