1. There is a discussion of voir dire, and peremptory challenges in Chapter 13 of the text. Should peremptory challenges be abolished? Why or why not? Give specific reasons.
2. What is judicial selection? How important is the relationship of judicial selection to the other courtroom participants? How can this relationship be improved?
3. What is prosecutorial discretion? How does this affect the prosecutor and overall case flow in the criminal court system? What suggestions do you have for improving consistency in how prosecutors accept case work?
4. In my reading as I came across the concept of peremptory challenge, I was struck with a feeling of just how wrong and unfair it seemed. To this effect, yes, I think that this particular ability to dismiss a juror without giving any reason should be abolished. I think that if you are going to say that someone cannot be a juror for a case, then specific and valid reasons need to be given. Without those reasons, who is to say that the lawyer or the defendant do not previously know the juror and simply do not want them there? Who is to say that they are not showing a bias towards a jury that they think they can sway, regardless of the courts screening process? Class, what are your thoughts?
5. Prosecutorial discretion refers to the power the prosecuting attorney has over the flow of cases that come to the court and that they take on. This could be a good or a bad thing, and affects many aspects of daily court life. The way that prosecutorial discretion may affect court life is if the prosecuting attorney accepts too many, or too few, cases, and also the types of cases they accept. I would suggest that a set number of cases be accepted per day or week, and that of those cases there be a set number of each type that should be taken to help with the consistency of the work flow. Class, what would you suggest?
6. In chapter 8 of our text, it describes a prosecutor as an attorney who is chosen (elected) or appointed chief of that prosecution agency and they are the individual who charge the criminal suspects in the name of the law. Now prosecutorial discretion is the authority the prosecutor has to basically determine what charges are brought upon the suspect and how the case is pursued. How does this affect the prosecutor and overall case flow in the criminal court system? Well a prosecutor is the one who basically controls the flow of cases by determining which ones are ready for trial and which ones are not. They are also the ones who decide whether a defendant should be offered a plea bargain, which cases to dismiss and which cases will go through a trial.
7. Judicial selection is more or less as it sounds; the selection of a judge. This is something that we as citizens of certain districts are able to vote on. The relationship of the judge to the rest of the participants in the courtroom is highly important for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is that it is important to maintain a great relationship with coworkers and others who are involved in the court system so that there is a good basis of rapport and communication. This relationship can be improved by keeping honest, open communication between the judge and those that they work with. Class, what other reasons are there for why the relationship between the judge and other court participants is so important? What other ways might that relationship be improved?