Homework Question on Criminal Justice
- Explain when the right to a speedy trial applies.
- Under what circumstances could a judge be considered not impartial (biased)? Cite relevant cases.
- Can the right to a jury trial be waived? If so, what are the requirements for doing so?
- What are the requirements for a successful fair cross-section challenge of a jury panel?
Homework Answer on Criminal Justice
This paper seeks to answer a number of questions; First of all, it provides an in-depth analysis of instances when the defendant is granted the right to a speedy trial. It then highlights the various circumstances under which the judge is considered not impartial citing two cases where the Supreme Court held that the presiding judges were not impartial. Additionally, the paper answers the question as to whether the right to a jury trial can be waived as well as the requirements for the same. Finally, the paper highlights the requirements for a fair jury panel.
The American constitution guarantees defendants charged with criminal cases the right to a speedy trial. The states also have constitutional statutes that grants the defendant their right to a speedy trial(Schmalleger, 2012). The definition of the term as well as the benefits that accrues to the defendant upon demanding the right varies from one state to the other. The justifications for granting the right to a speedy trial include avoiding the lengthy and groundless imprisonments, minimizing the anxiety resulting from awaiting the resolutions of the case. It also safeguards the defendant’s ability to defend himself against the criminal charges since prolonging the trial may lead to disappearance of the evidence. Prolonging the trial also results in witnesses’ memory fading away over time.
Judges are considered biased when they issue warrants with the objective of gaining financially. Where the judge presiding over a criminal case has a financial stake in the outcome of the trial, he is not considered impartial. For instance, in the case of Tumey v. Ohio (1927), the presiding judge was the city mayor (Burns, 2007). He received fees and fines levied against those who had been convicted in the courtroom. Since the judge had a direct, substantial, and personal interest in reaching the conclusion against the defendant, the Supreme Court held that the judge violated the due process. A similar decision was made in the case of
Ward v. Monroeville(1972). Although the fines and fees levied by the judge in this case did not directly go the presiding judge, but were paid into the City’s Budget, the amount charged was substantial. The court held that the due process was not followed. It was held that the presiding judge’s goal of raising finances for the city made him a partisan.