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Law DESCRIBING AND EVALUATING THE ROLES OF THE COURTROOM WORK GROUP

By TW45 Mar 05, 2014 1034 Words
Abstract
A court room work group is a term referring to professionals that serve in the court on a daily basis. These professionals include a prosecutor, the criminal defence attorney and the judicial officer. The courtroom working group seeks to bring justice to all. It ensures that all parties are accorded due fairness and equal opportunity regardless of gender, race, age, religious affiliation nor any other factor. They also see to it that trials are completed successfully. The concept of court room working group is associated with plea bargaining. The courtroom working group has shown tremendous explanatory power in overburdened courts dealing with huge case loads. Describing and Evaluating Roles of Courtroom Work Group

Professionals that serve in the court, each have a commitment to oversee a successful trial completion. Due to this commitment they must each follow a strict code of ethics and also they must adhere to the law and its practice. In most cases however, the number of judges and attorneys is limited hence there is a possibility that a personal as well as professional relation that may stem up. However this must not be prioritised by either of the parties involved and the pursuit of justice must always remain the order of the day. The changes I would recommend are rising of the bar when it comes to security measures. The reason why I suggest this is because sometimes violent criminal offenders may take advantage of the courtroom environment and cause havoc inside the court. For example in the past there was a reported case whereby an offender grabbed an officer’s pistol and started shooting randomly in the courtroom. Safety measures should be put in place in order to curb such bizarre scenarios in the future.

The role of the prosecutor is to represent the rights of the citizens. This is assumed to be so because a crime is defined as an act or omission which constitutes an offence punishable by law. Hence, when an offender is presented in court, the charges levelled against him read, Republic or State vs defendant. Therefore the role of the prosecutor is to represent the people’s cases against the defendant. With that role comes great responsibility on him, in that the burden of proof automatically lies with him. Also he has to work hard to ensure that evidence is presented legally, and the state procedures are adhered to in a way that dismissal is avoided. Another role of the prosecutor is that he acts as a consultant and advisor to the police departments. He assists them in the course of investigations and also provides insight into the acquisition of evidence and the procedural element of it. A prosecutor usually decides which case to pursue based on the fact that whether they think they can prove beyond reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty of an offense (Herrmann, Joachim, p. 468). They achieve this by firstly studying in a detailed manner the charges levelled against the defendant. Also he must examine the corresponding evidence presented which includes any testimonials or witnesses and any other material fact that may affect his case. After accomplishing this task he has a more insightful view of the case and is best able to make an informed decision. At this juncture he may decide to file the case or drop the charges and recommend lesser sentences for the defendants who agree to plead guilty to a certain crime: a process that is referred to as plea bargaining (Heumann, 1977). If the criterion for taking a case was more stringent, many cases would be dismissed due to lack of concrete evidence. This is because majority of the cases brought to the court have circumstantial evidence but with great eyewitness testimony. If the criterion was less stringent on the other hand, the court system would be overburdened with cases lacking sufficient evidence and support, hence resulting in less attention being accorded to cases that urgently require it. The criminal justice system has been defined as resembling a funnel that is, being wide at the top and being narrow at the bottom. This is interpreted to mean that there are more suspects and defendants in the justice system than there are convicted offenders who have successfully passed through the correctional system. The criminal justice system has a number of processes that an offender goes through, beginning with the investigation process and ending with the release of a convicted individual from a correctional facility. As criminals pass through the criminal justice system, quite a number of cases are dismissed due to a variety of reasons one being the lack of sufficient evidence. Discretion is another effect brought about by the criminal justice funnel. Many of the cases in the criminal justice system are investigated, tried or dismissed purely on the basis of personal choices. These choices are made by persons who use discretion to decide on individual cases. Also police officers may decide whether to conduct investigations on a case or to just go ahead and make an arrest of the suspect, again based on personal choice. Whereas on the other hand, attorneys and judges also interpret information to decide on the bail applications and plea bargains (Hermann Joachim, p.468). Unreported cases is also another factor emerging form this system. A number of crimes go unreported for a variety of reasons and this allows the offenders of such crimes go off Scott free and mingle with other people in the society. This adds to the ever growing number of cases that do not make their way into the early stages and final stages of the criminal justice system. Case backlog means that the defendants have to wait longer in order to get a verdict on the case. It means t the defendant has to remain as a suspect for a prolonged period. Some of the offenders that are held in custody are there because simply the offenses they committed can not be granted bail and other offenders are there because they have been unable to post bail. This backlog also inhibits the justice process by helping offenders get away with their crimes. This is especially evident where case requires immediate analysis of evidence (Daly, 2011).

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