Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Describe the purpose and process of criminal trials, including capital trials.
  • Summarize how sentencing has changed over time and the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of sentencing.
  • Differentiate the policy implications and costs of various sentencing alternatives in the United States.
  • Summarize issues of diversity among defendants, jurors, and those sentenced for crimes.
  • Identify how capital cases differ from noncapital criminal cases and why capital cases are more expensive than noncapital cases.
  • Identify the victim's role in criminal cases over time and rights gained by victims, specifically what victim impact statements are, how they are given, and the role they play in the criminal justice system.