Good Discussing Criminal Law Case Study Example

Published: 2021-06-21 23:42:20
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Category: Information, Crime, Criminal Justice, Law, Supreme Court, Evidence, Court, Judge

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Peremptory challenge
In law, there is a provision for a peremptory challenge. Under this provision, attorneys have the discretion to select a jury or reject them even without stating the reasons as to why they do so. Presiding judges have the duty of deciding whether the peremptory challenge is accepted or not. In most cases, such challenges are as a result of a party to a case having a reason to think that engaging some jurors would result in an unfair verdict. When both parties to a case have an agreement as to the composition of the jury, there are high chances that they will accept the verdict. This challenge is essential as it safeguards the judicial process, giving parties to a case a chance to remove jurors they deem biased (Sommers et al. 2008). In the case study, Prosecutor Marty McFly gives reasons as to why he seeks to exclude the two Indian-American jurors. The reasons he gave were based on religion and ethnicity; that being Hindu, the two jurors lacked a good understanding of the judicial system which was based on Anglo-American law and Judeo-Christian beliefs. The judge should not allow this challenge because the reasons given are based on removing individuals from a cognizable group. In Batson v. Kentucky, the court ruled that such a challenge was unconstitutional because it promoted discrimination. This principle was also applied in Rivera v. Illinois.
Admissibility of recorded conversations as evidence
There is a big debate over the admissibility of taped conversations and interrogations as evidence in a court of law. According to the federal rules, it is illegal to record a conversation without all parties agreeing. Most states in America have express laws to the effect that recorded conversations and information are totally inadmissible in a court of law. The only exception to this rule is if the party is informed of the intention to be recorded prior to the recording process. The party being recorded must also be expressly made aware that the information from the recording will be used as evidence in a court of law. As such, the law has it that recorded conversations are admissible when presented in a court of law (Warburton et al. 2008).
In the case study, it is highly unlikely that the interrogator informed Ronald Potter that he would use the evidence in a court of law. When this is the occasion, the judge should not allow the recorded information to be used as evidence against the accused. There are several reasons as to why recorded information is not admissible as evidence in courts. First, such information is vulnerable to distortion and manipulation. Secondly, there are chances that people may be subjected to coercion so as to make such conversations. Because of this, it would be wise for the judge to ignore this evidence.
A case for mistrial
The criminal procedure in America gives room for what is referred to as a ‘discovery period’. Before the commencement of criminal or civil trials, parties to the case are required to exchange relevant information about the case’s facts. During this period, it is important that both parties be as truthful as possible to enable the attorneys have the gist of what is going to be argued on in the courts of law (Guinchard, 2008).
In the case study, it is evident that Burr was not sufficiently informed of the facts of the case. For the first time, he gets to learn that the grocery bag discovered in Potter’s van was not the one that the witness had described as the one the bank teller filled with cash. Under such circumstances, one is allowed to move for a mistrial, and the judge should grant them this. There is no set threshold as to which information should not be disclosed to the parties of a case.
Contempt of court
Ideally, accused persons have the right for self-representation. This right might be triggered under several circumstances. First, victims who cannot raise enough money to hire an attorney can represent themselves. Second, an accused person may terminate the services of their attorney to represent themselves. Judges should not hinder them from this if they have every reason to believe that the accused is in a stable state of mind. In the case study, the judge erred in denying Weasley this right. However, this does not give Weasley the liberty to misbehave and engage in an inappropriate manner in the court. The judges have the discretion to declare the accused as hostile (Denning, 2005). In handling this matter, the judge should increase the charges the accused faces. For instance, it is evident that Weasley commits more offences such as assault. After this, the judge may charge the accused of court contempt. This happens in situations where a witness or the accused person turns violent in the court and refuses to cooperate. All parties to the court process are expected to give the judges utmost respect and should not behave in a manner that will degrade their value. Weasley risks facing more charges apart from the bank robbery charges. Cooperation in the court of law is essential.
Denning, L. (2005). Contempt of court. Commonwealth Law Bulletin, 31(4), 141-146.
Guinchard, A. (2006). Book Review: Significant Cases in Criminal Procedure. Criminal Justice Review, 31(3), 266-268.
Sommers, S. R., & Norton, M. I. (2008). Race and Jury Selection: Psychological Perspectives on the Peremptory Challenge Debate. American Psychologist, 63(6), 527-539.
Warburton, D., & Lewis, T. (2009). Opinion evidence; admissibility of ad hoc expert voice recognition evidence. The International Journal of Evidence & Proof, 13(1), 50-57.

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