Essay Questions: Please select five of the following questions to answer.


1) First, define plea bargaining and indicate how often plea bargaining is the method of disposition of cases in the American Criminal Justice system.  Then, outline the various ways in which plea bargaining can occur in the American Criminal Justice system.  Next, provide a comparison of plea bargaining in the United States to ONE other country’s practice covered during lecture. Then, explain WHY plea bargaining became the dominant method of case disposition in the United States criminal justice system.  Provide an overview of THREE of the six issues related to plea bargaining in the United States.  Finally, using reading # 11, provide a comparison of plea bargaining to torture.



2) First, provide a brief description of the role of the jury and jury selection procedures in the United States and indicate which amendments to the constitution give citizens the right to a trial by jury (discuss the mandate of the amendment in your answer).   Next, outline the rulings in the cases of Strauder v. Virginia, Thiel v. Southern Pacific Co., United States v. Ballard, and Duren v. Missouri.   Finally, discuss issues related to the fair cross section requirement of juries in the United States using reading # 12 to support your answer.


3) First, outline the procedures for jury selection in the United States focusing most of your argument on the process of voir dire and how this is supposed to be accomplished under law.  The outline the use of scientific jury selection, providing a definition and discussion of how this process works, when it is most often used (types of cases) and what empirical research says about the effectiveness of this procedure.  Your answer must include reference to the use of scientific jury selection in the O.J. Simpson case including how it was conducted, what side engaged in this practice and the specific outcomes of this process.


4) First, outline the role of the jury in a trial.  Your answer must include historical reference to the original purpose of a jury in England and early colonial America and move to a discussion of the role that the jury now holds in the United States criminal justice system.  Then discuss the role of a judge’s instructions to the jury and issues surrounding  these instructions.  Then, discuss issues related to bias in juror decision making indicating the findings of research conducted by Levinson and Young in their mock juror experiment and Eberhart’s death penalty study.   Finally, outline strategies suggested to mitigate issues surrounding bias in juror decision making.


5) First, provide a definition of sentencing and mandatory sentencing policies.  Indicate when mandatory minimum sentences became POPULAR in the United States. Then, review what minimum sentencing laws focus upon(how they work) and the types of aggravating circumstances that are commonly included in mandatory minimum laws.  Next, provide an overview of the functions and arguments for mandatory minimum sentencing in the United States and using assigned reading # 13, discuss whether or not mandatory minimum sentencing laws are effective.     Finally, review THREE of the five issues related to mandatory minimum sentencing in the United States.


6) First, provide a definition for “Three Strikes and You’re Out” laws and indicate when this particular form of sentencing became popular in the United States.  Next, indicate the motivation for the development of these laws including a discussion of which state first passed a “Three Strikes” law and the impact of the Polly Klaas case on the implementation of “Three Strikes” laws in California.  Finally, discuss the five issues related to “Three Strikes” laws using assigned reading # 14 to support your answer in this section and offer suggestions for reform.


7) First, provide a definition of sentencing disparity and sentencing discrimination.  Then, discuss why there are some many inconsistent findings in the research on racial disparities in sentencing.  Next, discuss the two opposing theories developed to explain racial disparities in sentencing.  Then discuss why focusing only on the black/white dichotomy in sentencing disparities a) is the most predominant research and b) is lacking due to non-inclusion of Hispanic offenders (the largest minority group in the United States).  In this part of your answer, indicate what recent research comparing Hispanics to whites and African Americans has found in relation to racial/ethnic disparity in sentencing.  Then, outline the impact of the War on Crime (Reagan administration) on racial disparities in sentencing focusing specifically on the 1984 Sentencing Reform Act and referring to the studies by the BJS in 1993 on homicide sentences, the 1990 RDS in capital sentencing study and assigned reading # 15.  Finally, discuss the impact of the War on Drugs on racial disparities in sentencing.


8)   First, define what a wrongful conviction is and the impacts of wrongful convictions in American Society.  Then, discuss FOUR of the six reasons why wrongful convictions occur in the American Criminal Justice System and include in your answer ways to mitigate or protect against this particular correlate of wrongful convictions, using assigned reading # 16 where applicable.


9) First, what are victim’s rights and what is the primary concept addressed by this movement.  Then, trace the history of the victim’s rights movement in the United States and use assigned reading # 17 where applicable.  Next, discuss the issues that led to the need for a victim’s rights movement and victim’s rights in the American Criminal Justice system.  Then, outline the issues related to GIVING victim’s rights in the criminal justice system.  Finally, define the concept of restitution, outline the types of restitution that are available to victims and discuss the issues related to victim’s collecting restitution.


10) First, outline the development of the juvenile justice system in the United States.  Your answer must reference the antecedents to the juvenile justice system, when and where the first juvenile court was established in the United States and the philosophy and focus on this first juvenile court.  Then discuss HOW the actual practice of the juvenile court diverged from the early philosophy and the changes (legal) that resulted from this finding.  Finally, outline the six stages of the juvenile court process indicating the key issue(s) related to each stage.


11) First, indicate when and where the first juvenile court was established in the United States including in your answer the philosophy and focus of this first juvenile court.  Then, define the practice of diversion indicating some examples of diversion and when diversion can take place during a juvenile hearing.  Next, outline the two major issues indicated in relation to the concept/practice of diversion.  Next, discuss how many juveniles are not diverted from the juvenile justice/adult criminal justice system and, using assigned reading # 18, outline the issues related to the  quality of detention facilities for  juveniles and potential solutions for the issues related to dete

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