Criminology Discussion Questions

Question 1: Utilizing appropriate internet sources, research and provide a summary of a recent court case which was decided in your city or state. What was the outcome? Do you agree? Why, or why not?

One of the recent court cases in California is The People v Johnson. The case was filed in the Supreme Court of California on July 9, 2015. The defendant, Lumord Johnson who lived in Casa Blanca in Riverside, California, was found guilty of second degree murder, robbery and kidnapping (The Supreme Court of California, 2015). The prosecution submitted that the defendant killed Camerina Lopez when she stepped out of her car to confront him and prevent the confrontation that the defendant had with her boyfriend Jose Alvarez. When Alvarez picked Lopez in her house to go to the store, he saw Johnson who asked him to drive away. Because he looked suspicious, Alvarez got out and confronted him, but the defendant removed a gun and pointed at him. Lopez tried to separate them but he was shot. She identified the defendant as Lumord Johnson, nicknamed as “Lamar”, who visited William’s house frequently because her aunt lived there (The Supreme Court of California, 2015). The defendant’s witness, Todd Brighton said that the incident was accidental.

The second accusation brought to the court was the murder of Martin Campos. Martin Campos was a friend of Oscar Ross who was buying and selling Cocaine and Marijuana (The Supreme Court of California, 2015). Martin Campos used to buy cocaine and Marijuana from Ross until Campos planned robbery against Ross. In retaliation, Ross planned with the defendant (Johnson) to kill Campos. The defendant said that he was in Oklahoma with his cousin Francisco Trotter and his girlfriend, and went to a cemetery to put a flower on the grave of Trotter’s father. Brighton suggested that he shot Campos by accident while he was overseeing the transaction between Ross and Campos (The Supreme Court of California, 2015). He argued that Ross asked him to blame the defendant because he did not like him.

The court ruled that the defendant was guilty of all charges, including first degree murder of Martin Campos and second degree murder of Camerina Lopez (The Supreme Court of California, 2015). The court also found him guilty of robbery and kidnapping. The defendant was also accused previously for a series of violent felony. The first penalty trial did not reach a verdict, but the second jury gave a decision which led the court to sentence the defendant to death for murder, execution of prior convictions, and misuse of firearms.

I agree with this rule because it ensures that justice is done, following the requirements of the constitution which allows death sentence for first degree murder and a number of other crimes. The evidence presented in the court was analyzed effectively, including forensic investigations which showed without doubt that the defendant was guilty of all charges (Siegel et al, 2015). Therefore, the ruling was correct.

Question 2: How did the federal courts develop historically?

Your response should be at least 200 words in length. You are required to use at least your textbook as source material for your response. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations.

The federal courts of United States developed as a result of the Articles of Confederation in 18th century prior to the establishment of United States Constitution. The articles of confederation provided clear ways of establishing judicial authority which led to the birth of federal courts in United States of America (Siegel et al, 2015). The courts established through Article IX of the judicial authority had the authority to hold the trial of pirates in the high seas and act as the courts of last resorts for dispute resolution between states. The first state court established in America was the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture.

Following the ratification of the U.S. constitution in 1788, federal judicial system was established by the Congress with authority established in the constitution (Siegel et al, 2015). The U.S. constitution also established the Supreme Court. The Judiciary Act of 1789 allowed for the establishment of the first inferior or lower federal courts. Article III of the constitution established the “implied” powers of the federal courts, which were interpreted by John Marshall, the third Chief Justice of America’s Supreme Court. This led to the establishment of powerful judicial system including federal courts in America.

Question 3: What have been the recent developments in state courts?

Your response should be at least 200 words in length. You are required to use at least your textbook as source material for your response. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations.

State Courts in United States have experienced significant developments recently. There are changing trends that have influenced the development of state courts. Such trends affect the operations and leadership of courts significantly. State courts in United States have recently evolved to formidable institutions with effective and collaborative public management that helps the judiciary to address organizational and societal issues successfully (Siegel et al, 2015). In this case, state courts are nowadays engaged in multinational arrangements which enable them to solve problems that would not have been solved singlehandedly. The role of court administrators in state courts has also changed. Rather than just managing the machinery of the court, administrators of the court also lead the court in complex inter-organizational situations.

State courts have recently developed collaborative models that have enhanced effective administration of justice so that all stakeholders affected by the court decisions are served accordingly, fairly and justly (Siegel et al, 2015). Court leaders including judges and policy makers manage collaboratively by developing networks of related case, and develop problem-solving and juvenile courts (Siegel et al, 2015). Throughout all levels of state courts, inter-organizational collaboration is enhanced through information technology, shared court services and task forces. The state courts have also developed employee engagement as a role of human resource management in the courts in order to improve the performance of all state courts. This enhances improved case administration and increased speed of determining cases.

With the challenges facing state courts, dissent has also been developed through innovation to solve some of the problems f leadership in court. Dissenters enable the court to make judgments based on a wide range of perspectives and evidence so that they make the best rule consideration the information available in court. Dissenters have been given a chance to speak rather than being silenced in order to enhance effective decision making in state courts. Most state courts in United States have embraced a culture of constructive dissent, which gives an alternative view to the courts and allows them to operate innovatively.

Question 4: How do drug courts operate, and what are some common features of these courts?

Your response should be at least 200 words in length. You are required to use at least your textbook as source material for your response. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations.

Drug courts are special courts with the jurisdiction to determine cases related to drugs. They act as alternatives to prisons jails, probations, and youth-detection facilities for the treatment of drug users. One of the primary features of drug courts is that they involve comprehensive supervision, treatment services, testing for drugs, sanctions, and incentives (Nolan, 2001). They fight illicit drug use by using a collaborative approach that brings together several stakeholders to curb drug abuse. The interest groups involved in drug courts are: prosecutors, defense counsel, judges, specialists in treatment of drug addiction and abuse, law enforcers, educational experts, and probation officers. These groups work collaboratively and bring their efforts together to overcome the problem of drug abuse. In this case, criminal justice systems of the courts cooperate with treatment systems to help offenders recover from drug abuse and lead crime-free and productive lives.

The drug courts stop criminal activity by helping offenders to change their lives rather than reprimanding them (Nolan, 2001). The courts provide cost-effective drug abuse programs. This enables the drug courts to respond consistently to drug offenses within the judiciary and coordinate effectively with intervention agencies. Drug courts have special treatment and guidance and counseling programs to ensure that offenders get back to their normal lives when once they are released. This requires strict supervision and law enforcement from the government. Frequent drug and alcohol testing is carried out as a way of monitoring abstinence. This enables the court to ensure that the offenders fully abstain from drug use.

Unlike other types of courts, drug courts are characterized by collaboration between the prosecution team and the defense team. The two sides leave aside their traditional adversaries and work together to achieve a common goal – to enhance law-abiding behavior of the offender. The pending case does not offer merits to any party. The prosecuting attorney plays the role of protecting the safety of the state, and that everyone abides by the rules of the court. The defense team has the responsibility to protect the due process rights of the offender while participating in the entire process to achieve good behavior of the offender.

One thought on “Criminology Discussion Questions

Leave a Reply