Criminology USA trip 2016: San Fransisco

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, America, Criminology, Derby Uni, Derby University, LHSS, Public Defenders Office, USA

Today we all visited the Public Defenders Office in San Francisco. We were shown around the office building by one of the attorneys who worked there. We went into one the office rooms where we were shown a PowerPoint presentation which consisted of information about the American criminal justice system, e.g. the jury selection process and the different amendments. We were told how San Francisco are different to some other states in America because they have an office building specifically for Public Defenders and Paralegals, whereas in some other states they are employed independently.

In the afternoon we then went over to the Hall of Justice which is a courthouse. We first sat in a preliminary hearing where we saw a defendant plead guilty to 2nd degree burglary. We then went into another court room where we saw a defence attorney cross-examining her client, and this case had a 12 people jury present. After lunch we had the opportunity to speak with a judge from the Hall of Justice, he spoke to us about some of the work he had done and a new programme that they are starting which involves young adults (18-25 years old).

After each activity we had the chance to ask questions whilst making comparisons to the American and UK criminal justice system.

Overall, the whole day was very enjoyable and a great experience to be apart of. I would recommend this trip to any future students who are offered the opportunity!

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Public Defenders Office, LA.

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, America, Criminology, Derby Uni, Derby University, Public Defenders Office, USA

The group met with Mark Jacobs who is a Public Attorney and defends those who have been accused of committing a crime, he strives to give those who cannot afford their own attorney the same quality and professionalism as though he was a private attorney.

We discussed the differences between the court systems, including jury selection and how if members of the jury showed signs of unconscious bias then they were dismissed. Mark Jacobs also talked about referral documents to the courts, i.e. an Information or Complaint.

Subpoenas were also mentioned and are when someone is summoned to court to testify or give evidence in a case; the person to testify must appear in court or they will face punishment themselves.

Overall he gave a very interesting and detailed overview of the U.S. criminal justice system in general but particularly of the selection process for jury panels to eliminate any possible prejudice that will affect their judgement of the case.

 Sent by Beth Adams.

Eastlake Juvenile Hall

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Formerly: Central Juvenile Hall

Now: Eastlake Juvenile Hall. Established 1912

This was the first juvenile hall detention facility in Los Angeles county. Under the command of Los Angeles county, probation usually houses juveniles temporarily while their court proceedings take place. Generally released to parents, foster care, placed in a 3 to 12 month camp or placed in California youth authority in extreme situations.

We took a tour of the facility.

Starting in their intake – shower and change into prison clothes. Examined for physical and mental conditions. Male and females have different areas to change as they are separated at all times during their stay, except for when they visited the church.

Assigned a building – males in mixed housing regardless of rival gangs. When they’re walking around they must keep their hands behind their back as well as putting a fist up when they wanted an officer so they are unable to start a fight, or show gang signs.

We were shown the classes and library for education as this was mandatory. All had to take part in 300 minutes of school time along with an hour recreation time and the option to take part in different programmes such as rules of society, health classes (sex education), taught the boys how to treat girls and vice versa.

They had the chance to earn points, that could be spent in the shop with options such as books, food and sport equipment.

Since there is an increasing number of transgender entering the hall, the probation officers found it difficult to decide where the individual should be placed, either with the male or females. As either way the inmates were not happy.

The tour also consisted of seeing the shower rooms and toilets. None of them had any doors or private cubicles however there was a room for pregnant women to shower so they’re able to sit down. They only received a small sachet of deodorant which was claimed to smell worse than not wearing it.

There was only a small room where they ate all meals and wrote their letters home. However there was a common room for indoor recreation.

We also saw the cells which were very basic and eery room. There was a  small bed and sink/toilet with windows that they didn’t have the key to close.

Bedrooms were also covered in graffiti, ranging from gang names to ‘free me’ written.

CSULA Firearms Library and shooting range

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Today we were shown around the firearms library and shooting range by West Grouse. The firearms library at CSULA is the 3rd largest collection of firearms in the USA and comprises both the LAPD library and the Sheriffs Department library.

photo 4Both the Sheriffs Department and the LAPD have the opportunity to collaborate together on investigations whilst also having the resources to work on multiple individual cases within their organisations due to the way the facility is set out and shared.

Firearms technicians test and inspect a number of different weapons. This is done in both a lab setting and on the firing range and even using water tanks and chambers filled with cotton padding.

Firearms testing is conducted on suspect weapons to determine if a weapon was used in a crime by matching it to evidence at the scene and to also assess potential residue found at the scene or on the firearm.

Testing is also conducted to determine if the firearm has been modified and the recovery of firearm serial numbers can also be achieved by technicians in the lab.

Sent by Clare Eales