Tell me about Challenge for Cause and Peremptory Challenge in the jury selection process.
In the jury selection process, lawyers may exercise the ability to excuse prospective jurors from the venire. Challenges for cause seek to excuse jurors based on specific criteria that by common sense should disqualify them, such as a relationship with counsel or a previously-formed opinion on the case. Each lawyer is also given a limited number of peremptory challenges, which allow them to excuse jury members without giving a reason. Excusing jurors intentionally based on race or gender, however, is prohibited.
Tell me about Interrogatories and Depositions.
Interrogatories and depositions are both optional parts to the discovery phase of litigation. Interrogatories are a less expensive means, and consist of lists of written questions to which the witness responds written answers. Depositions, in contrast, consist of the lawyer asking the witness questions orally and are often recorded by electronic equipment or a court reporter. Both methods allow a wide scope of questioning, but length limitations on both are incentive for lawyers to ask only relevant questions.
Tell me about the Federal Court Sytem and its parts
The federal court system is composed of three parts. The US District Courts have original jurisdiction and hear federal cases in their first instance, tried by judge or jury. The US Courts of Appeals, or “circuit courts,” have no original jurisdiction and are limited to benches of judges hearing appeals–errors of law–from the district courts. The US Supreme Court consists of nine justices who hear appeals from the circuit courts or state supreme courts, and also have limited original jurisdiction in some cases, such as over a lawsuit between different states. The Supreme Court has discretion over cases it hears.
Tell me about the Arizona court system and its parts.
The Arizona Court System consists of four parts. At the lowest level are Municipal Courts and Justice of the Peace Courts. MCs hear minor crimes, like traffic crimes, while JP courts hear civil cases under $10,000 and some lower crimes. At the next level, Superior Courts have original jurisdiction over higher crimes and appellate jurisdiction over MCs and JPs. Next are the AZ Courts of Appeals, in which three-judge panels review cases from Superior Courts. At the highest level AZ Supreme Courts review cases from the AZ Courts of Appeals or, in death penalty cases, directly from Superior Courts.
Compare/contrast law and equity
Law and equity are types of relief requested in civil litigation. Cases of law involve the plaintiff requesting the court to award money damages for a sustained injury. These include general damages for “pain and suffering;” special damages for specific expenses to reimburse the plaintiff for money paid in relation to the injury, such as medical bills; and punitive damages to punish the defendant for gross negligence. Equity, in contrast, is based in fairness and justice, and consists of a plaintiff asking for a specific thing to happen (as in a specific performance or request for declaratory relief) or not happen (as in an injunction).
Tell me about how Marbury v. Madison shaped judicial review.
The power of judicial review was not an enumerated cosntitutional power of the judicial branch. Instead, in reviewing the case of Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court found that a Congress-issued expansion of its original jurisdiction powers was unconstitutional. Though this was on its face an act of self-restraint on the part of the Supreme Court, it set precedent for the Supreme Court to review acts of Congress and declare them unconstitutional.
Describe federalism as it regards reserved powers, granted (enumerated) powers and concurrent powers.
Federalism–the distribution of power betewen state and national government–is distributed in three ways by the Constitution. Granted, or enumerated, powers are those specifically delegated to the branches of the federal government. Reserved powers are specifically reserved to the states by way of the 10th Amedment–these are referred to as all powers not expressly granted to the federal government. Concurrent powers are those which can be exercised by both state and federal governments, such as the power to tax.
Tell me about federal question jurisdiction, diversity jurisdiction and supplemental jurisdiction
Federal courts can have jurisdiction over cases in three ways. Federal question jurisdiction is the power of federal courts to hear cases stemming from federal laws or which involve an issue with the US Constitution. Diversity Jurisdiction is the power of the federal court to hear cases in which opposing parties are from different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. Supplemental jurisdiction is the power of federal courts to hear parts of cases that would not themselves be of federal issue if they are part of cases under federal jurisdiction, for the sake of expeidience.
Tell me about the four methods of service of process
Service of process can be accomplished in four basic ways. Personal service is the delivery of service directly to the defendant. Substituted service is an alternative to personal service and involves service to another person who has sufficient ties with the defendant–such as a spouse or the defendant’s personal secretary. Constructive service is an alternative solution, such as certified mail, devised by a judge to serve on an elusive defendant. Long-arm statutes allow service, as well, on defendants from other states, if the defendant had sufficient contacts within the forum state.
Tell me about the three federal power Clauses of the Constitution.
A few clauses of the Constitution have been referred to regularly in granting expansive power to the federal goverment. The Supremacy Clause establishes the federal government as the “supreme law of the land” and was used to set up the ruling that state constitutions must acquiesce to the US Constitution. The Necessary and Proper Clause allows Congress to enact laws reasonably related to its Constitutionally-enumerated powers, leaving the door open for expansive implied power. The Commerce Clause is Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce, and liberal interpretation of this by the Supreme Court has allowed Congress to link other powers to it–such as banning transportation of prostitutes across state lines.
Tell me about the 5 amendments that relate to rights of the accused.
Five Amendments from the Bill of Rights relate to the rights of the accused. The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. The Fifth Amendment requires a grand jury to indict, prevents double jeopardy, and protects defendants from incriminating themselves by taking the stand. The Sixth Amendment includes the rights of a speedy and public trial, right to subpoena and confront witnesses and the right to counsel. The Seventh Amendment allows the option of a jury trial for all matters over $20. The Eighth Amendment protects against both excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.
The principle that evidence illegally seized by law enforcement officers in violation of a suspect’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures cannot be used against the suspect in a criminal prosecution.
Doctrine of harmless error
Legal principle that holds that an appellate court should not reverse a decision of a lower tribunal because of an error that does not affect the substantial rights of the parties
fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine
a doctrine based on judicial interpretation of the 4th Amendment that holds that evidence that is derived from illegally seized evidence cannot be used by the prosecution
impugning the credibility of a witness by introducing contradictory evidence or proving his or her bad character
a document filed by a prosecutor under oath charging one or more persons with the commission of a crime
a question that suggests an answer. Not permitted in cross-exam.
a hearing held to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to hold an accused for trial
a reasonable ground for belief in certain alleged facts
proof beyond a reasonable doubt
the standard of proof in a criminal trial or a juvenile delinquency hearing
“To speak the truth.” The process by which prospective jurors are questioned by counsel and/or the court before being selected to serve on a jury.
an appearance before a court of law for the purpose of pleading to a criminal charge
a capital trial with separate phases for determining guilt and punishment
What does the 4th Amendment cover?
Unreasonable search and seizure
What does the 5th Amendment cover?
- Grand jury indictment
- No double jeopardy
- No compelled to be witness against self
- Due process
What does the 6th Amendment cover?
- speedy & public trial by jury in criminal cases
- informed of nature and cause of crime
- confronted with witnesses
- compulsory process of own witnesses
- right to counsel
What does the 7th Amendment cover?
Right to a jury for civil matters over $20
What does the 8th Amendment cover?
- No excessive bail
- No cruel & unusual punishment