1. What is the courtroom work group? Who are the “insiders” to the courtroom process and who are the “outsiders”?
2. Describe the role of the judge. What are the main methods of judicial selection?
3. Explain the formal role of the prosecutor. Identify key areas of discretion for the public prosecutor. What is the “interest of justice” and how does this define the unique role of the prosecutor?
4. Why does Justice Jackson refer to prosecutors as the “most powerful player” in the criminal justice process?
5. What are the reasons the prosecutor might use to explain dismissing a case?
6. Describe the issues that are unique in prosecuting white collar crimes. How do these issues impact prosecution?
7. Describe the role and responsibilities of the defense attorney. How does the role of the defense attorney different from the role of the prosecutor? Why does Alan Dershowitz refer to the criminal defense attorney as the “last bastion of freedom”?
8. Identify the different segments of the criminal defense bar. What are the factors that may affect each segment’s ability to best represent their client?
9. Explain the three main systems of indigent defense. What are the constraints that face the various indigent counsels?
10. What is plea bargaining? Define a straight plea, sentencing bargaining, and charge bargaining.
11. How is plea bargaining different from the formal trial? How does this process change the roles of the defense, prosecution, and judge?
12. Identify some of the organizational pressures on prosecutors to participate in plea bargaining.
Identify organizational pressures on defense attorneys to participate in plea bargaining.
13. What are the advantages of engaging in negotiations— plea bargaining—over the formal adversarial process?
14. Identify the shortcomings in the use of plea negotiations instead of formal trials.
15. Stuntz says that plea bargaining represents a serious loss for democratic governance. Why would he make this claim? Do you agree? Explain.