1. Is this a civil or criminal case? What is the basis of your answer? (5 pt.) I would say that this is both a civil and criminal case. It began as criminal because Clara Harris committed a crime by murdering her husband. A criminal case is based on an offense against society’s rules. The police are involved in investigating the crime and a person/suspect is charged with a crime and brought to court. It than became a civil case when the in-laws decided to sue for pain and suffering. A civil case is when you decide to sue another person, business or organization. 2. What type of civil/criminal case is it (misdemeanor, felony, probate, contract, etc.)? What is the basis of your answer? (5 pt.) This criminal case is definitely a felony because it is against the law to commit a murder, especially if it’s not in self-defense. 3. Would this crime qualify as capital murder under the Texas Penal Code? Why or why not? (10 pts.) In Texas, capital murder only occurs in the commission of another crime. Since she was convicted of no other crime, this is not capital murder. 4. Who are the parties in the case? (10 pts.)
In a criminal case there are a number of parties. There is the prosecution, the defense, as well as the judge, jury, and the victims. 5. Which party has the burden of proof in the case? (10 pts.) The party that has the burden of proof in this case is the prosecution. 6. What is the legal standard used to determine if the party you identified in Question Five has met the burden of proof? (10 pts.) The prosecution is required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The individual who has been accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. The juror must be able to say to him or herself with moral certainty that the individual is guilty of having committed the crime. If the jurors are not able to do so, the prosecution has not met the burden of proof and the jury must find the person not guilty. 7. Would this case be tried in federal or state court? Why? (10 pts.) This case would be tried in state court because state courts are for criminal and civil matters that are governed by state or local laws, or for matters that are not exclusively reserved to the federal courts. Federal courts deal with cases concerning federal laws, the constitutionality of a law, even disputes between states. 8. Which type of court would be most likely to conduct the trial of this case? (10 pts.) District courts would be most likely to conduct the trial of this case. 9. How is the judge of this court (and other similar courts) chosen for his or her position? (10 pts.) All Texas judges, except for municipal court judges, are elected in partisan elections, just like other officials. 10. Ms. Harris was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. To which court would an initial appeal of the decision in the case be taken? (10 pts.) In the courts of appeal for the first district of Houston.
11. Which of the following Texas courts would be LESS likely eventually to hear an appeal of this case--the Texas Supreme Court or the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals? Why? (10 pts.) The Texas court that would be less likely to hear an appeal of this case is the Texas Supreme Court. The reason being is that Texas Supreme Court is the court of last resorts for non-criminal matters.