The Contours of Justice: Communities and Their Courts
University Press of America, 1988 - Law - 317 pages
The Contours of Justice provides a framework for describing and understanding criminal courts throughout the United States by depicting the functions of criminal courts in nine middle-sized counties in three states. It integrates concepts from each of the three traditional theoretical approaches to court analysis: the individual, organizational, and environmental approaches. The authors approach the courts as communities composed of judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys rather than as "legal institutions" applying formal law. They analyze the differences in culture, technology, physical setting, the customary ways of arriving at guilty pleas, as well as other aspects of the courts. The authors also incorporate information about the political and economic characteristics of the communities that the courts serve, along with the basic functions of scheduling cases and assigning personnel to cases. The portraits of the nine courts present the day-to-day activities of judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys that lead to the decisions about the fates of the defendants brought to the courts. This comparison not only provides a vivid picture of actual court function, but allows an assessment of the process that leads to ideas for reform.
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Chapter Two The Criminal Court Community
PART TWO Criminal Court Communities
Arrests in Erie County
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arrest assigned assistant prosecutor attitudes average bail belief in punishment burglary caseload changes Chapter characteristics charges Clair clients conflict contract attorneys convicted defendants county legal culture county's court administrator courthouse courtroom criminal court community DA's office Dauphin Dauphin County decisions defense attorneys defense bar described differences discussion disposition district docket due process ecutors Erie County Erie's factors Felony Figure going rates grapevine guilty pleas guilty-plea process guilty-plea system handled Illinois incarceration interaction jail James Eisenstein jury Kalamazoo County larceny large courts lawyers less Michigan middle-sized Montgomery Montgomery County munity Nardulli nine counties Oakland offenses organizations outcomes Page's patterns Pennsylvania Peoria percent plea bargain policies political preliminary hearing President Judge prior record probation procedures property crimes proportion prosecutor's office prosecutors public defender's public defenders Q-sort reform regard for due Republican Saginaw scheduled sentences serious crimes shape structure tences tion trial court trial term