RecentCase Decided in California

Oneof the recent court cases in California is ThePeople v Johnson.The case was filed in the Supreme Court of California on July 9,2015. The defendant, Lumord Johnson who lived in Casa Blanca inRiverside, California, was found guilty of second degree murder,robbery and kidnapping (The Supreme Court of California, 2015). Theprosecution submitted that the defendant killed Camerina Lopez whenshe stepped out of her car to confront him and prevent theconfrontation that the defendant had with her boyfriend Jose Alvarez.When Alvarez picked Lopez in her house to go to the store, he sawJohnson who asked him to drive away. Because he looked suspicious,Alvarez got out and confronted him, but the defendant removed a gunand pointed at him. Lopez tried to separate them but he was shot. Sheidentified the defendant as Lumord Johnson, nicknamed as “Lamar”,who visited William’s house frequently because her aunt lived there(The Supreme Court of California, 2015). The defendant’s witness,Todd Brighton said that the incident was accidental.

Thesecond accusation brought to the court was the murder of MartinCampos. Martin Campos was a friend of Oscar Ross who was buying andselling Cocaine and Marijuana (The Supreme Court of California,2015). Martin Campos used to buy cocaine and Marijuana from Rossuntil Campos planned robbery against Ross. In retaliation, Rossplanned with the defendant (Johnson) to kill Campos. The defendantsaid that he was in Oklahoma with his cousin Francisco Trotter andhis girlfriend, and went to a cemetery to put a flower on the graveof Trotter’s father. Brighton suggested that he shot Campos byaccident while he was overseeing the transaction between Ross andCampos (The Supreme Court of California, 2015). He argued that Rossasked him to blame the defendant because he did not like him.

Thecourt ruled that the defendant was guilty of all charges, includingfirst degree murder of Martin Campos and second degree murder ofCamerina Lopez (The Supreme Court of California, 2015). The courtalso found him guilty of robbery and kidnapping. The defendant wasalso accused previously for a series of violent felony. The firstpenalty trial did not reach a verdict, but the second jury gave adecision which led the court to sentence the defendant to death formurder, execution of prior convictions, and misuse of firearms.

Iagree with this rule because it ensures that justice is done,following the requirements of the constitution which allows deathsentence for first degree murder and a number of other crimes. Theevidence presented in the court was analyzed effectively, includingforensic investigations which showed without doubt that the defendantwas guilty of all charges (Siegel et al, 2015). Therefore, the rulingwas correct.

Howdid the federal courts develop historically?

Thefederal courts of United States developed as a result of the Articlesof Confederation in 18thcentury prior to the establishment of United States Constitution. Thearticles of confederation provided clear ways of establishingjudicial authority which led to the birth of federal courts in UnitedStates of America (Siegel et al, 2015). The courts establishedthrough Article IX of the judicial authority had the authority tohold the trial of pirates in the high seas and act as the courts oflast resorts for dispute resolution between states. The first statecourt established in America was the Court of Appeals in Cases ofCapture.

Followingthe ratification of the U.S. constitution in 1788, federal judicialsystem was established by the Congress with authority established inthe constitution (Siegel et al, 2015). The U.S. constitution alsoestablished the Supreme Court. The Judiciary Act of 1789 allowed forthe establishment of the first inferior or lower federal courts.Article III of the constitution established the “implied” powersof the federal courts, which were interpreted by John Marshall, thethird Chief Justice of America’s Supreme Court. This led to theestablishment of powerful judicial system including federal courts inAmerica.

Whathave been the recent developments in state courts?

StateCourts in United States have experienced significant developmentsrecently. There are changing trends that have influenced thedevelopment of state courts. Such trends affect the operations andleadership of courts significantly. State courts in United Stateshave recently evolved to formidable institutions with effective andcollaborative public management that helps the judiciary to addressorganizational and societal issues successfully (Siegel et al, 2015).In this case, state courts are nowadays engaged in multinationalarrangements which enable them to solve problems that would not havebeen solved singlehandedly. The role of court administrators in statecourts has also changed. Rather than just managing the machinery ofthe court, administrators of the court also lead the court in complexinter-organizational situations.

Statecourts have recently developed collaborative models that haveenhanced effective administration of justice so that all stakeholdersaffected by the court decisions are served accordingly, fairly andjustly (Siegel et al, 2015). Court leaders including judges andpolicy makers manage collaboratively by developing networks ofrelated case, and develop problem-solving and juvenile courts (Siegelet al, 2015). Throughout all levels of state courts,inter-organizational collaboration is enhanced through informationtechnology, shared court services and task forces. The state courtshave also developed employee engagement as a role of human resourcemanagement in the courts in order to improve the performance of allstate courts. This enhances improved case administration andincreased speed of determining cases.

Withthe challenges facing state courts, dissent has also been developedthrough innovation to solve some of the problems f leadership incourt. Dissenters enable the court to make judgments based on a widerange of perspectives and evidence so that they make the best ruleconsideration the information available in court. Dissenters havebeen given a chance to speak rather than being silenced in order toenhance effective decision making in state courts. Most state courtsin United States have embraced a culture of constructive dissent,which gives an alternative view to the courts and allows them tooperate innovatively.

Howdo drug courts operate, and what are some common features of thesecourts?

Drugcourts are special courts with the jurisdiction to determine casesrelated to drugs. They act as alternatives to prisons jails,probations, and youth-detection facilities for the treatment of drugusers. One of the primary features of drug courts is that theyinvolve comprehensive supervision, treatment services, testing fordrugs, sanctions, and incentives (Nolan, 2001). They fight illicitdrug use by using a collaborative approach that brings togetherseveral stakeholders to curb drug abuse. The interest groups involvedin drug courts are: prosecutors, defense counsel, judges, specialistsin treatment of drug addiction and abuse, law enforcers, educationalexperts, and probation officers. These groups work collaborativelyand bring their efforts together to overcome the problem of drugabuse. In this case, criminal justice systems of the courts cooperatewith treatment systems to help offenders recover from drug abuse andlead crime-free and productive lives.

Thedrug courts stop criminal activity by helping offenders to changetheir lives rather than reprimanding them (Nolan, 2001). The courtsprovide cost-effective drug abuse programs. This enables the drugcourts to respond consistently to drug offenses within the judiciaryand coordinate effectively with intervention agencies. Drug courtshave special treatment and guidance and counseling programs to ensurethat offenders get back to their normal lives when once they arereleased. This requires strict supervision and law enforcement fromthe government. Frequent drug and alcohol testing is carried out as away of monitoring abstinence. This enables the court to ensure thatthe offenders fully abstain from drug use.

Unlikeother types of courts, drug courts are characterized by collaborationbetween the prosecution team and the defense team. The two sidesleave aside their traditional adversaries and work together toachieve a common goal – to enhance law-abiding behavior of theoffender. The pending case does not offer merits to any party. Theprosecuting attorney plays the role of protecting the safety of thestate, and that everyone abides by the rules of the court. Thedefense team has the responsibility to protect the due process rightsof the offender while participating in the entire process to achievegood behavior of the offender.


Nolan,J.L. (2001). ReinventingJustice: The American Drug Court Movement.Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press.

TheSupreme Court of California (2015). ThePeople v. Lumord Johnson.California: Supreme Court of California.

Siegel,L.J., Schmalleger, F., &amp Worrall, J.L. (2015). Courts andcriminal justice in America (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:Pearson.