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SOC 3730 (78)
Lecture 4

SOC 3730 - Week 4

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University of Guelph
SOC 3730
Michelle Dumas

Crown Role - courtroom - knowledge – knowledge based workers - burden of proof – standard: beyond reasonable doubt - prime duty: role is not to gain a conviction but to enforce the law and maintain and administer justice. The lawyers prime duty is not to seek a conviction. Grossman pressure convictions Two considerations: 1) Credibility: can show they can succeed at trail, maintained if acquittal rate is not substantial 2) Confidence: shows confidence in the system Screening gateway to criminal court - want to focus on solid, convictable cases - screening cases is based on evidence Provincial variation - certain provinces crown can screen case before charges are laid Screening process - decide what cases they want to throw out or get a plea for as many cases as possible Discretion - at the crown attorneys discretion - they can drop certain charges and not others Factors Influencing Screening Culpability of defendant: confession of defendant Evidence: is there sufficient evidence to convict this person Priority cases: violent crime before property crime, second time offender over first time offender, gang related offenses, drunk driving, stranger before family Witnesses: have credibility, willing to testify, cooperative Factors Influencing Race race of suspect and relationship of victim play a role USA African American and lower income overrepresentation of arrest and move forward against African Americans - prosecutor tends to recommend harsher sentences to African Americans Legal factors: mandatory minimum sentences History: law has not been kind to African American over history Grand Juries (USA) Grand vs. Petit: composed of 23 people compared to 12 Function: to determine whether there is enough evidence for a trail or for charges to be laid Indictment: is a formal accusation that someone has committed the crime Prosecutor Power: gives prosecutor lots of power, they can call as many grand juries as they like Criticism: 5 amendment to silence is violated, other rules to do apply, no cross examination, leading questions, evidence that wouldn’t be admissible in trail Factors Influencing Victim - matters who the victim is and their status - some victims have more worth than others - young children and women treated with more sympathy -
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