A) What sources of legal services are available for the indigent? Which is the most widely used? Which provides the best service? (It may help to think about what kind of legal assistance you would hope the jurisdiction would provide you were you unable to afford your own counsel). Ultimately, do these resources keep indigents from being disadvantaged in a court of law or not? And even if you believe that such resources help give everyone a fair chance, and are the resources in great enough supply to satisfy the demand? Or is it that only the rich can afford a fair trial? Finally, if you were lucky enough to be the latter, what steps you would take to select an attorney to advise and defend yourself in a criminal prosecution?
B) Next, consider our bail system. What are the disadvantages to the accused when pretrial detention is used? Does it violate the rights of the incarcerated individuals? Or should pretrial release be abolished in order to keep those charged with committing the more serious crimes behind bars until they are sentenced? Does letting previously convicted criminals out on release violate the rights of possible innocent victims? When would you consider employing pretrial detention?
In addition, explain in what way, if at all, you would reform the bail system? (Be sure to take bail bondsmen and their rights into consideration here, as well.)Taking it further, were you to abolish bail, what other alternatives might you have? Which do you think is the most adequate?
C) Finally, consider plea-bargaining. Should it be abolished? Does the use of plea-bargaining cause additional crime? Is plea-bargaining a deterrent for those being sentenced? Ultimately, does plea-bargaining help or hinder the criminal justice system?
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