Choosing justice: the recruitment of state and federal judges

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Usually, each judge has his or her own clerk. The clerk prepares all case files that a judge will need for the day. In some jurisdictions, the law clerks are lawyers who have just completed law school and may have already passed the bar exam. In other jurisdictions, the law clerks are not legally trained but may have specialized paralegal training or legal assistant training. Local and State Trial Court Administrators.

Local and state trial court administrators oversee the administration of the courts. One difficulty in qualifying for a court-appointed attorney is having equity in a home that cannot be easily sold quickly enough to provide resources for the defendant to hire an attorney. Another difficulty for indigency verification officers is getting the information needed from defendants who may be suffering from mental health issues. Bailiffs are the court staff responsible for courtroom security. Bailiffs are often local sheriff deputies or other law enforcement officers or sometimes former officers , but they can also be civilians hired by the court.

Sometimes, courts will use volunteer bailiffs. Bailiffs work under the supervision of the trial court administrator. During court proceedings, bailiffs or clerks call the session to order, announce the entry of the judge, make sure that public spectators remain orderly, keep out witnesses who might testify later if the judge orders them excluded upon request of either party , and attend to the jurors.

As courtroom security becomes a bigger concern, law enforcement officers are increasingly used as bailiffs, and they are responsible for the safety of the court personnel, spectators, witnesses, and any of the parties. In some communities, law enforcement bailiffs may transport in-custody defendants from the jail to the courthouse and back. In most jurisdictions today, bailiffs screen people for weapons and require them to silence cell phones before allowing them to enter the courtroom.

Judicial Branch

The jury clerk: sends out jury summons to potential jurors, works with jurors requests for postponements of jury service, coordinates with the scheduling clerk to make sure enough potential jurors show up at the courthouse each day there is a trial, schedules enough grand jurors to fill all the necessary grand jury panels, arranges payment to jurors for their jury service, and arranges lodging and meals for jurors in the rare event of jury sequestration. Court structure varies from the courthouse to courthouse, but frequently court staff is divided into units. For example, staff may be assigned to work in the criminal unit, the civil unit, the traffic unit, the small claims unit, the juvenile unit, the family unit, or the probate unit.

Court staff are expected to have a vast knowledge of myriad local court rules and protocols, statutes, and administrative rules that govern filing processes, filing fees, filing timelines, accounting, record maintenance, as well as a knowledge of general office practices such as ordering supplies, mastering office machinery, and ensuring that safety protocol is established and followed. Recently, many courts have transitioned to electronic filing of all documents, usually managed through a centralized state court system.

This transition presents challenges to court staff as they learn the new filing software, keep up with new filings, and archive the past court documents. Release assistance officers RAO are court employees who meet with defendants at the jail to gather information to pass on to the judge who makes release decisions.

Structure of the Court System: Crash Course Government and Politics #19

The availability of space at the jail may also play a role in whether an individual is released. Court and jail staff may need to work together to establish release protocols when space is limited. The RAO should have a significant voice in drafting those protocols. Whether the RAO recommends security bail or conditional release, the RAO will generally suggest to the judge the conditions that the defendant should abide by if he or she makes bail or is conditionally released.

Defendants released prior to trial will sign release agreements indicating the conditions of release recommended by the RAO and imposed by the judge. The scheduling clerk, or docketing clerk, set all hearings and trials on the court docket. The scheduling clerk notes the anticipated duration of trials most trials are concluded within one day , speedy trial constraints, statutory and local court rules time frames, etc.

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The role of the scheduling clerk is extremely important, and an experienced scheduling clerk contributes to the overall efficiency of the legal process. Ineffective or inefficient scheduling causes delay, frustration, and may impede the justice process. Skip to content Increase Font Size. Bailiffs Bailiffs are the court staff responsible for courtroom security.

Jury Clerk The jury clerk: sends out jury summons to potential jurors, works with jurors requests for postponements of jury service, coordinates with the scheduling clerk to make sure enough potential jurors show up at the courthouse each day there is a trial, schedules enough grand jurors to fill all the necessary grand jury panels, arranges payment to jurors for their jury service, and arranges lodging and meals for jurors in the rare event of jury sequestration.

Court Clerks and Staff Court structure varies from the courthouse to courthouse, but frequently court staff is divided into units. Release Assistance Officers Release assistance officers RAO are court employees who meet with defendants at the jail to gather information to pass on to the judge who makes release decisions.


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Scheduling Clerk The scheduling clerk, or docketing clerk, set all hearings and trials on the court docket. Eisentstein, J. Felony Justice: An organizational analysis of criminal courts. J udicial selection in the United States: A special report. Slotnick Ed. Judicial Politics: Readings from Judicature 3d ed. Formal judicial recruitment and state supreme court decisions.


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Improving the legal process. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books. Previous: 7. Federal Appellate Review of State Cases. Next: 7. Courtroom Players: Prosecutors. License 7.

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Share This Book. Senate confirms them. Many federal judges are appointed for life, which serves to ensure their independence and immunity from political pressure. Their removal is possible only through impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate. Since , the official number of Supreme Court justices has been set at nine. Thirteen appellate courts, or U. Courts of Appeals, sit below the Supreme Court.

Below that, 94 federal judicial districts are organized into 12 regional circuits, each of which has its own court of appeals. Over the years, the Supreme Court has issued controversial verdicts in a number of milestone cases, including:. Sandford — The Court ruled that a slave was not a citizen, and that Congress could not outlaw slavery in U. Civil War. Arizona — The Court ruled that police must inform criminal suspects of their rights before questioning them.

Connecticut protected by the 14th Amendment. Bush winning the election over Vice President Al Gore. The Judicial Branch, WhiteHouse. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. The legislative branch of the federal government, composed primarily of the U. The members of the two houses of Congress—the House of Representatives and the Senate—are elected by the citizens of the United States.

The executive branch is one of three primary parts of the U. The president of the United States is the chief of the executive branch, which also The three branches of the U.

According to the doctrine of separation of powers, the U. Constitution distributed the power of the federal government among these three branches, and built a system of checks and The system of checks and balances in government was developed to ensure that no one branch of government would become too powerful. The framers of the U.

Constitution built a system that divides power between the three branches of the U.

Federal Judicial Nominations: 9 Steps from Vacancy to Confirmation - Center for American Progress

First established in , the FBI has often been criticized for violating the civil rights of Established by the U. Constitution, the Supreme Court has the ultimate jurisdiction over all laws within the United States and is An executive order is an official directive from the U. Throughout history, executive orders have been one way that the power of the president and the executive branch of government has expanded—to FOIA plays an important role in keeping government transparent and accountable, and has been used to expose a The national debt is the total amount of money that the U.

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