Criminal procedures are designed to sentence criminals in a fair manner under the constitution. They’re guaranteed rights throughout investigations and prosecutions during a trial. They will either be tried in a state or federal court. Usually, if a person breaks both a federal and state law, the federal government will defer the case to the state government; cases relating to tax evasion and terrorism will always be taken by the federal court. If the person isn’t prosecuted then the evidence and anything that was found associating to that evidence will be thrown out, but if they continue with the proceedings, then the suspect will be given the right to acquire lawyers to support the defendant’s case in the arraignment hearing. During this hearing, a defendant enters a guilty, not guilty, or no contest plea; this gives a chance for the defendant to admit to any wrongdoing, which can speed the process of a criminal procedure if they plead guilty to their crimes. Then, the case enters into a pretrial hearing which exchanges information between prosecution and defense. Collecting enough information is very important because it helps find pertinent facts for the case which can be used as evidence to prosecute the accused of his or her crimes.
After the pretrial hearing, the case enters into a preliminary hearing which seeks to find if there’s sufficient evidence that can try the convict. For a criminal procedure, there are two types of trials: jury trial and court trial. In a jury trial, the evidence is presented and either the jury finds you guilty or not guilty. If you’re not guilty, you cannot be tried for the same crime again under the protection of the 5th Amendment; the jury can only find that the defendant is guilty if there’s a beyond a reasonable doubt for the crime (there’s a great likelihood that the accused committed what was charged). In a court trial, the judge hears evidence and arguments presented, then decides if the defendant is guilty or not. During the sentencing hearing, the judge decides the punishment for the crimes committed by the defendant. Once a criminal case is concluded, the accused may appeal the crimes as necessary (asking a higher court to review their case for any legal errors).
This process is to ensure that anyone convicted of a crime has their constitutional rights protected and bear the government responsible for inaccurate or unfair actions against them. The role of the District Court in a criminal procedure is that they have jurisdiction over civilian criminal cases. The Court of Appeals for the federal circuit reviews decisions made by these district courts if a party is dissatisfied with a decision. After that, if a party’s still dissatisfied, they may ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision, but usually is under no obligation to do so. Court decisions almost always stop at the court of appeals and rarely does it ever reach the supreme court.
These level of courts applies the same concepts to civil proceedings with not much in distinction. Both start off in the district courts, and transition up to the court of appeals, and the supreme court. Civil procedures start with a filed complaint by someone who has been damaged by the accused, wanting to be compensated for the damage inflicted.
These cases usually take place in a state court instead of a federal court; it only goes to the federal court if apart of it becomes involved (i.e. a person suing a federal law officer). To initiate a civil case is extremely expensive as these expenses add up from fees, depositions, and other costs. To start, a complaint filing fee costs about $320. An attorney usually charges at an hourly rate which usually costs $100-$300 per hour for less experienced, and $500+ for more experienced attorneys.
There are also motion filing fees which cost $40-$150 for every motion filed in a lawsuit. During the pre-filing stage, parties try to negotiate with each other, settle disputes, and prepare for court action. After complaints have been filed, they may begin to look for evidence during the discovery process. In this process, there are six types of discoveries that can be used when searching for evidence. For one, parties can use interrogatories which are questions put by one party and has to be answered by another; this is limited to 50. Another is requests for production of documents and inspection, which can be used to search on properties, and records relevant to the case (banking and medical). Requests for admissions require the other party to admit or deny specific facts or to admit or deny the authenticity of documents.
Depositions call upon witnesses from either party to answer questions under oath. Subpoenas duces tecum requests information from non-parties; this can include the hotel, banking, and school records. Physical and mental examinations can supply information of an individual’s mental health — this may be useful in proving if a parent is capable of raising children.
These discovery processes are used to collect as much information as possible for a trial.Once evidence is collected, the case moves into a pre-trial stage. During this stage, parties could resolve the case in a settlement conference, or just focus on limiting issues for the trial. If the trial proceeds, then it’s heard by a jury or the judge. If a case decides it wants to be heard by a jury, it could cost $15,000-$20,000 from the start. During this, depending on the complexity of the case, a party might want to hire an expert to serve as expert witness or educate the jury/judge on the background of a certain issue; this usually costs $200-$600 an hour. Concluding the trial is similar to a criminal procedure, where the judge rules based on evidence provided.
However, in a jury trial, its findings differ from a criminal procedure where it’s ‘preponderance of evidence’ rather than ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ meaning there’s enough evidence to provide proof of damages inflicted upon plaintiff by defendant. This process usually forces people to not have a trial, but rather to settle disputes accordingly with parties involved.