The State Judicial Selection Process
Judicial Selection Process Of Florida
In the state of Florida, the judiciary is composed of four different areas (McClellan, 1991). These are: the county courts, the circuit courts, the district court of appeals and the supreme court. The judicial selection process is not a very complicated one. The appellate judges are chosen through merit. This process involves retention and they can become trial judges if they are chosen during nonpartisan elections. The vacancies in these trial courts are usually filled after the governor chooses candidates who are recommended. These are done through what are called judicial nominating commissions.
During the year 2000, there was a local option in Florida for the merit selection and retention. This was seen to appear on the November ballot. Before the actual election, proponents of the selection process were emphasized (Myers, 2013). This called out an issue which tarnished the judiciary system. Many people believed that the people should have the right to vote for those trial judges and that the merit selection process was something that is considered “closed door” and “elite”. The measure for the right of citizens to vote received much support. Opposition for this measure came from minority groups and other groups who were worried that the bench would suffer under merit selection. Ultimately, the measure was rejected in every jurisdiction in the nation, and the average vote was only about 32%.
In Florida, there are twenty-six nominating commissions that have the role of screening applicants for the vacancies in the courts of Florida (McClellan, 1991). These are the commissions that recommend qualified candidates to the governor. Each commission has nine members who are appointed by the current governor of the state. Out of the nine, four of the members are lawyers who are appointed from a list which is submitted by the Florida Bar. Another two are also lawyer, but they do not have to be appointed by the Florida Bar and three are residents of the jurisdiction.
Judicial Selection Process Of New York
Out of the fifty states, the structure of the New York Judiciary system is considered to be the most complex one (Myers, 2013). There are multiple courts that function in the state, this include the regular court of appeals, supreme court, court of claims and the appellate division of the supreme court. There is also the family court and the surrogate’s court. Many courts within the state also only operate in New York City. These courts include the civil and criminal courts of New York City. Along with this, there are also courts which only exist outside the city; these are the town and village justice courts, district courts, city courts and county courts. Another different thing about the New York Court system, which makes it all the more confusing, is that it calls the major court of the state the “supreme court” (Myers, 2013). This is a title given by most states to the court that is considered the last resort.
The trial court judges of New York are chosen through partisan elections. There are judicial candidates that compete in a set of elections. These individuals determine who will represent the party within the general elections. When it comes to the supreme court judges, according to the statute of the state, the candidates are to be chosen only through a party convention. This is a system where the voters choose the delegates, after which the delegates choose a candidate for the seat.
Recently, unsuccessful candidates for this position challenged the process. They claimed that is discouraged people who were considered party outsiders from seeking seats within the Supreme Court. However, the United States Supreme Court held its decision, just in the year 2008, which was unanimous and the process remained.
In the year 1977, the people of New York voted and approved a constitutional amendment which called for the merit selection of judges for the highest court as well as the court of appeals (Glick & Emmert, 1986). This means, when there is a vacancy within the court, the commission chooses three to seven people as candidates and submits their names to the governor. The governor then chooses one person for the vacancy, and it must be confirmed by the senate before being official.
The Judicial Selection Process Of Florida vs. The Judicial Selection Process Of New York
The Judicial selection process of Florida and New York are both based on a merit system. This means that the citizens do not vote for the supreme court judges, it is done within the system in a “closed door” process (Glick & Emmert, 1986). These processes are both considered merit selection processes. These are done through the judicial nominating commissions. The nominating commissions of Florida and New York are different, as the latter state is a bit more complicated. There are more members in the commission of New York and the process of choosing the people for these positions require nominating, voting and appointing. Whereas, in Florida, most of the positions are appointed by the Florida Bar (McClellan, 1991). The selection process for these two states vary slightly because the definition of the major courts are different. In New York, there exists a judicial screening committee, whereas in Florida there is none. The nomination for the seats in the commission for New York consist of more people because there are more parties involved. There are representatives for groups that are not present in the commission on judicial nomination in Florida. For example, a minority leader of the senate is present in the nominating commission of New York.
History And Organization Of The Levels Of The American Court System
Crime is defined by Merriam-Webster (2010) as “an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law”. It is something which is reprehensible, foolish or disgraceful. Simply put, a crime is an act committed which breaks the law.
The Criminal Justice System is the system and practices where the government uses to control, deter and mitigate crime. It is responsible for the sanctioning of those who commit crimes and violate the law with certain penalties, consequences and rehabilitation efforts. The criminal justice system refers to a collection of federal, state, and local public institutions which deal with those who break the law, and general crime problems (“The United States Department of Justice”, 2010).
These agencies or institutions are responsible for processing suspects, defendants as well as convicted offenders. The legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government provide the basic framework of the criminal justice system (“The United States Criminal Justice System”, 2010a). The specific responsibilities of the three are as follows:
- The legislature
The legislatures define crime, handle sentences and provide funding for criminal justice agencies. This applies for both state and federal.
- The judiciary
The adjudication of the accused in a trial court, and appellate courts interpret the law in accordance to the principals of the constitution. They are responsible for making judgments. The legislative decisions are reviewed by both state and federal appellate courts and the decision whether it falls within the boundaries of the state law, federal law or the United States Constitution are made. The courts are granted power by the judicial review for the evaluation of legislative acts in terms of their conformity to the Constitution. An appellate court has the right to strike down a law if it is in conflict with the Constitution.
- The executive branch
Executive power is given to mayors, governors and the president. They have the power to appoint the heads of agencies as well as judges on matters of criminal justice. Heads of agencies are police chiefs and directors of departments of corrections.
The Justice system has three major components which help prevent and/or deter crime by apprehending, putting through trial and then punishing offenders (“The United States Criminal Justice System”, 2010). The three major components are as follows:
- Police Departments
These are public agencies which serve the purpose of maintaining order. They enforce the criminal law as well as provide service to civilians. Police officers are those who operate in communities for the prevention and control of crime. Their cooperation with prosecutors and criminal investigations is crucial in gathering necessary evidence in order to obtain convictions in court.
These are tribunals where juries and judges determine whether or not a person accused of violating a criminal law is guilty. To seek truth and justice is the main purpose of the courts and their primary actors are prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges.
Corrections include jail, prison, parole, probation and other community-based sanctions – electronic monitoring, house arrest, etc. These correctional agencies are for the punishment of crimes, to rehabilitate and also to ensure public safety.
The United States’ administration of justice is a state as well as a local affair. Two-thirds of all criminal justice workers are employed by the state and local governments. Much larger shares of costs for criminal justice are paid by these as compared to the federal government. Protection from criminal offenders such as thieves, rapists and murderers are provided by state, county and city criminal justice agencies.
Functions such as enforcing laws, trying cases and punishing offenders are carried out by both federal and state justice systems; however the laws and agencies of the two systems are different. Laws which are enforced by the state and local police are carried out by state legislature. Individuals accused of violating laws in state courts are tried by prosecutors from the city and the county. Offenders are then sentenced and convicted by judges for breaking these state laws. Their convictions are either to serve time in locally supervised jails or in state-controlled correctional institutions. Congress is responsible for enacting criminal laws at the federal level. It is then the duty of federal law enforcement agencies to enforce these laws. Attorneys prosecute those accused of committing federal crimes; these are tried in U.S. courts. The Federal Bureau of Prisons provides programs and institutions to punish those convicted of federal crimes.
Glick, H. R., & Emmert, C. F. (1986). Selection Systems and Judicial Charateristics: The
Recruitment State Supreme Court Judges. Judicature, 70, 228.
Crime. (2010). Merriam-webster. Retrieved September 30, 2010, from http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/crime
McClellan, M. B. (1991). Merit Appointment Versus Popular Election: A Reformers Guide to
Judicial Selection Methods in Florida. Fla. L. Rev., 43, 529.
Myers, K. O. (2013). Merit Selection and Diversity on the Bench. Ind. L. Rev.,46, 43-241.
The United States criminal justice system. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.edudecisions.com/articles/criminal-justice-careers/system.php
The United States department of justice. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/
The United States criminal justice system. (2010a). Retrieved from http://www.criminal-justice- education.com/articles/us-criminal-justice-system/index.php