The Courtroom: Breaking Down the Jobs

the inside of a courtroom

The common view of the courtroom, propagated by courtroom dramas and crime movies, is that it contains a judge, sundry lawers to shout “objection” at dramatic points, a criminal in an orange jumpsuit, and a crowd to gasp at the appropriate times.

 

The reality is that a modern American courtroom is a little more complex, if no less dramatic, than that and contains a larger number of people whos specialized jobs are vital to the running of the criminal justice system.

 

In this article, we’ll be breaking down what those jobs are.

The Judge

The first distinction to make when it comes to judges is that they only wear wigs in the UK and use gavels in the US.

 

With that important point out of the way, the judge is there to adjudicate and administer justice as defined by US law, both local and federal. In criminal cases, the jury decides if the defendant is guilty and the judge then sentences them using established sentencing guidelines. 

 

In a civil case, the judge determines the liability of the defendant. 

The Bailiff

The bailiff provides security for the court, patrolling the interior and exterior of the courtroom and escorting court employees, including the judge. The bailiff is also responsible for maintaining order in the court and preventing jury tampering through outside contact. 

Court Clerk

The clerk of the court prepares and releases the documents of the court. These include probation orders, documents releasing a prisoner, court summons, and sentencing information.

Court Reporter

The court reporter, also know as the court stenographer, records everything said in the court verbatim. They perform the same duty in legislative assemblies and committing meetings. 

 

The name ‘stenographer’ comes from the shorthand typing machine, known as a stenomask or stenograph machine, that they use to write fast enough to keep up with what is being said in the court. 

The Prosecutor 

The prosecutor represents the local, state, or federal jurisdiction that is bringing the case against an organization or individual. They state the case of that jurisdiction and attempt to prove that the individual, group, or corporation changed has committed a crime or civil wrongdoing.

The Paralegal

The paralegal acts as an assistant to the prosecutors by preparing documents, conducting research, conducting interviews, and investigating stated facts.

The Correctional Officer

The correctional officer is responsible for transporting prisoners to and from the courtroom, making sure they behave in a civil manner inside the courtroom and ensuring the security of the prisoner.

The Defense Attorney

The defense attorney acts on behalf of the defendant, be that an individual or corporate entity, and advises clients on their rights and responsibilities. The defense also uses paralegals and may be an attorney hired by the defendant or one provided by the state.

Qualifying For Your Future

Gaining a qualification from our Criminal Justice School puts you in an excellent position to access a variety of employment opportunities as you look for one that suits your skills and interests. At Northwest Career College, our Criminal Justice instructors include licensed, practicing attorneys and degree instructors able to teach, not only the law but also to guide our students in the many ways a criminal justice graduate integrates into a Las Vegas legal profession.

 

As part of our Criminal Justice Program, you’ll visit courts, jails, meditation centers and more to experience first-hand the law in action which will make your criminal justice training applicable to the Las Vegas legal system. Northwest offers a flexible blended program with all criminal justice classes Las Vegas law classes taught on campus by an attorney and general education courses offered online. Our experienced instructors are on-campus to review and support your learning experience at all times. 

 

Call us at (702) 403-1592 to speak to one of our enrollment team about joining our Criminal Justice Program today!

 

Written by:

Lisa Myers, J.D., L.L.M.
Legal Studies Department Director
J.D. L.L.M. Campbell University
B.A. Corllins University