The Louisiana Boys State Judicial System 2 Distinct Jurisdictions
Louisiana Boys State Criminal Code BREAKABLE LAWS Police Jury writes Parish Ordinance
City Council writes City Ordinance
CRIME OCCURS Sheriff
Arrests Made By
Case Tried By
Parish Public Defender
Defendant Represented By
City Public Defender
Appeal To BOYS STATE SUPREME COURT
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COUNSELOR ORIENTATION INTRODUCTION The following is your introduction to the Louisiana Boys State Judicial System. It covers, City Courts, District Court and Supreme Court - highlighting officals, tips and trial procedures. CITY COURTS City Court A (Caddo - LaSalle) City Court B (Orleans- Tangipahoa) Both City Courts function in trying cases for offenses committed on the city level. The officials for the City Courts are as follows: City Judge (elected) Prosecuting Attorney (elected) City Public Defender (elected) Clerk of Court (elected) Bailiff (appointed by staff) Jury (7 Citizens randomly chosen by counselors) DISTRICT COURTS 1. District Court at Boys State is run according to the same procedures used in City Court, except the offenses tried have been committed on the parish level. 2. In real life, the District Court has appellate jurisdiction; however, at Boys State it does not. In Louisiana each parish has its own District Court. From the District Court, a case goes to one of four State Courts of Appeal. The next highest court would be the State Supreme Court. From this court, a case would go to the United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the land. On the Federal Level, there also exist District Courts and Federal Courts of Appeal. 3. The official for City and District Courts are the same, only the Clerk of Court District Court is elected. SUPREME COURT 1. The Supreme Court shall consist of one justice from each parish. 2. The Chief Justice is elected by the Justices of the Court. 3. Two-thirds of the elected Justices shall constitute a quorum. 4. A majority vote is necessary for every decision. 5. A case reaches the State Supreme Court when an error is found in the District Court. In a criminal suit, only the defense (i.e. not state) attorney may appeal a case. In a civil case, either party losing may appeal. Only the attorneys representing the parties in the case may appear before the Supreme Court. Each presents his case and a verdict is rendered. 6. All appellate courts have several options. They may refuse a case, thus, affirming the holding of the lower court, or they may hear the case again. 7. The Supreme Court at Boys State will hear appellate cases from both the City and District courts. 8. The function of the Supreme Court is to decide if the given verdict is just. If the majority of Supreme Court Justices decide that is was not, then the defendant is acquitted or the Supreme Court REMANDS the case back to the lower court. If the Supreme Court decides that the verdict was just, but the sentence was cruel and/or unusual punishment then the Supreme Court can remand for resentencing.
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TRIAL PROCEDURE As the Judge enters, the Bailiff says, “All Rise. Oyez, oyez.” (pronounced “o yay”) the (name of the court) is now in session. The Honorable Judge _____________ presiding. Order and silence are commanded. God save Louisiana Boys State and this Honorable Court.” The Judge says, “You may be seated” and then calls upon the Prosecutor to read the Bill of Information. Once the bill is read, Judge asks the Defendant if he understands the charge against him. If he does not, the Judges explains the nature of the offense. Once the Judge is certain the Defendant understands the charge, he asks the Defendant to enter his plea. “Mr.________ how do you plead?” 1. If the defendant pleads guilty, the judge sentences him. 2. If he pleads not guilty, the trial begins. Prosecution’s Opening Statement Always begins with “May it please the court, opposing counsel ... “ Briefly outlines the elements of the crime and what evidence he will introduce to prove them. Defense’s Opening Statement Always begins with “May it please the court, opposing counsel … ” Briefly outlines his version of the facts. Prosecution calls it witness. Bailiff swears him in: “Raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” When witness says, “I do,” judge tells him to be seated. Prosecution begins his direct examination. Begins with preliminary questions such as witness’s name, his office, etc. • Lays foundationfor witness’s testimony by asking him question, which will show that he has direct knowledge of the facts about which we will testify. For example, if an eyes witness, the question should place the witness at the time and place of the alleged crime and show that he saw and happened. • Questions witness about the facts relevant to the case. Defense cross-examines the witness. • Attempts to cast doubt on the witness’s truthfulness or credibility • Probes weaknesses in his testimony or his memory of the event. Repeat the above steps for all Prosection’s Witnesses Defense calls its witness. Bailiff swears him in: “Raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” When witness says, “I do,” judge tells him to be seated. Defense begins his direct examination. Begins with preliminary questions such as witness’s name, his office, etc. • Lays foundationfor witness’s testimony by asking him question, which will show that he has direct knowledge of the facts about which we will testify. For example, if an eyes witness, the question should place the witness at the time and place of the alleged crime and show that he saw and happened. • Questions witness about the facts relevant to the case.
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TRIAL PROCEDURE cont. Prosection cross-examines the witness. • Attempts to cast doubt on the witness’s truthfulness or credibility • Probes weaknesses in his testimony or his memory of the event. Repeat the above steps for all Defense’s Witnesses Prosocution’s Summation — summarizes facts and evidence in the Prosoctution’s favor, points out weaknesses in Defense’s case, and calls upon the court find the Defendant guilty. Defense’s Summation — summarizes facts and evidence in the Defendant’s favor, points out weaknesses in Prosecution’s case, and calls upon the court to acquit the Defendant. The Prosecution has the option of giving a short rebuttal to Defendant’s closing argument. The Jury steps aside and deliberates for 5 mintutes. Should they require more time, one Juror may ask, “Your Honor, the Jury requests an additional ___ minutes for deliberation.” The Jury returns to their seats, and one member rises to read the verdict: Judge: “Has the Jury reached a verdict?” Juror: “We have Your Honor. Judge: “Will the Defendant please rise.” Jury: “We the Jury find _________ (guilty/not guilty) on the charge of ____________. If guilty, Defendant is sentenced by the judge. *If found Guilty, the Defense Attorney should immediatly file an Appeal with the Supreme Court.
ADDITIONAL NOTES TO COUNSELORS • Citizens should be encouraged to use their imagination and to be professional. Our goal is to learn basic courtroom procedure, but we want it to be fun. • It is suggested that cases be placed on the docket, as they are ready to be presented. As case #1 begins to wind up, one of the attorneys for case #3 should go get witnesses, clerk of court, and bailiff for his case. • The following should be posted on the blackboard in each courtroom. 1. The docket 2. The name of the Defense and the Prosecuting Attorneys, Presiding Judge and Clerk of Court. • The Court Rules (Section III) should be read and explained at the briefing session and reviewed again at the first courts sessions.
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SUPREME COURT PROCEDURE NATURE OF SUPREME COURT 1. The Supreme Court does not try cases. Instead it hears appeals of decisions of the lower courts and decides whether the cases were decided in accordance with the law. 2. The Supreme Court is the only court of appellate jurisdiction at Boys State and it hears direct appeals from both the City and District Courts. In Louisiana (but not at Boys State), the District Court can hear appeals from the City Court, and there are five Circuit Courts of Appeal, which hear civil and criminal appeals from the District Courts. The Supreme Court of Louisiana only hears from the Courts of Appeal. 3. In Louisiana, the Supreme Court is a court of discretionary jurisdiction that is, it gets to decide which cases it is going to hear. On the other hand, each criminal defendant has an absolute right to appeal his conviction to the court of appeal. *At Boys State, since there are no courts of appeals, each convicted defendant has an absolute right to appeal his conviction to the Supreme Court. PROCEDURE 1. The Bailiff calls the first case on the docket” The Supreme Court of Louisiana Boys State will now hear the case of The State versus (Defendant). The attorney for the State and the attorney for the Defendant will now draw neigh and be heard before this honorable court.” 2. The Chief Justice asks each of the attorneys if he is ready to proceed with oral argument. 3. Defense gives his oral argument- 3-minute maximum. 1. Gives his name and the name of the person he represents. 2. Briefly explains the facts of the case: type of crime, list of events leading up to the arrest, length and type of sentence imposed. 3. Concisely and logically sets out why the Court should overturn the decision if the trial court. Each reason that he gives for doing so is called an “Assignment of Error” Recall that the Court can only reverse a case if its decision was incorrect under the law. At Boys State, a trial court decision can be overturned only for one or more of the following reasons: a) The Statue of ordinance under which the defendant was convicted was unconstitutional. b) The trial court admitted evidence, over any objection by the defense that is inadmissible under Boys State Rules of Evidence. c) The trial court violated Boys State Trial Procedure in a way that hurt the defendant. d) The court misread the statue or ordinance, applying it to conduct which it was not designed to cover or which, by its terms, it died not expressly cover. e) The court gave the defendant a sentence, which was not authorized by the statue or ordinance. 4. Since the Supreme Court gives deference to (that is respects) the decisions of the trial courts, in order to win, the defense must show the trial court decision was clearly wrong. 4. Prosecution gives his oral argument- 4-minute maximum. 1. Gives his name and the name of the parish or city that he represents. 2. Either agrees with the defense version of the facts, or (only if the difference is important), explains his version. 3. Refutes the defense’s assignments of error.
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SUPREME COURT PROCEDURE cont. 5. Defense Attorney gives a one-minute rebuttal. 6. The Justices confer and agree on a decision. The Chief Justice or a Justice assigned to him reads the decision and the Court’s reasons for reaching that decision. • The Court can: 1. Affirm the decision. This means that the Court agrees with the decision of the trial court and will get the conviction stand. 2. Reverse the decision. This means that the Court finds that the trial court decided wrongly. A reversal results in the defendant’s acquittal – double jeopardy prevents him from ever being tried again for the same offense. 3. Reverse and remand the decision. This means the Court has decided to overturn the conviction and give the trial correctly. When the Supreme Court reverses and should do to correct the mistakes. • Decisions are by majority vote. If one or more justices disagree with the result reached by the majority (affirm, reverse, or reverse and remand), he or they may write a dissenting opinion, explaining the disagreement with the majority decision. A justice who agrees with the result but disagrees with the reasons for the result may write a concurring opinion, explaining the disagreement with the reasoning of the majority. Votes to concur in the results are counted as votes for that result in computing the majority, but if a majority does not agree on the reasons for the decision, those reasons are not law.
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CITIZEN BRIEFING 1. When the citizens arrive, determine that the correct people are there. They are the city and parish judges, prosecuting and defense attorneys, clerks of court (NOT CITY CLERKS); Supreme Court Justices. 2. Give a brief outline of the court system at Boys State as compared to the actual system in Louisiana. 3. Explain the following concerning Criminal and Civil Cases: In real life, there are two types of cases tried in the courts: civil and criminal cases. Both types may be based on disobedience of a city or parish ordinance. A civil action is one committed against an individual citizen. Some examples would be car wreck, malpractice, defamation of character, battery, you tripping on the rug in my house. Civil actions are usually compensatory, that they compensate the victim through monetary settlement. Criminal actions, instead are usually punitive. At Boys State, since we will have no monetary compensations, all of our cases will be considered as criminal cases. A criminal action is one committed against a prosecuted by the state. Some examples would be speeding, peddling dope, rape. 4. Explain briefly the general procedure of an entire case beginning with the ordinance and going through the crime, arrest, trial and sentence. The basic courtroom procedure will be posted in each courtroom. In explaining the procedure, it might be helpful to use a model case. 5. Read a list of rules in section C of the guide. Court member, especially attorneys and judges should take notes. 6. Be sure and read the relevant pages in the handbook. 7. The presiding judge is from the same city as the defendant. The other four judges are chosen alternatively from the remaining cities by the bailiff. 8. No legislators may be summoned or arrested while the legislature is in session. (However, in real life this is not the case of a felony.) 9. The cities must first have ordinances before they can develop a case. (The court counselors stress this at the briefing.) 10. A subpoena need not be issued unless a witness or arrested person refuses to appear in court. 11. Most cases should last approximately 15- 25 minutes. 12. The judge can cite someone for contempt of court for either not showing up or for misconduct in the courtroom. 13. All members should address the judge as “Your Honor.” 14. Only the defense attorneys may call the defendant as the witness. 15. Witnesses may be called in any order and may be recalled at any time. 16. When an attorney “rests his case”, he has no more witnesses to call to the stand. 17. No new evidence may be presented in the closing arguments. 18. Objections may be based on the following: 1.Immaterial questioning (Irrelevance) 2. Leading the witness 3.Badgering the witness 4. Hearsay evidence Courts • 7
19. The basic defenses are after the crime has been proven:
1. An alibi
3. Violation of constitutional guarantee
4. Elements of the crime (ex. Weapon)
20. Distribute the warrants to the City Judges and the Docket sheets and subpoena to the Clerks of Court. 21. Questions and Discussions.
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COURTS — COUNSELOR COMMENTS
DISTRICT JUDICIARY Outstanding DISTRICT JUDGE:
Outstanding DISTRICT ATTORNEY:
Outstanding DEFENSE ATTORNEY:
CITY JUDICIARY Outstanding CITY JUDGE:
Outstanding CITY ATTORNEY:
Outstanding DEFENSE ATTORNEY
SUPREME COURT JUSTICES Instructions to Legal Counselors: This form is your compilation of Supreme Court Justices. Put an asterisk beside the name of the Chief Justice. ATCHAFALAYA ____________________________ BOGAFALAYA ____________________________ ____________________________ CANE ____________________________ MISSISSIPPI PEARL ____________________________ ____________________________ SABINE ____________________________ TCHEFUNCTE
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