Study Questions

  1. What are activist judges, and why do they invoke such controversy?
  2. How do criminal and civil cases differ?
  3. What is the appeals process? Which courts hear such cases in the states?
  4. What two values compete in the selection of judges? What is the Missouri Plan? How does the merit system for selecting judges differ from a pure appointive system?
  5. What are the roles of prosecutors and defense attorneys? What political pressures does a prosecutor face?
  6. What are determinant sentencing laws? What are habitual offender, truth-in-sentencing, and mandatory minimum sentencing laws? How do these laws affect judicial discretion?
  7. What programs are used by states in an attempt to alleviate overcrowding in prisons?
  8. What methods have states adopted in an attempt to reduce judicial caseloads?