- What is the standard for determining ‘ineffective assistance of counsel’? Should this standard be viewed differently for overwhelmed public defenders who are attempting to manage over 100 cases at one time?
- Are prosecutors the most powerful player in the courtroom work group? Does this power come with any ethical constraints?
- What do we mean when we talk about assuring ‘due process’ for the defendant? Briefly discuss how some of the pre-trial stages in the criminal courts attempt to promote the concept of due process.
- Why is plea bargaining so prevalent in the criminal courts? To what degree does the judge effectively act to protect the defendant’s constitutional rights in the guilty plea process?
- Is the trial process simply a multi-level adversarial game between the prosecutor and the defense attorney where facts are given ‘spin’ to facilitate victory for one side or the other? Does this ‘game’ promote the search for truth and justice?
- Do sentencing guidelines unduly interfere with the trial judge’s discretion? Regardless of whether sentencing guidelines exist in a particular jurisdiction, should judges be required to articulate evidence based reasons for the sentences given to defendants who appear before them?
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