Positions in a Criminal Court and their Significance
|Advocacy, Forensic Science, Law Enforcement, 🕵🏻♀️ Criminology, 👨🏻⚖️ Criminal Justice
There various position found in a criminal court. Some are full time and others are part time. The positions work together to make up the criminal trial process fair to all parties. One of the important positions in a criminal court is the position of a judge. Judges who sit in federal courts are nominated by presidents subject to approval by the Senate. The nominees are house members or the senate. Once nominated, the Judiciary Committee of Senate sits in confirmation hearings to vet nominees. The duration of service for an appointed judge is not limited. They serve for life. The judge in a federal court listens to the arguments and makes a determination (United States Courts, n.d).
In a criminal court, there is also the position of jurors. To serve as a juror, one needs to be a U.S citizen and must have lived within the judicial district for more than a year. The minimum age for a juror is 18 years. A juror must also be able to read, write, and understand English. The person should also be able to speak English. To be selected as a juror, a person should also be physically and mentally fit. The person cannot serve if that person has been convicted of a crime punishable by more than a year of imprisonment. Finally, the person should not have pending charge for a crime punishable by more than one year of imprisonment (Jury Instructions Committee of the Ninth Circuit, 2013). The selection of potential jurors picked randomly from the list of voters of drivers. Once selected, the individuals receive a questionnaire that is used to determine if they are eligible and are then summoned to serve in the jury. Once selected, the jurors are instructed on the applicable laws after the arguments in a criminal case. The administrative office and the judiciary continuously receives cases of misconduct and unethical behavior and reviews them. A juror may be excused good cause such as family emergency or sickness, and can be removed for misconduct. Jurors also listen to arguments, deliberate and reach verdict. It is not always that the sitting judge will rule in the same way as the jurors.
The position of an attorney is also found in a federal court. The defendants have a constitution right to counsel. The defendant may choose their attorney if they can afford one. However, if the defendant cannot afford (indigent defendants) an attorney, the state must provide one at no fee. The attorney could be a public defender, contractual lawyers, or appointed private counsel paid by the government. The defendant’s attorney argue on behalf of the defendant to try and get a favorable outcome from the court. The advice the defendant, ensure that the defendant’s constitutional rights are not violated, negotiate plea bargains, and investigates facts, presents the legal defense, objects improper evidence and questions, and cross examines the witnesses on behalf of the defendant (FindLaw, 2018).
Finally, there is the position of a prosecutor or the prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting attorneys are appointed through presidential nomination subject to senate approval. The courts may also participate in the selection process if there is stalemate. The conduct of prosecuting attorney is monitored by the senate which approves their appointment. The prosecutors may be fired by the president who appoints them if they are found to be to have violated their code of conduct or the constitutional mandate. The federal prosecutor bring charges against the defendant on behalf of the state. The prosecutor initiating prosecution, recommending or selecting charges, and can also terminate a prosecution by entering in plea agreements (United States Department of Justice, n.d).
- FindLaw. (2018). The Right to Counsel.
- Jury Instructions Committee of the Ninth Circuit. (2013). A Manual on Jury Trial Procedures, 2013 Edition. United States Courts.
- United States Courts. (n.d). Federal Judges.
- United States Department of Justice. (n.d). Principles of Federal Prosecution. United States Department of Justice.