Term Paper: Victims and Defendants Rights Extended

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[. . .] Through this, the defendant is able to see the child on a television monitor, and at the same time is unable to see the defendant, while, the defense attorney is in person present where the child testifies and cross-examine the child (City of Jackson).

The Defendant's Right to a Public Trial

This right in the criminal justice system guarantees public trials in criminal cases. This is one of the most important rights since the presence of a defendant's family and friends, ordinary citizens and the press in courtrooms could guarantee that the government observes other important rights related with trials case (Barbara, 2003).

However, in few cases, which usually involve children, the court closes the court to the public. For instance, judges block the public from attending cases when defendants are accused with sexual molesting against children. Besides, the judge may bar witnesses from the courtroom when it seems that they may prepare one another case (Barbara, 2003).

The Defendant's Right to a Jury Trial

This right allows a person accused of a crime the right to be evaluated by a jury. However, this right has been interpreted for long to mean a twelve- person jury that should come at a common decision to find the defendant guilty or not guilty. In many countries, lack of agreement is called a "hung jury," where the defendant goes free unless the prosecutor chooses to retry the case. However, in Oregon and Louisiana, the selected juries may find guilty or not guilty on a vote of ten to two (City of Jackson).

Random selection of the potential jurors must be made from the community, and a process that permits the judge and lawyers to screen out partial jurors and have actual jury at the court. Moreover, a lawyer may remove numerous potential jurors just because he thinks that these people would not be compassionate to his side instead these decisions named "peremptory challenges" may not be supported on the juror's personal characteristics like sex, race, national origin or religion (City of Jackson).

The Defendant's Right to be Represented by an Attorney

The criminal justice system in the United States Constitution provides that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right...to have the assistance of counsel for his defense case (Barbara, 2003)."

The judge must hire an attorney for poor defendants, those who are unable to afford to appoint attorneys. These attorneys are appointed at government expense; but only if the defendants might be imprisoned actually for a period of over six months for the crime.

Judges as a matter of practice, appoint attorneys routinely for indigents in almost every case, especially where there is a possibility of a jail sentence. Or else, the judge is limited into giving the unreliable defendant a non-jail sentence or a brief sentence that he or she might consider appropriate after hearing the evidence case (Barbara, 2003).

The Defendant's Right to Adequate Representation rule by the United States Supreme Court has been passed in which both poor defendants who are represented by appointed counsel and defendants, who hire their own attorneys are allowed to acceptable representation. Below are few examples of claims that have been made by the defendants against their attorneys in order to attempt to get their guilty verdicts out and that appellate courts have rejected, these are:

Unable to call sympathetic witnesses at hearing

Using cocaine throughout the time the statement took place

Neglecting to oppose to a judge's incorrect orders to jurors in relation to the problem of evidence

Drawing out proof which is very destructive to the defendant at the same time as interrogating prosecution observers

Constantly counseling a defendant who maintained innocence to claim guilty, as well as Speaking for the defendant at the same time as being suspended from the practice of law for malfunction to disburse state bar payments (Randall, 1998).

Conversely, conditions can be suitably appalling to give reason for discharging a sentence founded on an attorney's lack of skill. Judges have ruled that the subsequent petitions give good reason for a turnaround of a guilty judgment (Randall, 1998):

Placing a law student intern in command of the defense and leaving the courtroom at the same time as the case was going on All through concluding arguments, admitting that the defendant was accountable of a minor crime devoid of first protecting the defendant's support of this method, as well as All through voir dire (interrogation of the adjudicators), flawing to confront two probable jurors who assumed they would be concerned by the defendant's malfunction to give evidence (Randall, 1998).

Defendant's Right to a Speedy Trial

The Sixth Amendment in the constitution provides defendants a right to a "speedy trial." On the other hand, it does not identify precise time restrictions. Consequently, judges time and again have to make a decision on a case-by-case basis whether a defendant's hearing has been so postponed that the case ought to be dismissed. In producing this verdict, judges look at the duration of the postponement, the motive for the postponement and whether the postponement has biased (debilitated) the defendant's situation (Randall, 1998).

Each and every authority has ratified decrees that place time restrictions for moving cases from the reporting of the preliminary accusation to hearing. At the same time as these decrees are extremely severe in their diction, majority of the defendants cannot get their sentences overturned on the ground that these laws were debased.

The Defendant's Right Not to Be Placed in Double Jeopardy

Among the several clauses of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is this well-known provision: "nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb." This provision, known as the double jeopardy clause, protects defendants from harassment by preventing them from being put on trial more than once for the same offense. Double jeopardy problems are unusual, because prosecutors usually want to wrap up all their charges at one time in the same case (Barbara, 2003).

One important exception to the rule against double jeopardy is that defendants can properly be charged for the same conduct by different jurisdictions. For example, a defendant may face charges in both federal and state court for the same conduct if some aspects of that conduct violated federal laws while other elements ran afoul of the laws of the state.

Furthermore, the double jeopardy clause forbids only more than one criminal prosecution growing out of the same conduct. A defendant can be brought once to criminal court (by the government) and once to civil court (by members of the public) for the same crime. For instance, after O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend, their relatives filed a civil suit against him for actual and punitive damages caused by the killings. The civil suits raised no double jeopardy issues, even though punitive damages are a type of punishment, and Simpson was held civilly liable for the deaths (Barbara, 2003).


Hence, proven through the above-mentioned rights of both crime victims and defendants that today the criminal justice system address crime defendant rights more as compare to the crime victims. However, around 32 states have amended their criminal justice system laws for the rights of crime victims. To name a few: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington (NCCS, 2003).

Works Cited

Emmet County. Prosecuting Attorney: Crime Victim Rights / Witness Assistance. www.co.emmet.mi.us

National Center for Victims of Crime. (1998). Rights of Crime Victims. FYI.

National Center for Victims of Crime. (1999). Constitutional Rights for Crime Victims. FYI.

Philip L. Reichel (2001). Comparative Criminal Justice Systems: A Topical Approach.

Publisher: Prentice Hall; 3rd edition

Barbara Raffel Price; Natalie J. Sokoloff; Christian J. Crumlish (2003). The Criminal Justice

System and Women: Offenders, Prisoners, Victims, and Workers. Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; 3rd edition

Randall Kennedy (1998). Race, Crime, and the Law. Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition

City of Jackson. Departments & Services. City Court: Defendant's Rights.

A www.cityofjackson.net

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