Criminal Justice 101

Question 1 A. The court structure in Kansas consists of four levels and they are the municipal court, district court, the court of appeals and the supreme court. All four levels are important and play slightly different roles depending on the crime.

The municipal court is where people go when they have speeding, stop sign tickets, misdemeanor traffic violations, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving with a suspended license and expired plates. They may also hear animal ordinance public offense cases as well.In municipal court you will have an arraignment where you are able to please guilty, not guilty or no contest. You do have the right to an attorney but this court does not have jury trials.

Jail time or fines are usually what happens when you are found guilty. District courts are created by the Constitution. They are the trial courts of Kansas with jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, including divorce and domestic relations, damage suits, probate and administration of estates, guardianships, conservatorships, care of the mentally ill, juvenile matters, and small claims.It is here that the criminal and civil jury trials are held.

Appeals may be taken from the district courts to the Court of Appeals and in some cases to the Supreme Court. The court of appeals is where you would go after the district court if you are looking to appeal a conviction. The court of appeals judges ordinarily do not conduct trials. They decide an appealed case by reading the trial and written briefs filed by the parties, and hearing arguments by the lawyers.

They research and review the law involved in the case and then write an opinion.The supreme court is often called the court of last resort, because this is the last place to go to try and appeal a conviction. Justices of the Supreme Court ordinarily do not conduct trials. They decide an appealed case by reading the record of the trial and briefs filed by the parties, and hearing arguments of lawyers. They research the law involved in the case and then write an opinion.

B. In the United States today, there is no standard when it comes to punishment and sentencing. This area of the criminal justice system is one that is in constant flux.Sentencing practices and goals are always under scrutiny. From “getting tough on crime” to more rehabilitative approaches, the views and goals of sentencing are ever-changing. Today there are many things the criminal justice system aims to do by imposing punishments and sentences.

Goals of punishment have moved from satisfying the victim, as in early days, to more of a broad scale. There are theories on how punishment and sentencing may serve to reduce crime as a whole. General and specific deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution, and restoration are just some of these goals.General deterrence is the idea that people refrain from crime because they fear the punishment that others have received. This means that one might be dissuaded from committing a crime if he/she knows it carries a harsh punishment. Critics of this theory point out that many criminals do not take the time to consider punishment.

Many of them do not believe they will be the one to get caught. Also, general deterrence does not take into account the frame of mind a criminal is in at the time of the commission of a crime. Specific deterrence is similar to general deterrence, but on a smaller scale.It assumes that a swift and severe punishment will sway criminals from committing an act again.

You can compare specific deterrence to disciplining a child. You hope that by disciplining a child for misbehaving, they will stop the unwanted action. Unfortunately in the criminal world, this doesn’t always work. A criminal cannot commit new crimes on the street when they are locked up in a prison. This is the idea behind incapacitation..

Incapacitation includes imprisonment, as well as the ultimate incapacitator, capital punishment.It is true that someone cannot rob a liquor store when they are imprisoned, but that does not necessarily mean they cannot commit crimes. In fact, being in prison can sometimes encourage new criminal behavior. Everything from assaults, rapes and even murders occur in prisons across the country. Inmates can also learn ways to perfect their criminal life.

As with other theories of punishment though, there is research that invalidates and research that supports incapacitation. Rehabilitation assumes criminal behavior can be improved with non-punitive methods.Rehabilitation, although non-punitive, usually occurs along side punishment. For instance an incarcerated person may be given many rehabilitative options. Mental health programming, substance abuse counseling and even education programming exist in modern day correctional facilities. A judge may sentence someone to attend rehabilitative programming as a part of probation or it may be included as a stipulation in a plea agreement.

At the core of rehabilitation is the thought that a criminal is flawed, often through no fault of their own.Poverty, mental health issues, or childhood trauma may all contribute to a criminal life and rehabilitation attempts to aid in a sort of recovery. If a person is cured of their issues, perhaps they will not recidivate. A very simple, yet popular and long-standing goal of sentencing is retribution.

Criminals are punished according to their crime because they deserve punishment. The idea that a certain crime equals a certain punishment is very simple and could explain its appeal. This theory promotes equal treatment of offenders convicted of the same crime.It is this theory that has led to many structured sentencing guidelines. Restoration is a sentencing goal that attempts to make the victim whole. In criminal cases, victims have an opportunity to express the full impact of the crime upon their lives, to receive answers to any lingering questions about the incident, and to participate in holding the offender accountable for his or her actions.

Offenders can tell their story of why the crime occurred and how it has affected their lives. They are given an opportunity o make things right with the victim—to the degree possible—through some form of compensation. In social justice cases, impoverished people such as foster children are given the opportunity to describe what they hope for their futures and make concrete plans for transitioning out of state custody in a group process with their supporters. In criminal cases, types of compensation include, but are not limited to: money, community service in general, community service specific to the deed, self-education to prevent recidivism, and/or expression of remorseI think the best sentencing goal would be one that encompasses all of the goals. I believe that the offender should get a punishment that they deserve and that they should be incarcerated for their crimes as long as the offense is serious.

I also think that offenders should be afraid of incarceration and that they should be made to work during their time in jail and try and pay back the people that they hurt.. But I also think that we should try our best to rehabilitate them while they are in custody so that hopefully when they get out they can be valued members of the community.Obviously this is a very difficult solution that may not work.

If I had to pick the one goal that I think is this best, I would pick rehabilitation because I believe that we need to try and make the offenders whole again too. The goal I like the least is retribution because I don’t feel violence should be an answer. 2. The system f early release of inmates, which we know today as parole, can be traced to as early as 1864. At that time the Governor, vested with constitutional authority, enjoyed the power to commute or reduce an inmate’s sentence when deemed appropriate and advisable.To offer assistance to the Governor, the 1885 Legislature created a Board of Pardons, whose function was to review commutation or pardon applications and report their recommendations to the Governor.

In 1901, the Legislature again addressed the area of early release of inmates and empowered the Governor to set certain inmates free under circumstances and conditions quite similar to today’s parole. In fact, this legislation was the first to ever use the word “parole. ” The Governor was required to make certain findings before authorizing an inmate’s release under this system.He had to be convinced that the inmate had served an adequate amount of time to be reformed. The Governor also had to find that the inmate could be released without endangering the community and that the inmate could find suitable employment upon release. As with today’s parole, conditions were attached to this privileged release.

The inmate was required to report regularly to the Warden; refrain from using intoxicating liquors and gambling; refrain from frequenting places where intoxicating liquor was sold or where gambling occurred; and refrain from associating with criminals and unworthy associates.An inmate could be incarcerated for violating these conditions and might not again be released until the expiration of his sentence – a much stricter requirement than today. It was not until 1903 that a release procedure was adopted that was independent of the Governor’s power. The Legislature created a Prison Board comprised of the Board of Directors and the Warden of the Penitentiary. The Board could parole inmates who had served their minimum sentences and had secured residence and employment.Conditions were attached to those releases and revocation was available when conditions were violated.

Over 50 years passed without substantive modifications in the Prison Board or its power. In 1957, however, the Prison Board was abolished and the Board of Probation and Parole was created. This Board had five part-time members who were appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. No more than three could share the same political affiliation and the membership had to include an attorney, a minister, a businessman and a farmer, with the fifth member being chosen at-large.The Board size was decreased in 1961 to three members, who received an annual salary as opposed to the previous per diem allowance.

As before, the appointments were made by the Governor and approved by the Senate. The authority to grant or deny parole, and the powers attendant therewith, were vested exclusively in this Board while the Governor retained control over pardons and commutations. After a century of development and growth, the parole system finally emerged. It was allowed to separate from the Governor’s authority and was acknowledged as an independent entity.

The Board of Probation and Parole had the responsibility not only to decide whom to parole, but also to supervise those placed on parole and those whom sentencing judges had placed on probation. That supervising task remained with the Board until 1974. At that time the Board of Probation and Parole was abolished and replaced by the Kansas Adult Authority. This Board had five members, with no more than three permitted to be from the same political party.

One member was required to be an attorney, and two of the others from the fields of medicine, psychiatry, sociology, or psychology.With the removal of parole and probation supervision from its jurisdictions, the Board focused on parole decisions, policies, and procedures; revocation of parole violators; discharge of parolees from supervision; and review of pardon and clemency applications 3. The creation of juvenile justice systems was based on conceptions of rehabilitation and treatment, not on punishment. For this reason, up until the 1960s persons working in the juvenile justice system and those working in criminal justice generally were allowed an enormous amount of discretion when making decisions about youth.Discretion exists when a person of authority can choose several types of formal and informal actions. With increased discretion and no formal procedures to handle juveniles, criminal justice agents could then act in the best interest of the child.

For this reason, punishment policies and procedural safeguards that existed in the adult criminal justice system were not regularly required or operating in juvenile justice systems The idea was that juvenile justice would be individualized for each youth and it would be based on a rehabilitative and treatment philosophy.Police were to formally process youth into the system only if it appeared necessary to curb future misconduct or if it were necessary given the seriousness of the suspected offense In a landmark case, In re Gault, the Supreme Court sparked the beginning of a juvenile justice reform that remains ongoing. The legal response to juvenile delinquency has changed dramatically since the Gault decision. In Gault, the Court began, unintentionally, the process of criminalizing the juvenile justice system and transforming it into what many regard as a near mirror image of the adult criminal justice system The decision in Gault equired states to give juveniles many procedural safeguards that were previously only required for adult suspects. Before this time, juveniles had no regulated rights from state to state, though some states did allocate rights to juveniles before Gault, even though they were not required to do so by Supreme Court standards. Two Supreme Court rulings directly affected police handling of juveniles.

In Gault, the Supreme Court clarified that juveniles were protected from self-incrimination and that they had a right to counsel.They also had the right to know the charges that were against them nd to confront or cross examine witnesses. In re Winship, was a United States Supreme Court decision which held that when a juvenile is charged with an act which would be a crime if committed by an adult, every element of the offense must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The case has come to stand for a broader proposition, however, which is that in any criminal prosecution, every essential element of the offense must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. McKeiver v.

Pennsylvania, was a decision of the United States Supreme Court.The Court held that juveniles in juvenile criminal proceedings were not entitled to a jury trial by the Sixth or Fourteenth Amendments. Although the right to a jury trial is not guaranteed by the U. S Constitution in these cases, states may, and some do, employ jury trials in juvenile proceedings if they wish to do so. Kansas is the first State in the Country to articulate that the right should be extended to juveniles as a matter of right under its State Constitution.

Illinois v. Montanez was a decision of the United States Supreme Court. Jacqueline Montanez was charged as an adult at 15 years old with murder.She was not allowed to speak with her Mother and refused to have a lawyer present. She was convicted of murder but the Illinois Court of Appeals reversed the decision, saying that since the girls mother was not allowed to be present at her daughter’s interrogation, the confession should have been repressed.

In refusing to the hear the case, The Supreme Court indicated its agreement. In Breed v Jones, the Supreme Court held that a juvenile court could not adjudicate a child for an offense and then transfer the case to adult criminal court for the same offense as that would constitute double jeopardy.In the years after Gault, the Supreme Court stopped short of making juveniles’ rights identical to those of adults. While juveniles could avoid double jeopardy and could only be adjudicated delinquent by proof beyond a reasonable doubt , the court held that they were not entitled to jury trials or to have strict Fourth Amendment procedures apply in schools . In addition, because children are always in some form of custody, the Supreme Court approved pretrial preventive detention or the child’s own good.

Juveniles also have no constitutional right to bail or speedy trial.