Shared Flashcard Set


Intro to CJ
HP - Intro to CJ

Additional Law Flashcards




What are some of the problems associated with mass incarceration according to Paul Butler? What can we do as Americans to solve these problems?
- The incarceration rate isn't in line with the crime rate
- We define too many acts as crimes and punish people for too long
- Mass incarceration is expensive
- Non-violent offenders are more likely victimize you after they come out of prison than before they went in
- Prisoners aren't rehabilitated
- If people expect to do time then the deterrent effect of prison is lost
- We should tolerate a minimal risk of crime in order to strike a balance
What are some factors that lead to false confessions?
- Police coercion
- Prosecutors threatening to charge most severe crime and seek harshest penalties
- Prosecutors and defense attorneys not ensuring the evidence matches the confession
- Police revealing incriminating info to the defendant that only the police and real criminal would know
What can prosecutors and defense attorneys do to avoid false confessions and how can the system be changed to avoid false confessions?
Defense attorneys: make sure the evidence matches client's confession; follow any leads client gives you in determining of confession is true

Prosecutors: disclose exculpatory evidence to defense (Brady v. Maryland); do not overcharge defendant to get confession; ensure confession is supported by evidence

System: require that police record interrogations from start to finish; judges should allow expert witness testimony on false confessions
In Actual Innocence, Barry Scheck offered 5 steps the CJ community should take to prevent expert witnesses from lying on the stand. What are they?
1. Prosecutors using forensic experts should disclose all underlying documents that lead to final report
2. Technicians performing tests should sign all documents related to report
3. Forensic labs should have QCI programs
4. Technicians should have access to dispute resolution and be given whistle-blower protection
5. Defense attorneys must have courage to challenge forensic experts
What are some of the problems that arise from the misuse of scientific evaluation of evidence?
- Hair evidence is not conclusive and cannot be considered a "match" like DNA
- Judges are the gatekeepers of what science is allowed in the courtroom (Daubert v. Merrell Dow)
- Junk science methods are unreliable and lead to convictions of the innocent
- Protections from junk science include judicial discretion and education
- Crime labs should not have to rely on the state for budgets and should be regulated & accredited
In Bordenkircher v. Hayes, what was the SCOTUS reasoning in ruling that the plea bargaining tactics used in this case were constitutional? What was the proposed "timing" rule?
- Threatening more serious charges was not considered vindictive punishment
- Where a prosecutor exercises "unilateral" power over a helpless defendant, the penalty exerted on him for exercising his right is vindictive and unconstitutional
- In Bordenkircher, it was determined that each side arguably possessed bargaining power (both sides gained from defendant's plea)
- The timing rule proposed was that the filing of more serious charges after the defendant decided to go to trial would be unconstitutional (impractical)
How is it possible that eyewitnesses can be truthful but still identify an innocent person as a perpetrator? What can the CJ system do to prevent false IDs by eyewitnesses?
- Problems: memory is fallible, people pick the most similar looking face out of lineup, police persuasion

- Solutions: Independent police questioner, have witnesses look at individual photos to avoid making comparisons

- Example: Ronald Cotton
What are current issues facing the CJ system when it comes to eyewitness IDs and what steps can be taken to avoid them?
- Contamination by police with verbal and nonverbal cues
- Lineups that are inherently suggestive
- Memory is malleable
- Several lineups with victim cement suspects face into victim's memory
- 6 or 8 pack photo array leads to comparisons and victims choosing the most similar photo
- When several witnesses are present, an ID from one witness contaminates other witnesses
- Solutions: double-blind testing, tell the witness that suspect may not be in lineup/photo array, judicial discretion in not allowing questionable IDs into courtroom, use initial ID against defendant in courtroom instead of after witness has IDed defendant several times over
According to Paul Butler, what are some of the major problems with using snitches and how can they be corrected?
- Snitch: paid informants who receive an award (usually cash or leniency from prosecution) in exchange for providing law enforcement with information about criminals
- Police rely on snitches because (1) criminals are in a good position to have info about crimes and (2) prosecutors have a lot of bargaining power and can induce people to snitch
- Problems: nontransparency, criminals are self-interested, innocent people get implicated, sources are not credible, co-dependance between police and criminals makes community less safe, snitches get stitches
- Solutions: stop paying informants, only cut deals for informants once the info has been independently verified, public should only report crimes that have a public safety benefit, don't consent to searches
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