The appellate process

The appellate process is a cornerstone of a democratic criminal justice system. However, many people are unaware of the process that a case may undergo before it finds itself before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). In fact, as you have read, not all cases reach the highest court in the land. In this activity, you are going to trace the path of a criminal case from the lower court by identifying the facts of the case, the ruling at the appellate court level, the key legal questions and how they relate to the Constitution, and the ruling in the case as made by the SCOTUS.

Complete the following for this assignment:

Use this Web site to select cases, and using the term, select 2 criminal justice-related cases that were decided within the last 3 years. You can determine that it is a criminal case by looking for either the “United States” or the name of a state in the case name. If you do not see the name of a state or “United States” in the title of the case, that means that it is a civil case. Do not select a civil case.

Provide the following for each case in your own words:

  • A summary of each case
  • A summary of the procedural history of the case, or how it wound its way through the court system to the United States Supreme Court
  • The key facts
  • The appellate court decision and reasoning
  • Identify the key legal questions or issues that were argued before the SCOTUS and the decision
  • Identify the Supreme Court Justice writing the majority opinion, summarize the decision, and if applicable, summarize the concurring and dissenting opinions
  • Lastly, explain whether you agree with the decision in the case, and explain why
 

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