but if you want paid i have another one that i will pay 30.00 for if you could do it.Review Ch. 8 in The Courts in Our Criminal Justice System. Complete the matrix in Appendix C found on your aXcess page.Directions Review pp. 216-35 in The Courts in Our Criminal Justice System. Identify five courtroom participants listed in the text between pp. 216-35. Then, describe each courtroom participant’s role you chose. Each response must be about 30 words in length. Then, select examples from fictional portrayals of the courtroom found in books, movies, and television, for example, The Runaway Jury, A Few Good Men, or Law and Order to make a comparison between reality and fiction. Choose two of the five courtroom participants you described and compare their fictional portrayal to their real-life role in the courtroom. Be sure to cite specific examples of how media portrayals of courtroom participants are accurate or inaccurate. Use the Court TV Web site at http://www.courttv.com/home_primetime/index.html
to help your research. Your response must be 100 to 150 words in length. Post this assignment as an attachment. Identify the Courtroom Participant Describe the role of the courtroom participant in the courtroom process (about 30 words in length) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Courtroom Participants: Fiction versus Reality Type your response here. Now here is what you need to read to complete this Step 8 Jurors and Other Key Participants in the Courtroom Play Their Roles 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 213 ? Imagine a job description that looks something like this: Wanted: People needed to play a crucial role in the legal system. You will be responsible for jointly deciding issues of critical importance, perhaps even life or death significance. No prior knowledge of the legal system or how to make important decisions is required; in fact, the less knowledge of the legal system you have, the better. Depending upon the assignment you receive, the position may require you to sit through weeks, months, or (in rare instances) even years of testimony, and to remember what you hear and see without taking any notes. You must also be able to follow legal instructions to the letter, even when you are not sure what they mean. Potential job benefits: An inside look at the workings of your legal system, and a feeling of pride and satisfaction in your work; the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the business of government. Potential job side effects:You might be left wondering whether you made the correct decision; you may experience physical and emotional symptoms of stress; and your decisions may be strongly criticized by a number of people who are highly interested in the work that you perform. Eligibility criteria: U.S. citizen at least eighteen years of age who can speak and understand English, who has never been convicted of a felony. You must be able to make decisions in a fair and impartial way. You must be available for the position during weekday business hours for an indefinite period of time (the average time for each assignment is three days; but occasionally assignments of several months or even years occur). Pay: Depending on your state, you will be paid from $5.00 to $40.00 per day. You will not be paid for your first day of service, and you will not be reimbursed for any expenses you incur in connection with this work. However, in some instances, free bus passes may be available. Job Title: Juror. Now imagine that instead of applying for this job, you receive a notice in the mail that your local court is summoning you for jury duty. The notice gives none of the information that the “job description” above provided; but this is indeed a job and it is not optional—it’s mandatory. In fact, if you toss that jury summons, you are committing a misdemeanor. Depending upon the policies and resources in your county, you could find yourself in jail for not showing up for jury duty. If you are like many people, your reaction to receiving a jury summons in the mail may be “I don’t have time for this!” (see Box 8.1 for one juror’s lament about jury duty). Yet while the job of a juror is often quite demanding and underappreciated, it is critically important. Jurors play a central role in our legal system, and as such they are key participants in the courtroom process. This chapter will describe the role of jurors and briefly discuss the roles of other participants in the courtroom process. 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 N 43 L 214 Jurors and Other Key Participants in the Courtroom Play Their Roles BOX 8.1 A Bird’s-Eye View from the Jury Impaneling Room The following timeline, kept by a woman who was asked to show up for jury duty, illustrates why citizens are sometimes disappointed when notices for jury duty appear in their mailboxes. As you read her account, think about ways the courts could make her “duty” less onerous. Monday, January, 24, 2000 8:30 A.M.: Sit down in jury impaneling room. 8:45 A.M.: Judge M starts talking to us, telling us what to expect of our day, and telling us how happy he is that we “chose” to be there. 9:00 A.M.: District Clerk Billy X starts talking to us, telling us what to expect of our day and how happy he is that we “chose” to be there, tells jokes, some that he’s obviously gotten off the Internet. Note to self: Send Billy some new jokes. 9:40 A.M.: Note to self: Don’t drink that second cup of coffee tomorrow morning. 10:00 A.M.: District Clerk assigns us to courtrooms. I don’t have to be in the courtroom until 1:30 P.M. 10:25 A.M.: Leave courthouse and drive across town to get home. Have lunch while I’m home, pick up the house, clean up the kitchen. 1:30 P.M.: Arrive back in courtroom, find assigned (by juror number) seat. Pass juror information card to my right, placing my juror information card on top of stack as per bailiff’s instructions. 1:33 P.M.: Go stand outside in the hall and wait as per bailiff’s instructions. 2:05 P.M.: Note to self: Bring a better book to read tomorrow. 2:13 P.M.: Forty minutes after sending us to wait in the hall, bailiff comes out and asks us to please wait ten more minutes. 2:24 P.M.: Fifty four minutes after arriving back at courthouse at 1:30 P.M., called back into courtroom, seated in assigned seats. Handed juror information card and told that in the previous fifty minutes all ten cases on the Judge docket were cleared (they01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 N 42 L 43 Juror: A Multipurpose Role 215 Total intake for the day: $6.00 and a headache. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not so much complaining about the jury system, but they just don’t seem to understand why no one looks forward to jury duty. Approximately 1,800 jurors were called today; approximately 1,100 showed up, however many of them were late because they could not find parking places because there are only about 850 parking spaces in the county courthouse parking lot. The courthouse is in the middle of downtown and with all the other people going downtown to work, it created a minor traffic jam at the corner of the courthouse with nowhere for these people to go. Then, when they did get inside the courthouse (an hour and half late) into the jury impaneling room, there was nowhere for them to sit; it was standing room only because the room only holds 1,000 people. I’m still wondering what would have come of it if the Fire Marshall had been there. Would he have ticketed the county for exceeding the occupancy limit in the jury impaneling room? And no one understands why people don’t want to go to jury duty. Summon me to a building under the penalty of a $100 fine (or in some cases jail time) if I don’t show up, don’t give me any place to park and nowhere to sit for the day, and I’ll “volunteer” for it every time (Ener, 2000).JURORS: KEY PLAYERS IN THE COURTROOM Jurors are key participants in the criminal justice system even though most cases are plea-bargained before trial because most cases are plea-bargained “in the shadow of the jury,” with great concern for what a jury might think if the case did come to trial. Prosecutors’ decisions about whether or not to pursue a case are often based on assessments of how jurors would respond. For this reason, the influence of the jury system extends far beyond the actual verdicts rendered in courtrooms. As we’ll see in the chapter on trials, jury selection and the jury’s decisionmaking processes are major phases in the trial process. But before discussing those, this chapter takes a look at the role that jurors are expected to play in court. JUROR: A MULTIPURPOSE ROLE The opportunity for ordinary folks to participate in the legal process as jurors is one of the key aspects of a democratic government in its most basic form. But why should we have juries composed of ordinary citizens, especially when so many people do not want to take the time to serve as jurors? The answers lie in looking at the role that jurors play in our legal system. Juries in colonial America were intended to be a bulwark against government oppression of citizens, especially citizens whose political activities displeased the government. This central role for juries continues today. American jurors have always been the “triers of fact” at trial. Historically, jurors in America were empowered to decide both the law and the facts in a given case. In contrast, modern-day jurors are restricted to deciding only the facts in a case, while judges determine the law. Was the defendant near the area at the time of the crime? Does the evidence put the defendant at the scene? Did the accused have a motive for the offense? An opportunity to commit the crime? How does the defense’s portrayal of events compare to the prosecution’s? But jurors are not simply fact finders. If this were the only function of juries, why not use professional fact finders with expertise in investigation, or professionals known for logical thinking or specialized knowledge (for example, blue ribbon juries in complex technical cases)? The use of laypeople instead of fact-finding professionals illustrates the highly political and symbolic aspects of the role that jurors play. Indeed, the framers of the Constitution considered trial by a jury of peers (members of the defendant’s community) to be an important constitutional right because of the unique status of jurors as legal amateurs rather than hired officials. A critical facet of the role that jurors play in the court system is serving as “the conscience of the community,” bringing community values and beliefs to bear on the process of justice. This provides yet another protection against government oppression insofar as citizens serving as jurors can send a message about the law and the way it is applied. Thus, for example, jurors in Michigan acquitted Dr. Jack Kevorkian on charges of assisted suicide in four separate trials, although he was later convicted of murder after he videotaped an assisted suicide and his own participation in the event (Silverglate, 1999).COURTROOM PARTICIPANTS: OTHER KEY ROLES IN THE COURTROOM The Defendant Consider the possibility that you might become a defendant in a criminal or civil case. “No way,” you say, “I have done nothing wrong!” Yes, quite true. But that does not mean that you cannot be suspected, charged, and tried for a crime, or sued civilly. The key legal concept that a suspect must be considered “innocent until proven guilty” is actually an explicit reminder that innocent people can and do become defendants—and that erroneous convictions of innocent people can occur (Radelet, Bedau, and Putnam, 1992; Connors et al., 1996). Circumstances or prejudices can create the appearance of guilt, and due process protections may be insufficient to protect someone accused of a crime. In some circumstances, simply having been accused can lead some people to assume that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” (Willis, 1992). This is the major challenge that people accused of a crime must battle. What are the typical characteristics of defendants? That depends upon what type of offense one considers. For “white-collar crimes,” depending upon what either plea-bargained or pled guilty) and we can go home for the day.types of offenses are included in this definition, the typical individual defendant is usually a white, middle-aged, middle-class male (Daly, 1989). But corporations can be defendants in white-collar crime cases as well (see Box 8.2), so describing the “typical” white-collar crime defendant must take this into account. For “street crimes,” defendants are typically young, male, and disproportionately likely to be ethnic minorities. Let’s break down this profile by its components. Statistically, defendants are more likely to be from the fifteen to twenty-five age group than any other age group (Uniform Crime Reports, 1994, p. 227). Research shows that offenses drop significantly after age thirty (Steffensmeier and Harer, 1991); many possible reasons have been put forth as potential explanations for this, including the possibility that offenders may simply “mature out of crime,” or may find better access to legitimate income-generating activities, or may feel more risk-averse as they grow older, start families, and form stronger ties to the community. The vast majority of street crime defendants are male, especially in the cases of violent crime (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2001). While the percentage of females who are charged with a crime has increased relative to both their numbers in the past and to the number of males charged with crimes, increasing gender equality has not brought a large overall increase in female criminality, contrary to 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 N 42 L 43 Courtroom Participants:Other Key Roles in the Courtroom 217 BOX 8.2 Corporate Defendants Can a corporation be found culpable for a criminal or civil offense? Not the people who created the corporation, or the people who are employed by it, but the corporation itself, as a legal entity? Yes, indeed. While you are an example of a “natural person” in the eyes of the law, a corporation can be considered a “legal person,” and as such it can be charged with violating the law and held responsible. Of course, it’s a bit difficult to sentence a corporation; imagine trying to send one to prison. But this legal concept of the corporation as defendant recognizes that in many instances, corporate crimes cannot be tied to any one particular person or group of people; perhaps the original people who set the crime in motion have long since left the company, or the organization’s size and complexity masks the human agents behind the crimes. Corporate crimes often unfold over long periods of time and may reflect the actions of many people, making it very difficult to determine the degree to which individual offenders within the corporation may be culpable. How does one sentence a corporation found guilty of a criminal offense when there are no “natural persons” charged with the crime? The most common sanction is to fine the corporation. The idea is to make the people responsible for conducting corporate business accountable for preventing future crimes. Furthermore, since a corporation is first and foremost a business, a large fine can directly affect a company’s profitability and public image. However, the effectiveness of fines as a corporate sanction is a subject of continuing debate.the expectations of some theorists (Donziger, 1996, p. 148). Why are defendants so much more likely to be male than female? This question raises a host of other questions and controversial issues, from the nature of gender and the relative influence of social and biological influences on behavior (the “nature versus nurture” question) to the question of whether females and males are equally likely to be defined and sanctioned as criminals. Although the gender question is far from being conclusively answered, three things seem clear from research on crime, gender, and legal system responses: first, females can and do commit serious crimes, including violent crimes; second, notwithstanding this, males commit the vast majority of violent and nonviolent crimes; third, females are sometimes treated more leniently and sometimes treated more severely than males for their crimes, depending upon the nature of the crime, the historical era, and other factors. The “war on drugs” has resulted in disproportionate increases in the number of women incarcerated for relatively minor drug crimes in recent years (U.S. Department of Justice, 1994; Bloom, Chesney- Lind, and Owen, 1994). However, recent research shows that overall, women tend to be treated more leniently than men for their crimes (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1994). The fact that people from ethnic minorities are disproportionately likely to be represented among street crime defendants raises some very important questions. Does this reflect a difference in actual rates of offending; a difference in rates of arrest, prosecution, and conviction; or a combination of both? If so, what are the possible reasons for such disparities? The evidence suggests that the answer varies with the type of offense. Young minority males are disproportionately likely, compared to their numbers in the general population, to be both perpetrators and victims of homicide (Pallone and Hennessy, 1999; Snyder and Sickmund, 1999, p. 54). For other crimes, much evidence suggests that differences in the commission of crime between ethnic groups do not explain the disproportionate representation of people of color as defendants. America’s “war on drugs” has disproportionately affected minority people and minority communities, especially African Americans and Hispanics (Tonry, 1995). For example, African Americans represented 35 percent of defendants arrested for drugs, 55 percent of those convicted, and 74 percent of those sentenced to prison, despite the fact that they represented only 15 percent of illegal drug users (Mauer, 1992). In California, research shows that African Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely to be subjected to arrests that are later “unfounded” due to lack of evidence than whites (Schmitt, 1991; Miller, 1996). Government research on drug interdiction efforts by the U.S. Customs Service reveals that use of racial profiling in searches of airline passengers was not only invasive of passengers’ privacy, it was also ineffective (Watson, 2000). The following excerpt from the United States General Accounting Office report, which examined over 100,000 incidents of passenger searches at major U.S. airports, illustrates this: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 N 43 L 218 Jurors and Other Key Participants in the Courtroom Play Their Roles ISBN: 0-536-16544-0 The Generally, searched passengers of particular races and gender were more likely than other passengers to be subjected to more intrusive types of personal searches (being strip-searched or x-rayed) after being subjected to frisks or patdowns. However, in some cases those types of passengers who were more likely to be subjected to more intrusive personal searches were not as likely to be found carrying contraband. Specifically, White men and women and Black women were more likely than Black men and Hispanic men and women to be strip-searched rather than patted down or frisked, but they were less likely to be found carrying contraband. The most pronounced difference occurred with Black women who were U.S. citizens. They were 9 times more likely than White women who were U.S. citizens to be x-rayed after being frisked or patted down in fiscal year 1998. But on the basis of x-ray results, Black women who were U.S. citizens were less than half as likely to be found carrying contraband as White women who were U.S. citizens (General Accounting Office, 2000, p. 2) Hispanic women . . . were 4 times as likely to be x-rayed as White women were, but they were about two thirds as likely to have contraband found during an x-ray. (GAO, 2000, p. 15). Such findings suggest that the disproportionate representation of African Americans among drug defendants is a complex phenomenon requiring examination of factors that result in disparate treatment of African Americans (Harvard Law Review, 1988). What kinds of things could result in disparate treatment? Such factors could include individual discrimination by criminal justice system actors such as police, as well as “legitimate contextual factors” (Walker, Spohn, and DeLone, 2000), such as bail policies and visibility factors. For example, bail decisions favor middle-class rather than poor defendants. A greater percentage of African Americans and Hispanics (compared to other ethnic groups) are poor, so these groups are disproportionately affected by bail guidelines. Another example of this is provided by sentencing policies for crack versus powder cocaine use. Sentencing policy for crack versus powder cocaine has a disparate impact on African American dealers; despite research showing that roughly the same percentage of people from both ethnic groups use cocaine. Why the disparity? Research also shows that whites deal and use powder cocaine, while blacks deal and use crack cocaine. Therefore, federal sentencing guidelines that are much harsher on crimes involving crack cocaine (a mandatory five-year prison sentence for five grams of crack versus five hundred grams of powder) have disproportionately affected African Americans (Reiman, 2001, p. 130). Box 8.3 provides more detail on the concepts of discrimination and disparity. The key point to keep in mind is that differences in treatment may or may not reflect individual bias, depending on the context. As one scholar notes, “. . . a racial disparity is not necessarily indicative of a racial discrimination. A disparity is often evidence of discrimination. But one must keep in mind that a racial disparity may stem from causes other than disparate treatment” (Kennedy, 1997, p. 9). White-Collar Defendants The disproportionate impact of the “war on drugs” on poor and minority communities illustrates the fact that inequities in the criminal justice process reflect differences Discrimination and Disparities in Treatment of Defendants When considering reasons for disparities (that is, differences) in treatment of defendants by demographic characteristics, such as social class, ethnicity, and gender, it is important to be aware of the distinction between individual discrimination and institutional discrimination. Individual discrimination is what most people typically think of when they hear the word “discrimination.” If a police officer, a prosecutor, a judge, or a juror treats someone differently (more harshly or more leniently) because of the person’s ethnicity, gender, social class, sexual orientation, or other demographic characteristics, then this is an example of bias on the part of the individual. This bias may be consciously prejudiced; or it may be the result of unconscious stereotyping on the part of the individual: In other words, an individual may or may not realize they are acting in a biased manner. For example, the phenomenon of the “self-fulfilling prophecy” can come into play. This is the idea that your observations reflect your expectations, and that this selective observation then serves to support your expectations. For example, if you are a shopkeeper who believes that teenagers are more likely to shoplift than people of other ages, then you are probably going to watch teens much more closely than other people when they enter your store. Of course, because you are closely monitoring teenagers, you are more likely to detect incidents of shoplifting by people in that age group, and correspondingly less likely to detect shoplifting by people in other age groups. Thus, your selective focus on teens means you catch them shoplifting more frequently than you catch senior citizens or middle-aged people who are shoplifting. Given this, your experiences will thus confirm your personal theory that when it comes to theft from your store, “teens are the problem.” Thus even if most of the shoplifters in your store are actually people in their thirties, you won’t discover that unless you change your observation strategies. Similarly, some police officers’ expectations that certain types of people (young men dressed in a certain way, for example) are more likely than others to be troublemakers may mean that police selectively focus more attention on them rather than others. Naturally, this means that police are more likely to spot illegal behavior by those “under the microscope,” so to speak, than by others less closely watched. An illustration of this idea is provided by the words of the National Criminal Justice Commission, commenting on the war on drugs: “Police found more drugs in minority communities because that is where they looked for them. Had they pointed the drug war at college campuses, it is likely that our jails would now be filled overwhelmingly with university students” (Donziger, 1996, p. 115). Institutional discrimination refers to the idea that the policies, practices, and customs of social institutions can be discriminatory in either intent or impact. For example, laws or policies prohibiting women from working as lawyers or correctional officers, or from serving as jurors, are an example of institutional discrimination that reflect discriminatory intent. That is, such laws or policies on their face reflect the intention to discriminate. On the other hand, some institutional policies or practices may have a discriminatory impact even when they are facially neutral. For example, recruitment policies specifying a height requirement for becoming a police officer have a disproportionate impact on women who would like to become officers. Although the policy is neutral with respect to gender, so that it screens out all applicants, whether male or female, who do not meet height requirements, given the fact that women on average are shorter than men, many more women will be screened out by such a policy in comparison to male applicants (this is the reason police departments have by and large lowered or eliminated height requirements). So, do disparities in treatment reflect discrimination? The concept of contextual discrimination refers to the idea that discrimination in the criminal justice system is not systematic; rather, its occurrence, nature, and frequency depends upon the context. For example, some police departments are more likely to engage in racial profiling than others; some judges are more likely than others to be biased in sentencing. Thus, disparities might reflect individual or institutional discrimination, or some combination of both. Institutional policies, such as bail policy, discussed above, can have a disparate impact, which does not reflect discriminatory intent on the part of individual policymakers. In this case, contextual factors, such as whether a bail candidate has steady employment and ties to the community, may account for differences in treatment of defendants by social class and ethnicity. Therefore, the answer to the question of whether disparities reflect discrimination is “it depends”—on contextual factors.in treatment by both ethnicity and social class. For example, much research has documented the fact that the criminal justice system focuses on “crime in the streets” rather than “crime in the suites”—that is, white-collar crime. The question of how to define white-collar crime is a lively controversy in the academic community, and different definitions of white-collar crime exist. However, the classic definition remains that of Edwin Sutherland, whose landmark work focused attention on the crimes committed by elite businesspeople. Sutherland defined white-collar crime as “crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation” (Sutherland, 1949, p. 9). The legal system usually categorizes white-collar offenses as violations of civil rather than criminal law, and thus white-collar offenders are far less likely to face the possibility of incarceration than “street” criminals. In those cases where a white-collar offense is treated as a crime (instead of or in addition to being classified as a violation of civil law), the penalties prescribed for white-collar crime are far less severe than those for street crimes (Johnson, 1986; Hagan and Palloni, 1986). This disparity in treatment of white-collar and street crimes does not accurately reflect the toll exacted by white-collar crimes on society and individual victims. Far from being “just paper crimes,” white-collar crimes are estimated to cost society significantly more than street crimes in economic costs alone (Conklin, 1977; Cullen, Maakestad, and Cavender, 1987; Levi, 1987). A recent government report estimated the costs of fraud and other economic crimes (which constitute only one category of a wide range of white-collar crimes) to be in the range of $40 billion annually (U.S. Department of Justice, 2000, p. 1). White-collar crime also has equally significant (some would say more significant) actual or potential “secondary costs,” such as the corrosion of public trust in government, business, and economic institutions (Moore and Mills, 1990) and higher costs of insurance, goods, and services (Shenk and Klaus, 1984). Contrary to common misconceptions, white-collar crime can and does involve physical harm, injury, and death; it is a myth that white-collar crime is nonviolent. For example, crimes involving unsafe workplaces, faulty consumer products, medical malpractice, and environmental crimes produce injuries, disease, and deaths on a broader scale than street crimes (Reiman, 2001, pp. 78–98). The Victim The victim’s participation in the legal process reflects the fact that they were thrust into a role they would never have chosen. It may seem odd to refer to the “role” of victims, as if victims somehow simply play an assigned part in the courtroom drama. Undoubtedly, the experience of being victimized can be a life-altering experience. In that sense, victimhood doesn’t feel like a “role” in the conventional sense of the word. Indeed, the victim has no formal legal role in the criminal justice system (Walker, 2001). Yet in another important way, the role of victim is a central one in the legal system. Victims must report crimes in order for the legal process to function. Whereas prosecutors represent society as a whole in their condemnation of the crime and the defendant, the harms suffered by individual victims (and those who care for them) are potent reminders of the gravity of the proceedings taking place in court. The victim’s role helps turn abstract notions of “justice” and “harm” into concrete realities. A recent study by the Department of Justice estimated the cost of victimization at $450 billion (yes, billion) per year, and further calculated that 75 percent of this cost reflected harm to “quality of life” (Miller, Cohen, and Wiersma, 1996). Although this study was based on data from the National Crime Victimization Survey, this figure probably underestimates the costs of victimization for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it is difficult to accurately measure the length and scope of consequences, including physical and psychological harm, financial losses, and life changes such as the effect on the victim’s relationships with other people. But statistics such as the one above become “humanized” when victims enter the courtroom. The victim’s role is to personalize the otherwise bureaucratized, formal nature of the legal proceedings, serving as a reminder to all participants of the reasons why they are gathered in court. In recent years, public attention to the experiences and opinions of crime victims has resulted in a vocal victims’ rights movement. In response, the federal government and many state governments have passed legislation intended to give crime victims a greater voice in the criminal justice process (see Boxes 8.4 and 8.5 for more information). In 2000, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was signed into law, providing $185 million each year from 2001 through 2005 for programs and services to prevent victimization and assist victims (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2001). This major piece of victims’ rights legislation builds on provisions outlined in its predecessor, the 1994 VAWA. The new legislation is groundbreaking in the scope of violence that it addresses through providing 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 N 43 L 222 Jurors and Other Key Participants in the Courtroom Play Their Roles ISBN: 0-536-16544-0 The authorization for the creation and funding of a wide array of programs designed to prevent victimization and provide services to victims, including (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2001): • Programs to provide training for judges and other court personnel on domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, and child abuse • Programs to provide training for police, prosecutors, and judges on violence against people with disabilities • Programs designed to address the problem of dating violence • A directive to the U.S. Attorney General to help develop standardized guidelines for forensic exams in sexual assault cases • Funding and assistance for the maintenance and development of shelters for battered women and their children • Programs to assist law enforcement and victims deal with the crime of stalking • Provision of funds to develop services to provide victims with assistance on related civil legal matters People who are victimized may discover that others are unsure of how to act around them. Victims, particularly those whose experiences have left physical or emotional scars too visible to be ignored, may find other people responding to them primarily in terms of their status or role as a victim. They may find that they share the experience 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 N 42 L 43 Courtroom Participants:Other Key Roles in the Courtroom 223 BOX 8.4 Recent Victims’ Rights Developments States vary in the rights that people have as crime victims, but there are many specific examples of legislation aimed at acknowledging the victim’s rights and role in the legal process. Some examples include: • Legislation providing victim assistance funds to help victims deal with the aftermath of crime (e.g., funds for counseling or medical assistance or to replace damaged property). • Victim notification provisions, whereby crime victims can receive notification when the person convicted of harming them is released from incarceration. With this information, victims can lobby parole boards to attempt to keep convicted criminals incarcerated. • Legal rulings allowing victims and their advocates to make victim impact statements at sentencing hearings (and parole board hearings). • Court-ordered restitution by offenders to victims. • The opportunity to participate voluntarily in victim–offender mediation programs.The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) maintains a Web site with information, publications, and links for people interested in victims, victims’ rights, and related issues. The tollfree number is 1-800-FYI-CALL. The NCVC Web site is www.ncvc.org
. At the state level, the attorney general’s office for your state is usually a good source of information on legislation, policies, resources, and information related to victimization and victims’ rights. At the county and city level, police and prosecutors can provide information on services available to victims and legal policies relevant to victims in that particular jurisdiction. Colleges and universities have a variety of campus resources, depending upon the institution’s size and resources. Sources of information, help, and referrals on victimization issues include the campus police department; the campus health center/counseling center; the campus women’s center (not all campuses, however, have such a center); and student organizations (on campuses where these exist) dedicated to raising awareness and providing information about violence and safety-related issues, such as sexual assault, drunk driving, and drug use.of being defined in terms of “victimhood” with people who are victims of illness or accident; in both instances, the individual’s misfortune may become a defining characteristic. If this occurs, people who have been victimized may find that this new “role” robs them of their individual identity to some degree. People who have been victimized may respond to being labeled in a variety of ways. Sadly, some respond by avoiding contact with others in order to avoid the pain, discomfort, or embarrassment of others’ reactions to their victim status. This may be especially likely if victims are blamed by others for their misfortunes to some degree (see Box 8.6). Unfortunately, societal reactions to victims are often colored by the nature of the relationship between the victim and attacker; for instance, were they You Don’t Always Get What You Deserve—or Deserve What You Get Have you ever left something of value unattended in a public place? Perhaps you left your backpack on a table in the library for a few minutes while you made copies on the machine at the other end of the shelves. Perhaps you left your bicycle parked in front of the student union for just a minute while you ran in to buy a bottle of juice from the café. You may have forgotten your $90.00 biology textbook in your classroom after a particularly interesting discussion of photosynthesis; or perhaps you were reading outside at a table and accidentally left your book on the bench when you decided to leave. There was that camera you left on your beach towel when you and a group of friends decided to play volleyball a few yards away.Hopefully, you’ve never had something stolen from you as a result of circumstances such as these. But if you have, then you know the feelings of regret and anger that being a victim of theft can create. You have been victimized by a crime. Someone, a thief, stole your property. Yes, your actions may have provided the opportunity for the thief to commit the crime, but the thief is the one who decided to commit the crime. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you left your backpack, forgot your book, or even left your living room window open on a sunny afternoon— and a thief spotted your new laptop computer sitting on the coffee table, came in, and stole it while you were out of the room. The point is, you are not to blame: The fact that your actions may have helped provide the thief with the opportunity to commit the crime does not mitigate the fact that the thief is the one who is responsible for the crime. Unfortunately, however, victims sometimes find themselves blamed to some degree for their misfortunes by other people. Why? Surely people can recognize that poor judgment (such as leaving your belongings unattended or leaving the window wide open) is something that most of us have exhibited at some time or another—but that this doesn’t mean we should be blamed when we are victimized. However, the pervasive practice of victim-blaming suggests people often add insult to injury by holding victims at least partially responsible for what happened to them. This may be the case even when it is clear that the victim’s actions in no way provided an opportunity for the crime to occur; such as when women and girls assaulted by soldiers during war are shunned afterwards by some members of their communities. We are back to the question of “why?” Why blame the victims? Part of the answer may lie in our need to try and make sense of the world, our need to believe that the world is a just, fair place where people get what they deserve—and where they deserve what happens to them (Lerner, 1980). In such a world, “good people” have good things happen; and “bad people” presumably reap the consequences of their behavior. In a fair and just world, then, being victimized by crime would only happen to people who somehow deserved such misfortune: that is, people “get what they deserve.” Whether such a world exists is a philosophical question, but whether people believe in such a world is a question social psychologists have examined. Their research shows that individuals vary in the degree of their need to believe in a just world (Lerner, 1980). For some people who have a high need to believe that the world is a just and fair place, it may be psychologically comforting to believe that crime victims “must have” done something to bring misfortune upon themselves. To think otherwise would suggest that the world is unfair and unjust, that bad things can happen to good people . . . in fact, it would suggest that bad things can happen to anyone, which is a scary thought. Thus, people with a high need to believe in a just world may search for explanations for crime in the behavior of victims in an attempt to make sense of the event in a way that is psychologically reassuring (Foley and Pigott, 2000; Hafer, 2000; Kleinke and Meyer, 1990). Nonetheless, whatever the reasons, too often victims are forced to cope with victim-blaming in the aftermath of a crime.strangers, acquaintances, or intimates? Most violent crimes, however, are perpetrated by someone known to the victim, such as a family member, friend, neighbor, coworker, or acquaintance. More murder victims in the United States, for example, are killed by someone they know than by a stranger, although the number of homicides committed by intimates is decreasing (Fox and Zawitz, 2000, p. 2).Victims may respond to their experiences in a variety of ways that are beyond the scope of this discussion to describe. For example, people who have suffered a crime may experience cognitive, emotional, and physical effects that last for years. However, one method of coping that appears to have become more frequent as society moves toward more open discussion of the experiences and needs of victims is to emphasize the victim’s status as a survivor. In choosing to emphasize their strengths in the face of their ordeals, people who have been victimized can redefine their victimhood in the eyes of others. Emphasizing survivorship rather than victimization may potentially provide survivors with an improved sense of control over their lives, which is particularly critical for people who have experienced traumatic events.VICTIMS, DEFENDANTS, AND RIGHTS: A CONFLICT? Although there have been major advances in societal and legal recognition of victims, their rights, and their needs, these changes have not been without controversy. Some have raised concerns that the enhancement of victims’ rights may come at the expense of due process protections for people accused of a crime. For example, in the last decade victims have gained the right to participate in the sentencing phase of death penalty cases and describe the impact the crime has made on their lives (Payne v. Tennessee, 1991). But critics have raised questions about how such “victim impact statements” may influence legal proceedings. Should the testimony of an emotionally distraught victim be taken into account in determining a defendant’s plea bargain, parole chances, or sentence? To what degree should the impact on the victim be considered legally relevant to such determinations? Another example of a controversial change in the law designed to assist victims occurred in California. Until 1994, the statute of limitations allowed prosecutors to file charges against an individual suspected of child molestation up to six years after the crime allegedly occurred. In 1994, the California legislature passed a law changing the statute such that prosecutors could file charges against a molestation suspect up to one year after the victim reported the crime, regardless of when it had occurred (Dolan, 1999). This effectively extended the statute of limitations, because the new provisions allowed prosecutors to file charges based on victim allegations that they had been molested decades earlier (see Step 1 for a discussion of related statutes in Michigan and Washington). The statute was changed in recognition of the fact that molestation victims often do not report their victimization at the time that it is occurring. Under the new law, which is targeted toward crimes involving “substantial sexual contact,” the victim’s allegations must be corroborated by independent evidence, and the testimony of a mental health expert is not considered such evidence. After 1994, prosecutors filed charges in several cases for which the old statute of limitations had previously run out. Defendants challenged this practice as an unconstitutional application of a law ex post facto (after the fact), but lost on appeal in People v. Frazer (Dolan, 1999). Critics have raised questions about whether the prosecution of cases that may be decades old presents due process issues. OTHER COURTROOM PLAYERS Court Administrator and Staff The court administrator and other staff are key players, yet primarily unseen. Court administrators perform a variety of important tasks. With their staff, they create statistical reports issued from the court, such as those documenting the courts’ various dockets (e.g., number of protection orders sought and awarded). They also provide administrative support for the judges, and interact with the public. One court administrator, for example, was asked by the judges in his courthouse to project what their caseload would be in ten years. Court administrators sometimes schedule training for courtroom staff, including judges. Bailiffs Bailiffs assist the judge or magistrate in the courtroom, performing a variety of functions. Depending upon the jurisdiction, bailiffs may be staff members of the court, or they may be sheriff’s deputies or police officers who are periodically assigned to perform the duties of the bailiff. The bailiff’s duties include providing security and helping maintain order in the courtroom. Bailiffs are occasionally required to physically restrain people who become disruptive, aggressive, or threatening to others during court proceedings. For example, defendants may try to escape, or victims of crimes may try to exact revenge in the courtroom, as Ellie Nesler did when she shot and killed her son’s alleged molester during court proceedings (Arax and Dolan, 1997). During a trial, the bailiff escorts the defendant to and from the courtroom, and in many courtrooms, bailiffs swear in witnesses before they testify from the witness box. The bailiff also watches over jurors by escorting them to and from the courtroom, and sometimes to the parking lot after the day’s proceedings. This helps ensure that jury tampering is prevented by discouraging people from contacting jurors while they are on break. If jurors have questions about courtroom proceedings or the judge’s instructions to the jury, they are instructed to contact the bailiff, who will then bring their questions to the judge. And when jurors have finished deliberating, it is the bailiff who takes charge of the official verdict form that the jurors have filled out. As one student who learned about bailiffs from her criminal justice course project put it: The bailiffs that I interviewed did not feel that their job was underappreciated, but they did suggest that the public may not realize all of their duties. The bailiff’s main responsibility is to maintain peace and protect the safety of people in the courtroom, but this explanation does not provide due credit to the bailiff’s vital role. Bailiffs help fill out the large amount of administrative paperwork for each case, and make sure people are in the correct court and are on the calendar for that day. In general, bailiffs help make the court run smoothly. . . . Once a bailiff becomes familiar with a particular judge, he often becomes an irreplaceable asset to the court. Judges and bailiffs who work closely with one another can eventually communicate with a series of verbal and nonverbal cues. (Huntington, 1993) Court Clerks Court clerks assist judges with issues such as scheduling the court calendar, entering evidence into the trial record, and communicating with other members of the courthouse. For example, court clerks communicate with jury managers to determine how many prospective jurors are needed in that particular courtroom, and when. Court clerks maintain the paperwork that is necessary to keep the courtroom functioning, such as the case materials. When forms are necessary, the court clerk is usually the one who ensures that they are in the case file, available to the judge or others who need them. Without the court clerk, the voluminous paperwork that keeps the justice system moving smoothly would have to be filed and preserved by judges or others in the courtroom drama. Court Reporters Court reporters are probably best known from their regular appearance in courtroom docudramas. Court reporters are the individuals who make a record of what is said during the trial. Because appeals will be based on the record made by the court reporter, precision and accuracy are absolutely necessary; the transcript must include every word that is spoken. When attorneys or judges say, “let the record reflect that. . . ,” they are ensuring that certain items, especially nonaudible items, are included in the transcription. If a witness, for example, moves his head in response to a question, one of the attorneys will typically say something like “let the record reflect that the witness nodded his head ‘yes’” so that readers of the transcript will know what the witness was doing. As seen in docudramas, many court reporters use a stenotype, a typewriter with only twenty-two keys, to type in shorthand. If a transcript of the hearing or trial must be made, the shorthand notes can be transcribed into standard English. Some stenotype machines are computerized, so the machine will automatically “translate” the shorthand information into standard English. In fact, some computerized stenotypes can display the information keyed in by the court reporter moments after it is said; in addition to serving the court’s needs, these machines allow for “close captioning” whenever deaf individuals appear in court as defendants, victims, witnesses, or in other capacities. Some new methods of making a record of hearings or trials include audiotaping or videotaping the proceedings.Using audiotapes or videotapes makes the recording less expensive, but then someone must ultimately transcribe all the tapes if a printed record is needed for any reason (e.g., an appeal). Some people feel that voice dictation software may someday be a feasible way to create transcripts without hiring court reporters. At the present, however, that software is not accurate enough to replace court reporters. Jury Commissioners and Their Staff These are the folks who help translate the ideal of “trial by jury” into a daily reality in courthouses across the nation. They handle the practical aspects of summoning citizens to the courthouse for jury duty and ensure that the steps of jury selection are carried out in accordance with the law’s requirements for representativeness. Defense attorneys can and do challenge the representativeness of the jury selection process, and when this occurs the jury management personnel must provide evidence rebutting such allegations. Jury managers also face public relations challenges, for they must deal skillfully with citizens who can be irate at the prospect of spending hours or days in the jury assembly room, waiting to be called to a courtroom and then possibly chosen This 1798 handwritten document commands the Sheriff of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, to “cause to come before the Judges of the county Court of Common Pleas” no fewer than twenty-four nor more than thirty-six “Sober and Judicious good and lawful men . . . and none others, as Jurors for the trial of all Issues in causes in the Said court.” Jury service is an important way that common citizens can participate in the justice system, and this document shows this process in action. The actual jurors supplied to the court consisted of twenty-nine farmers, a watchsmith, a tanner, and a carpenter. There were, of course, no women on the list. SOURCE: Courtesy of documents collection of Jon’a Meyer.for jury questioning—only to find they are not needed. Jury management personnel are faced with the task of soothing irritated citizens for, as some see it, frivolously wasting people’s valuable time for no reason. Rarely does anyone realize that one of the main reasons this occurs is that cases scheduled to go to trial are often plea-bargained at the last minute, sometimes even well after the trial has begun. Because of the unpredictability associated with whether cases will be tried versus plea-bargained, and the fact that it is uncertain how many people will need to be questioned during jury selection in order to obtain a jury for any particular case, jury managers must summon a greater number of prospective jurors than may actually be needed. Witnesses In general terms, witnesses are people who provide evidence that helps establish what the facts are in a particular case. There are several different types of witnesses, distinguished by the specific nature of the testimony they present from the witness box. Some witnesses testify voluntarily; some are legally compelled by a subpoena (a legal document that commands a witness to appear in court under penalty for failure to do so). The origin of the subpoena process is the Sixth Amendment’s provision that a defendant has the right to “have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor.” Regardless of the type of witness or the circumstances that bring them to the witness box, the purpose of having witnesses testify is to provide the court with evidence that is legally relevant. Witnesses swear under oath that their testimony will be truthful. Let us look at specific types of witnesses and some of the issues associated with witness testimony more closely. Eyewitnesses Eyewitnesses are often thought to be the most persuasive source of evidence in the courtroom because of the powerful impact from hearing someone say “I saw what happened.” Research shows that jurors weigh the testimony of eyewitnesses quite heavily in reaching a verdict, and in fact often give too much weight to eyewitness testimony (Cutler, Penrod, and Dexter, 1990; Loftus, 1979; Loftus and Schneider, 1987; Wells and Seelau, 1995). “Too much weight?” you might ask. “What does that mean?” What it means is that a large and solid body of research on eyewitness accuracy has demonstrated that eyewitnesses are far less accurate than most people assume (Cutler and Penrod, 1995). In addition, the more confident an eyewitness appears to be while testifying, the more credible observers such as jurors find the witness (Cutler, Penrod, and Dexter, 1990). Research has shown, however, that greater confidence is not necessarily indicative of greater accuracy as an eyewitness (Smith, Ellsworth, and Kassin, 1989). This does not mean that an eyewitness who swears without hesitation that he or she is “absolutely, positively 110 percent sure” that the defendant is the person they saw committing the crime is necessarily wrong. Rather, eyewitnesses are simply far less accurate and reliable than the legal system assumes, and this has critical implications for the process of justice. For example, research looking at why mistaken convictions of innocent defendants occur has found that erroneous eyewitness testimony was the primary factor in a large percentage of these cases (Wells and Seelau, 1995). Can eyewitnesses really be so fallible? Research has consistently demonstrated that the answer is “yes,” and that the fault lies in the difference between how people expect human memory to work and how it actually functions. One of the premier researchers in the area of eyewitness accuracy describes the issue this way: Eyewitness testimony, which relies on the accuracy of human memory, has an enormous impact on the outcome of a trial. Aside from a smoking pistol, nothing carries as much weight with a jury as the testimony of an actual witness. The memory of witnesses is crucial not only in criminal cases but in civil cases as well—in automobile accident cases, for example, eyewitness testimony carries great weight in determining who is at fault. Implicit in the acceptance of this testimony as solid evidence is the assumption that the human mind is a precise recorder and storer of events. . . . Truth and reality, when seen through the filter of our memories, are not objective facts but subjective, interpretive realities. We interpret the past, correcting ourselves, adding bits and pieces, deleting uncomplimentary or disturbing recollections, sweeping, dusting, tidying things up. Thus our representation of the past takes on a living, shifting reality; it is not fixed and immutable, not a place way back there that is preserved in stone, but a living thing that changes shape, expands, shrinks, and expands again, an amoebalike creature with powers to make us laugh, and cry, and clench our fists. Enormous powers—powers even to make us believe in something that never happened. Are we aware of our mind’s distortions of our past experiences? In most cases, the answer is no. As time goes by and the memories gradually change, we become convinced that we saw or said or did what we remember. We perceive the blending of fact and fiction that constitutes a memory as completely and utterly truthful. We are innocent victims of our mind’s manipulations. (Loftus and Ketcham, 1991. Reprinted by permission) Expert Witnesses An expert witness is a person with “special knowledge of the subject” (Gifis, 1984, p. 171). The court determines whether a person qualifies as an expert witness based on the person’s education and/or experience with the subject matter. The court must also decide whether the issue in question is one that requires the testimony of an expert witness in order to help jurors better understand the issues in the case. In essence, expert witnesses help provide context, whether by educating jurors about the general issues in an area (e.g., how victims of domestic violence may react to abuse, or discussing research on eyewitness accuracy and fallibility) or providing specific information on a key issue in the case (e.g., whether the defendant was insane at the time of the crime). Expert witnesses often provide critical information to the jurors, but the use of expert witnesses is not without its problems. Questions raised by their use include:• How will jurors respond if each side’s respective experts present contradictory testimony, leading to a “battle of the experts”? • What if one side has the resources to hire an expert witness, but the other side cannot? Does this raise issues of fairness and due process? • What if the testimony of the expert witness is so technical that jurors have trouble understanding it? • Can expert witnesses sometimes simply be “hired guns” available for a fee, whose testimony may appear to reflect the interests of the side that retained them, regardless of relevant scientific evidence and the facts of the particular case? Character Witnesses Character witnesses can offer evidence about a trial participant’s character in one of two ways: by giving an opinion of the person’s character, or by describing the person’s reputation in the community with respect to relevant character traits (e.g., honesty or peaceableness). Character evidence is typically offered to help prove a person’s good character and is usually considered inadmissible to prove “evil” character. There are numerous exceptions to this general legal rule, however; also, well-meaning char- 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 N 43 L 232 Jurors and Other Key Participants in the Courtroom Play Their Roles BOX 8.7 Eyewitness Accuracy In and Out of the Lab In one study (Loftus, 1979), research participants were shown a film showing two cars that collided, resulting in some damage to the cars. Participants were then asked to recall the scene they “witnessed,” and to estimate how fast one of the cars had been traveling when it passed the barn along the country road. A week later, the participants were asked whether they remembered the barn, and 17 percent said they did. There was no barn in the film. However, the suggestion that there was a barn had been sufficient to alter the recollections of some of these “eyewitnesses,” and many other studies have consistently found the same results. Unfortunately, real cases of mistaken identity are too easily found as well. In these cases, the honest belief of a sincere eyewitness or eyewitnesses has resulted in a miscarriage of justice. In Lenell Geter’s case, several eyewitnesses conclusively identified him from photographs as the person who was present at the robbery of a chicken takeout restaurant. Despite having a solid alibi provided by nine coworkers who verified that the young engineer had been with them at work during the time of the crime, and despite the fact that Geter’s workplace was forty miles away from the crime scene, he was convicted and given a life sentence. Geter served almost two years in state prison before the real robber was identified and apprehended (Clarke, 1994).• How will jurors respond if each side’s respective experts present contradictory testimony, leading to a “battle of the experts”? • What if one side has the resources to hire an expert witness, but the other side cannot? Does this raise issues of fairness and due process? • What if the testimony of the expert witness is so technical that jurors have trouble understanding it? • Can expert witnesses sometimes simply be “hired guns” available for a fee, whose testimony may appear to reflect the interests of the side that retained them, regardless of relevant scientific evidence and the facts of the particular case? Character Witnesses Character witnesses can offer evidence about a trial participant’s character in one of two ways: by giving an opinion of the person’s character, or by describing the person’s reputation in the community with respect to relevant character traits (e.g., honesty or peaceableness). Character evidence is typically offered to help prove a person’s good character and is usually considered inadmissible to prove “evil” character. There are numerous exceptions to this general legal rule, however; also, well-meaning char-acter witnesses can unintentionally present damaging evidence, as the following example illustrates (People v. Hurd, 1970): In this case, the deCONCLUSION We’ve examined some of the key roles played by various participants in courtroom legal proceedings. The roles vary in their depth and demands on the participants who fulfill them. Some of the roles represent professional choices and responsibilities, such as the roles played by court officials. In contrast, some of the roles are thrust upon people—certainly the “role” of victim is chosen by no one. In addition, defendants, jurors, and some witnesses may be surprised to find themselves playing their parts in the courtroom drama; and the degree to which these participants choose (or are forced to) assume these roles varies widely. Now that we have been introduced to the key and supporting participants in the courtroom process, let us go to the next chapter to take a close look at the next question: Which cases make it to court, which cases do not, and why?