Question 1: Factors that guide judges in setting a bail
Judges normally set bail, the sum a defendant should part with to be released from jail pending trial, after the initial appearance in court following an arrest. The decision by the judge is informed by several factors. He or she is guided by a few choices when deciding the bail. For instance, he or she can adhere to the set-out bail amount, increase or decrease the standard bail, ignore bail and grant release, deny bail altogether, or assign special circumstances for release. Although no two cases are the same, the following are the main factors that inform the judges decision in setting bail:
1. The form of crime the defendant committed and the nature of allegations
2. Posted bail charges
3. Outstanding warrants
4. Safety to the entire community
5. The character and mental condition of the defendant
6. Chances of defendant appearing in court
7. Probable flight risks
8. Whether he is employed
9. The victims safety.
10. When he or she has attempted to flee to avert prosecution
11. Whether he or she has wealth that might enable him to flee
12. Whether the allegations are substantial and show guilt (Lynch, 2004: Chapter 3 page 61).
At an arraignment, the defense attorney and the prosecutor will debate these factors to the judge to strengthen their separate positions.
Question 2: Do indigent defendants feel that they are disadvantaged and thus do not get due process in a courtroom?
Under such factors, it is evident that indigent defendants are disadvantaged and do not get due process in the law courts. It is clear that the judge does not consider the ability of the defendant to post bail. Suppose a defendant committed a certain criminal offense whose standard bail is $10, 000. Upon a thorough evaluation of the case, the judge decides that he fits to be released on bail above. However, neither the defendant nor his family and friends can be able to raise the set-out bail. Under such circumstances, the defendant is jailed not for any other reason but for the fact that he could not afford the monetary bail that was offered to him. Before he even gets a chance to argue his innocence, he gets jailed for weeks or months because he cannot raise the bail. Eventually, the jailed defendant is denied the ability to prepare and participate in his defense. To this end, it could have been more appropriate if the judges considered the ability of the defendant to pay bail among the above-named factors. This way, indigent defendants would equal with their wealthy counterparts who can pay any amount of bail set out by the judge. They would be able to go about their daily businesses while preparing to participate in defending their case (Moran, 2003 chapter 1 page 15).
It is widely believed that in a courtroom, the judge has all the powers. Although this is true when the trial is ongoing or during sentencing, it is surprising that, the person who has the most powers in a courtroom is the prosecutor. For instance, the prosecutor is the only person who has the mandate to lower the defendants charges, provide a deal proposing a specific sentence, or dismiss the case. The judge are only allowed to dismiss the case in extremely limited scenarios particularly as outlined in the law. For instance, a prosecutor may opt to lower the charges of a defendant if he or she is compassionate to him or her situation. Moreover, nonetheless, enjoys the power of discretion, he or she can carry out his or her judgment without being limited by the law. The bottom line is that a good lawyer comprehends that the prosecutor has most powers and that an impactful presentation of the defendants case can help resolve the case (Jehle & Cavarlay, 2006 chapter 4 page 58).
Question 4: Ethical constraints of the prosecutor
In the legal system, the prosecutor is more esteemed than other lawyers owing to the great responsibility, which is wielded by the position. He or she is symbol not of a normal side to a disagreement, but of a liberty whose duty to rule fairly is compelled by the calling to rule at all; and whose interest, thus, in any criminal prosecution is not to push for one side to win the case but to rotate the wheels of justice. To this end, he is in a definite and peculiar sense, the servant of the law. As such he is not supposed to let those who are guilty of committing any offense escape while at the same time he is not supposed to let innocent people suffer. He is required to prosecute with earnest and vigor, and although he is allowed to strike hard blows, he or she is not allowed to strike foul ones. Therefore, he or she should stay away from improper methods aimed at producing wrongful sentence as he or she is supposed to go at any length to bring about a just conviction. Summarily, he is supposed to use prosecutorial discretion, show responsibility to victims, exercise fairness in discovery and trial, and trial publicity.
Jehle, J., Wade, M., & Cavarlay, B. A. (2006). Coping with overloaded criminal justice systems: the rise of prosecutorial power across Europe. Berlin: Springe
Lynch, D. R. (2004). Inside the criminal courts. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.
Moran, J. T. (2003). Gideon undone: the crisis in indigent defense spending: transcript of a hearing ... held during the Annual Conference of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, November 1982. Chicago?: American Bar Association in cooperation with the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.
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