American Criminal Courts
Legal Process and Social ContextBy
- Casey Welch, Professor of Criminology, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL
- John Fuller, Professor of Criminology, Department of Sociology and Criminology, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA
U.S. criminal courts are constrained by several legal processes and organizational structures that determine how they operate and how laws are applied. Part I of American Criminal Courts: Legal Process and Social Context explores how democratic processes develop criminal law in the United States the documents that define law, the organizational structure of courts at the federal and state levels, the overlapping authority of the appeals process, and the affects of legal processes such as precedent, jurisdiction, and the underlying legal philosophies of various types of courts.
Additionally, criminal courts are staffed by people who represent different domain perspectives, occupational pressures, and organizational goals. Thus, Part II includes chapters on actors in the traditional courtroom workgroup (judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, etc.) as well as those outside the court who seek to influence it, including advocacy groups, media, and politicians.
It is the interplay between the court legal processes and the social actors in the courtroom that makes the application of criminal law so fascinating. By focusing on the tension between the law and the actors inside of it, American Criminal Courts: Legal Process and Social Context demonstrates how the courts are a product of "law in action," and presents content in a way that enables you to understand not only the "how" of the U.S. criminal court system, but also the "why."
Students in Criminal Justice programs at 2-year and 4-year traditional and career schools. Specifically, students enrolled in an Introduction to Courts course at the undergraduate level. Also for students enrolled in courses in Criminal Courts, Court Process and Sentencing, and Courts and Sentencing Issues.
Hardbound, 614 Pages
Published: February 2013
Imprint: Anderson Publishing
Chapter 1: Principles and Decision Making in U.S. Criminal Courts
Part 1: Formal Social Control
Chapter 2: Social Control, Comparative Courts, and the Development of the U.S. Judicial System
Chapter 3: The Structure of Federal and State Courts
Chapter 4: Criminal Law, Crime, and the Criminal Court Process
Part 2: Negotiating Discretion, Making Decisions
Chapter 5: The Reality of Legal Action: Principles, Organizations, and Public Pressure
Chapter 6: Case Assessment, Case Attrition, and Decision to Charge
Part 3: Decision Making in the Pretrial and Trial Process
Chapter 7: The Pre-Trial Process
Chapter 8: The Prosecutor and the Exertion of State Power
Chapter 9: The Defense and Constraint on State Power
Chapter 10: The Criminal Trial Process: Judges, Bench Trials, Jury Deliberation, and Sentencing
Part 4: Specialized Courts
Chapter 11: The Right to Appeal and the Appellate Process
Chapter 12: Juvenile Courts
Chapter 13: Specialized Courts
Part 5: Frontiers of Justice
Chapter 14: Fuzzy Justice: Alternatives to Court
Chapter 15: Courts in the Future