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Political Science
POLS 207

POLS 207 Exam Three Selection Of Judges A. Five Systems of Selection a. 1) Partisan Elections i. Election and voting- party label shows up on ballot ii. Southern states iii. “shortcut” for voting 1. Choose all R or all D b. 2) Nonpartisan Elections i. No party affiliation on ballot c. Partisan and Nonpartisan Elections i. Should not talk about specific issues ii. Not expected to discuss judicial philosophy iii. DO discuss education and background iv. Biggest criticism= voters know very little about the candidate they are voting for d. 3) Legislative Selection i. Alternative to #1 and #2 ii. Legislature selects the candidates iii. Downside: dominant occupation in legislature is judicial  people know you already if you are in government, so elections e. 4) Appointment by the governor i. Not done as often as the main appointment, more often as interim appt. ii. Opening for manipulation of the system iii. People can strategically retire/resign to advantage one candidate in future elections f. 5) Missouri or Merit Plan i. Judicial nominating commission 1. Judges, lawyers, professionals 2. Picked for qualifications and removes bias 3. Creates a short list to give to the governor ii. Governor appoints preferred candidate from the list 1. Serve for a period of time iii. Retention election 1. Nonpartisan ballot in which voters have a choice between retaining the judge or letting them go iv. Even a commission won’t be unbiased v. Extremely rare for a judge to lose a retention election (essentially meaningless) g. Type of judicial system has no impact on women/minorities as judges in the state Trial Courts and Supreme Courts A. Decision Making a. Plea-Bargaining i. Decides 90%+/- of criminal cases in U.S. ii. No true trial iii. Negation between prosecutor and defendant iv. Pleads guilty, so there is no trial 1. To have charge reduced a. Reduces potential penalties 2. Delete charges a. 5 charges  2 charges i. Ex. stealing, assault, speeding, etc… to only stealing 3. Recommendation of a lighter sentence a. 10 yr minimum20 yr max, would only get 10 years b. Risk because judge still decided sentence v. 2 main reasons for use 1. Conviction and decision without court time a. Deal with many cases quickly 2. Weak case a. Unsure of what will happen in trial vi. Controversial 1. Its not “real justice”…people can get off easy 2. People who are not guilty may still get sent to jail b. Trial by Jury i. Fewer than 1% of all criminal cases resolved by jury trial ii. Jury 1. To determine innocence 2. Dominant role in trial iii. Judges 1. Decide penalty/sentence 2. Primary role: to avoid reversible error 3. Can’t allow illegal evidence B. Courts in Texas a. Follow tier system already covered b. Limited jurisdiction courts i. Ex. Justice of the peace, traffic courts c. District courts i. Major trial cases= felonies, etc. ii. Original jurisdiction for felony and major court civil cases in TX d. Appellate courts i. 14 in TX, divided geographically ii. No juries iii. Look for reversible errors e. Supreme Courts i. Texas has 2 (criminal and civil) ii. Texas Supreme Court 1. Civil cases’ last resort iii. Court of Criminal Appeals 1. Criminal cases’ last resort C. Selecting Judges in Texas a. Partisan Elections i. District court judges ii. Voters know very little about who they’re voting for iii. In Texas 1. Example: 1990. Gene Kelley (Name recognition selection! Not great experience for supreme court) (Democratic Party) b. Interim Appointments by the Governor Court Procedures i. Grand Juries 1. Screening mechanisms in cases 2. Is there enough evidence for trial?! ii. Petit Jury 1. Jury in court case to determine guilty/not guilty 2. Randomly selected iii. Most criminal cases decided by plea bargaining D. Police Protection in the States a. Federal i. Only 5% officers in the U.S. are federal b. State i. Highway patrol 1. Major source of growth 2. 15% of law enforcement c. Local i. 80% at local level! ii. Most policing responsibilities in U.S. left to local government iii. County sheriffs 1. Principle unincorporated areas a. Outside city limits 2. Elected to political office- EXCEPT RHODE ISLAND Crime and Punishment A. Three Strikes and You’re Out a. Mid 1900s popular reform i. California= Leader ii. Conviction of 3 felony or violent crime= jail for life iii. Adopted in many other states iv. Largely to where a repeat offender murdered/kidnapped a young girl b. Controversy and expense i. Time in jail ii. Court system (not plea bargain) iii. Prison cost increased 3x years after reform iv. Sometimes a minor crime = life in prison c. U.S. Supreme court i. Life in prison for stealing 3 golf clubs ii. Leandra and ___ : stealing video tapes from Kmart (+/- $50) got them life in prison d. Normally up to 1 year in prison e. Court does not allow severity of punishment to qualify as cruel and unusual B. The Death Penalty a. Furman v. Georgia in 1922 i. Death penalty suspended ii. Unconstitutional b/c of how it was being carried out b. 1967: reinstated death penalty i. With guidelines ii. Sufficient grounds for appeals iii. Juries have to be a part of the decision c. All but 12 states in U.S. have used the death penalty i. TEXAS= national leader 1. Sentencing to death 2. # of those executed 3. Has 425 prisoners awaiting execution on average d. 82 people awaiting penalty nationwide- 40 of those in Texas e. 80% executions in the US are in southern states f. In 2001, 600 prisoners on death row in CA, only 10 actually executed C. Factors Associated with the Large Number of Death Sentences and Executions in TX a. Assigning death in TX is the least complicated out of all the U.S. b. For committing murder while committing another crime i. Ex. Rape and murder, robbery and murder c. Killing 2+ people d. Murder for hire i. Paying or receiving payment e. Killing a child or police or firefighter in uniform f. Jury asks two questions i. Did defendant act intentionally? ii. Is defendant a future threat to society? g. Penalty rarely reversed in Texas h. Board of pardons and pardes i. Less likely to reverse than courts i. Money i. Expensive to prosecute and carry it out ii. Harris County (Houston) 1. Would be #5 on list of states 2. Budget approx. $30 million with 230 district attorneys 3. Dallas County= approx. $20 mil iii. Harder to push for death penalty in rural Texas with less resources/$ j. Public Support i. Fairly high in TX ii. Measure with polls and surveys 1. Do you support death penalty use? 2. Is it a deterrent to crime? 3. 69% in TX support, 59% say it deters crime 4. 10% above national average D. Local and Community Policies a. 2 basic types of local governments i. 1) general purpose local government 1. Local governments do this a lot a. Counties and cities ii. 2) single purpose local government 1. Special districts b. Local Government entities i. 3 basic types 1. counties (general purpose) 2. municipalities/cities (general purpose) 3. special districts (single purpose) c. Counties i. How many? Over 3,000 ii. Rhode Island does not elect county sheriff 1. Governor appoints iii. Alabama does not have a sheriff or counties iv. Colorado and Florida have a few counties where sheriffs are appointed v. Purpose? 1. Administrative appendage of state government 2. Manage activities of a statewide concern at the local level 3. Law enforcement, sewage, elections a. Especially outside of city boundaries vi. Organization types 1. Board of commissioners/supervisoes a. County ordinances b. Approve budget c. Appoint officials d. Elected governing body e. Main criticism: who do you blame? b/c there is no central figure 2. Elected executive plan a. Elect board with head official b. Takes responsibility 3. Council-Administrator Plan a. Administrator hired by council/board b. Runs things on day-to day basis c. Not elected, but appointed d. His job is doing this professionally d. Municipalities/Cities (terms are interchangeable i. Differ from counties in that 1. Concerned with local issues/needs/etc. ii. Charter of incorporation 1. Legal recognition of a city 2. Incorporated area (IN the city) 3. Petition, referendum a. City limits established, everyone in city limits votes 4. Need a positive vote in the referendum, if it’s passed, receive a C.O.I. a. Gains certain powers- ex. Levy taxes b. Then must provide sewage, trash, water, etc. iii. Generally have more decision making authority and greater discretion than counties iv. Home Rule: gives cities the ability to write their own charter (type of government) and pass any ordinance and carry out anything not prohibited by state government v. Dillon’s Rule: cities can only do things they are told they are allowed to specifically do in state legislature/constitution vi. MAJORITY (80%) rejected Dillon’s rule in favor of Home rule vii. Some states have both viii. Municipalities have more services than county government e. Municipal governing structures i. 1) mayor council 1. Elect x# of people to council + mayor 2. Most cities w/population of 1 million+ a. Strong mayor (veto, fire/hire, etc.) b. Weak mayor (no budget preparing) ii. 2) city commission 1. Elect commissioners over individual city departments 2. Not used very often a. Especially in big cities iii. 3) city manager or council-manager 1. Elects a city council 2. City manager hired by city council a. They are a professional with training 3. How to better the city 4. To remove politics from day-to-day administration iv. In college station: mayor but with a city manager form of government. Mayor is like another council member v. Just because you have a mayor does NOT mean you have a mayor-council form of government E. Single Purpose Governments- Special Districts a. Townships i. Not in TX, so we won’t cover them b. Created by states to meet services that other districts cannot do i. Ex. Mass transit system, sewage, etc. School districts in TX c. Powers i. To tax, borrow, spend ii. Limited (only tax up to a certain limit) d. Why re special districts created? i. Money $$$ 1. Taxes don’t cover enough for education, SO a new district is created to tax and meet needs ii. Refusal of cities/municipalities to provide services to unincorporated areas 1. Complaints: districts formed, hard to hold them responsible e. SCHOOL DISTRICTS F. Municipality of local government a. Cities  counties  special districts b. Fragmentation of local government c. Drawbacks i. Responsibility 1. Lines of responsibility become blurred if there are a lot of local governments in the same area and yet they each have independent decision making ability ii. Low public knowledge 1. Not a lot of scrutiny 2. People are unaware a district exists d. Benefits i. Can choose identity/living 1. Suburban area with parks, separation of characteristics ii. More points of access 1. Many people you can talk to in government The Tiebout Model of Local Government Competition A. Charles Tiebout B. Economist C. Central argument: fragmented local government is a good thing a. Creates a competitive, market-like environment i. Gives people choice 1. More taxes, but better services (and vice versa) 2. Neighborhood parks vs. central parks ii. Competition from supply side is more responsive 1. City councils don’t want to lose residents 2. Ex. Building better roads instead of a park (or vice versa) D. Problem a. Some people lack the mobility the model assumes (especially the poor) i. Lack choices because of financial constraints b. Poor left behind in cities, yet need city services c. Rich people left the city, along with their tax dollars, creates a problem d. Some problems cross jurisdictional boundaries i. Cities are not perfect boundaries to stop problems 1. Ex. Dirty air E. Is the model still worth looking at? a. Yes! b. Explains why certain incomes live in certain places Community Politics A. Machine Politics a. Machines gain
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