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NCJ Number: 135997 Find in a Library
Title: Were There No Appeal: The History of Review in American Criminal Courts
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:81  Issue:3  Dated:(Fall 1990)  Pages:518-566
Author(s): D Rossman
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 49
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article argues that the conventional position concerning the lack of constitutional support for a right to appeal in criminal cases misreads history by ignoring the differences between the 18th century idea of how criminal courts should operate and the current view. The model of the criminal justice system upon which the Constitution is based contained many features that parallel the advantages of the appellate review process.
Abstract: The first section of the article outlines the genesis of the doctrine that the Constitution does not require view in criminal cases, beginning with the 1805 Supreme Court decision in United States v. More which held that the Court did not have jurisdiction under the First Judiciary Act to entertain a writ of error in a criminal case. The second section examines the early American criminal trial process, while the third section analyzes the history of criminal litigation in the Federal courts. Four characteristics of early Federal courts -- Supreme Court trial judges, post-conviction motions, certifying questions to the Supreme Court, and habeus corpus -- gave them many of the characteristics of contemporary review. This discussion notes that some experts opposed criminal appeals on the grounds that the government could seek review of acquittals, thereby infringing on individual rights. The final section concludes that there is no evidence to suggest that the Constitutional due process clause was intended to condone leaving the final determination of all constitutional issues to an individual trial judge.
Main Term(s): Appeal procedures; Criminal justice system analysis
Index Term(s): History of criminal justice; Right to Due Process
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