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A Text/Reader

Third Edition

September 2018 | 544 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Courts: A Text/Reader provides the best of both worlds—authored text Sections with carefully selected accompanying Readings that illustrate the questions and controversies legal scholars and court researchers are investigating in the 21st century. The articles, from leading journals in criminology and criminal justice, reflect both classic studies of the criminal court system and state-of-the-art research, and often have a policy perspective that makes them more applied, less theoretical, and more interesting to both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Features and Benefits:

  • Edited readings introduce students to classic studies of the criminal court system and to cutting-edge research on decision making by court actors.
  • Provides an introduction to each reading to give students an overview of the purpose, main points, and conclusions of each article, and evaluates their policy implications
  • A "How to Read a Research Article" guide for students appears after the book's Introduction in Section 1, prior to the first reading. The section guides students through each portion of the readings to illustrate key aspects of a research article. This provides a perfect introduction to understanding how research is organized and delivered in the journal literature
  • 12 - 15 page mini-chapters precede the selection of readings and offer clear and concise explanations of key terms and concepts in each Section, coupled with boxes with special interest topics and review materials that enhance student comprehension.
Section I: Introduction: Courts and Case Processing
Why Study Courts?  
The Structure and Jurisdiction of U.S. Courts  
Courtroom Actors  
Court Process  
Decision Making  
How to Read a Research Article
1. The Process is the Punishment: Handling Cases in a Lower Criminal Court  
2. Wrongful Conviction: Perceptions of Criminal Justice Professionals Regarding the Frequency of Wrongful Conviction and the Extent of System Errors  
Section II. Overview of Courts
Conflict: The Wellspring of the Modern Court  
How Courts Make Law  
The Role of the Courts in Criminal Justice  
Striking a Difficult Balance  
The Juvenile Court  
3. Ideological Divisiveness in Criminal Procedure Cases: Measuring Variability in U.S. Supreme Court Outcomes  
4. The Racial Politics of Due Process Protection: Does Partisanship or Racial Composition Influence State-Level Adoption of Recorded Interrogation Policies?  
Section III. Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys
The Adversarial System  
Defense Attorneys  
5. Violated Trust: Conceptualizing Prosecutorial Misconduct  
6. Prosecuting Intimate Partner Sexual Assault: Legal and Extra-Legal Factors That Influence Charging Decisions  
Section IV. Judges and Jurors
Judges and Jurors: Fact Finding and Applying the Law  
Jurors and Juror Decision Making  
7. Representation on the Courts? The Effects of Trial Judges’ Sex and Race  
8. Jury Nullification: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?  
Section V. Pretrial Proceedings
The Charging Decision  
Grand Jury  
Initial appearance  
Pretrial Motions  
Plea Bargaining  
Jury Selection  
9. The Impact of Race, Gender, and Age on the Pretrial Decision  
10. Confession Evidence: Commonsense Myths and Misconceptions  
Section VI. Plea Bargaining and Trial Dynamics
The Court Process  
Plea Bargaining  
The Courtroom Workgroup: Cooperation Rather than Conflict  
Media Influence in Criminal Trials  
11. Justice Served?: Perceptions of Plea Bargaining Involving a Sexual Assault in Child and Adult Females  
12. Is a Plea Really a Bargain? An Analysis of Plea and Trial Dispositions in New York City  
Section VII. Sentencing
The Goals of Sentencing  
The Judge’s Options at Sentencing  
How Do Judges Decide?  
13. Do the Drugs, Do the Time?: The Effect of Drug Abuse on Sentences Imposed on Drug Offenders in Three U.S. District Courts  
14. Sentencing Transferred Juveniles in the Adult Criminal Court: The Direct and Interactive Effects of Race and Ethnicity  
Section VIII. Beyond Conviction and Sentencing
What Happens Next?  
Underlying Concepts  
Appellate Court Judges  
Habeas Corpus  
Considering Clemency  
15. Merciful Justice: Lessons From 50 Years of New York Death Penalty Commutations  
16. Preventing Wrongful Convictions: An Analysis of State Investigation Reforms  
Section IX. Specialized Courts and Other Trends in Adjudication
The Specialized Court Movement  
Restorative Justice  
17. An Integrated Theory of Specialized Court Programs: Using Procedural Justice and Therapeutic Jurisprudence to Promote Offender Compliance and Rehabilitation  
18. Domestic Violence Courts: A Multisite Test of Whether and How They Change Offender Outcomes  


Instructor Resouce Site
  • Test bank
  • PowerPoints
  • Section Outlines
  • Web Resources
  • Sample Syllabi
  • Exhibits/Illustrations/Figures from the text
  • SAGE Journal Articles
Student Study Site
  • Flashcards
  • Quizzes: 10 multiple choice, 5 true/false for each section
  • SAGE Journal Articles: 2/3 articles per section
  • Web Resources: 3 useful websites per section
  • Video Resources: 3 video clips for each section
  • NPR Archives: 1-2 audio files and/or podcasts per section

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ISBN: 9781544307947