Chapter

Criminal Cases

in Specializing the Courts

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780226039541
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226039565 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226039565.003.0004
Criminal Cases

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This chapter explores the specialization in criminal law in the states, highlighting the courts that hear specific subsets of criminal cases. Separating criminal and civil cases allows judges who have more seniority or influence with a presiding judge to avoid criminal cases. Old-style drug courts and the assignment of death penalty cases to certain Philadelphia judges make it clear that judicial specialization can have important influences on the substance of judicial policy, even when it is undertaken for policy-neutral reasons. The general idea of problem-solving courts has diffused from one type of criminal case to others. Like drug courts, mental health courts are inherently limited in their effect. State courts have a good deal of judicial specialization in criminal cases as a whole. Juvenile courts, women's courts, and domestic relations courts reflected the thinking of Progressives about how to address social problems.

Keywords: judicial specialization; criminal law; states; criminal cases; civil cases; drug courts; death penalty cases; judicial policy; mental health courts

Chapter.  17143 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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