You are here

Courts
Share

Courts
A Text/Reader

Third Edition


September 2018 | 528 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“The book is a focused, well-written, and adequately resourced introductory text on the court system.”
—Anita Kalunta-Crumpton, Texas Southern University  

Courts: A Text/Reader, Third Edition, helps students understand the U.S. court system in context, with each brief authored section of the text enhanced by edited research articles that illustrate the questions and controversies in the judicial system today. The articles reflect both classic studies of the criminal court system and state-of-the-art research, and they often have a policy perspective that demonstrates the potential impact research can have on the court system. Designed to enhance understanding, the book includes a helpful “How to Read a Research Article” section before the first reading, as well as article introductions and discussion questions that capture students’ interest and help them develop critical thinking skills.   

New to the Third Edition

  • Ninety percent of the journal articles have been updated and introduce students to important topics, such as the effects of trial judges’ sex and race, perceptions of plea bargaining, wrongful convictions, and the sentencing of drug offenders.    
  • New “Current Controversy” debates in each chapter highlight contentious issues in the courts, such as public defender caseloads, the impact of social media on criminal trials, and the need for more drug courts.  
  • A new “Current Cases” boxed feature elaborates on recent key court decisions and the impact they have had on issues such as defining “effective” counsel, racial bias in sentencing and jury deliberations, and the importance of judicial impartiality.
  • Coverage of critical topics has been expanded throughout to introduce students to important issues, such as specialized courts, bail and pretrial release, the death penalty, and restorative justice.
  • Statistics, graphs, and tables have all been updated to demonstrate the most recent trends in the court system.

 

 
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
 
Readings
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  
 
Readings
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  
Prosecutors  
Defense Attorneys  
 
Readings
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  
Judges  
Jurors and Juror Decision Making  
 
Readings
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
Arrest  
The Charging Decision  
Information  
Indictment  
Grand Jury  
Booking  
Initial appearance  
Arraignment  
Discovery  
Pretrial Motions  
Plea Bargaining  
Jury Selection  
 
Readings
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  
 
Readings
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?  
 
Readings
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  
Appeals  
Appellate Court Judges  
Habeas Corpus  
Considering Clemency  
 
Readings
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  
 
Readings
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  

“The book is a focused, well-written, and adequately resourced introductory text on the court system.”

Anita Kalunta-Crumpton
Texas Southern University

“A combination of both research articles and text to understand the court system. The use of research articles increases the text’s scholarly approach to criminal justice.”

William R. Pruitt, J.D., Ph.D.
Virginia Wesleyan College

“I would describe the text as a comprehensive discussion of important issues related to the processing of criminal cases. I would especially emphasize the authors’ use of journal articles and the related questions in the development of the literature on criminal courts.”

Jimmy J. Williams
The University of Alabama

“This is a well-written and concise text that provides additional resources for students who are learning about the court system.”

Lisa M. Olson
Southeastern Louisiana University
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

  • Ninety percent of the journal articles have been updated and introduce students to important topics, such as the effects of trial judges’ sex and race, perceptions of plea bargaining, wrongful convictions, and the sentencing of drug offenders. 
  • New “Current Controversy” debates in each chapter highlight contentious issues in the courts, such as public defender caseloads, the impact of social media on criminal trials, and the need for more drug courts.
  • A new “Current Cases” boxed feature elaborates on recent key court decisions and the impact they have had on issues such as defining “effective” counsel, racial bias in sentencing and jury deliberations, and the importance of judicial impartiality.
  • Coverage of critical topics has been expanded throughout to introduce students to important issues, such as specialized courts, bail and pretrial release, the death penalty, and restorative justice.
  • Statistics, graphs, and tables have all been updated to demonstrate the most recent trends in the court system.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Substantially edited and abridged articles make this text easier to read, without doing injustice to the core points raised in the articles or detracting from the authors’ key findings and conclusions. Much of the methodological discussions and data analysis are removed.
  • A “How to Read a Research Article” guide tied to the book’s first section provides a perfect introduction to understanding how research is organized and delivered in the journal literature.
  • Key terms, web resources, and thought-provoking discussion questions for each section and each reading help readers master the content and sharpen critical-thinking skills.

Preview this book

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option


Paperback
ISBN: 9781544307947
$99.00