A Courtroom Workgroup in the United States criminal justice system is an informal arrangement between a criminal defense attorney, criminal prosecutor, and the judicial officer. Participants within the criminal trial are divided in two courtroom workgroups consisting of professionals and outsiders. Professionals are the courtrooms official actors; these individuals conduct court business and are well versed in the practice of criminal trials. Defense attorneys, public defenders, prosecuting attorneys, judges, and others who earn a living serving the court fall into this category.
Outsiders consist of the individuals only temporarily involved with courts. Outsiders are non-personnel. These individuals consist of defendants, jurors, victims, and witnesses. Outsiders generally are unfamiliar with trial procedures or courtroom organization. It has been indicated aside from ethical consideration, and statutory requirements courtroom interaction of the professionals involves recognition of cooperation, shared goals, and informal rules of civility.
Dedicated to bringing the procedure to a successful close within the adversarial framework of a criminal trial is the goal of the courtroom workgroup. This means that the defense attorney, judicial officer, and the prosecutor hold meetings and assume the defendant is guilty; they negotiate a plea bargain with a sentence attached without a trial thereby saving time and expediting the court processes. How does the courtroom workgroup interact daily? Pandemic is planned ahead by the court.
Each court puts into place a set of tailored templates in anticipation of procedures that may be needed and information that should be followed if a pandemic or any emergency should occur that would require most or all employees and judges possibly for an extended period to work from home so that operations would be able to continue if he or she was required to. The workgroup functions as a beehive, or as a well-oiled machine everyone knows his or her job and place. However, any job needing filled at the last minute each could move easily into that position.
The primary representative of the people is the prosecuting attorney. The prosecutor’s job is to present the state’s case vigorously against the defendant. Prosecutors introduce all the evidence against the defendant, steer testimony of witnesses “for the people,” and argue in favor of getting a conviction of a defendant. Because a defendant is presumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty, demonstrating guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is the burden of the prosecutor. The prosecutor has more control over liberty, reputation, and life than any other person in America.
Before cases come to trial, the prosecutor could decide to send a suspect to a private or public social service, ask suspects to see a counselor, accept a plea bargain, or dismisses cases for lack of evidence, or dismiss for different reasons. If a prosecutor believes he or she cannot win a case, he or she will not prosecute, no matter what benefit it is to the public. However, there is an exception and if it is a high-profile case getting a large amount of coverage from the press.
Therefore, prosecutors determine usually whether or not to file a case based on if he or she can prove by a reasonable doubt the defendant is guilty of the crime. A prosecutor’s activity does not end when a defendant is found innocent or guilty. After a defendant is convicted usually the prosecutor can suggest recommendations for the sentencing of a defendant to the judge. In addition, the prosecutor may have to defend his or her actions if an appeal is filed by a convicted defendant. Also the prosecutor may make recommendations if a defendant who has been convicted is up for early release or parole from the prison.
If the criteria for taking a case were more stringent; therefore, he or she would have fewer cases meaning prosecutors would try fewer criminals. If the criteria were less stringent, he or she would be able to generalize their practice to a greater degree. The criminal justice funnel is the process, which the number of criminal matters pending is decreased until there are a small percentage of cases that can be resolved by incarceration or trial advocacy. The process limits the amount of offenders in court and incarcerated at any given time.
The funneling process is estimated to result in only a relatively small number of criminal matters ever reaching the trial stage. A benefit of the funnel prevents the criminal justice system from becoming overburdened. Because of the decreased number of trials and people incarcerated, the system saves man hours and money. The disadvantages are less serious offenders are put on probation, in which they are incarcerated only upon violating probation or committing another crime. A person’s exposure to the system may last months or even years.
At any of the hearings during this time frame, the judge may dismiss the charges for various reasons. A common misconception is that the funnel process “lets criminals off. ” Instead, cases are often dismissed or pleas are bargained because of lack of evidence. Several factors contributed to significant backlogs in many of the jurisdictions, including volume of controlled substances cases, poor communication between laboratories and law enforcement or prosecuting attorneys about the status of cases resulting in unnecessary laboratory testing or needless travel to court.
In addition, lack of staff and resources to complete the work; the intense number of resources and staffing necessary to process clandestine and methamphetamine laboratories. Backlog cases are one major problem for courts. Therefore, it is almost impossible for the courts and judges to handle all the cases that come through the system. Keeping in mind that a judges responsibilities on a typical day. He or she does not just hear criminal cases they also here civil cases. In addition, bail hearings, suppression hearings, assigning public defenders, and motions to dismiss.
I believe one solution to help with backlog would be to hire more individuals. An example would be if more help was hired who could help sort through the cases and find those cases that need the attention first. These cases such as rape, murder, DWI, any kind of serious cases should get priority. From there work on the civil cases, which could take up less of the courts time. I am not sure if any of these solutions would work because it seems that the case loads of the court system is growing more each day. This in turn makes it hard not to have a backlog of cases in the court system.