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Rule of Law: Citizens' Rights in a Georgia Court of Law

NCJ Number
Date Published
37 pages
This booklet was created to "bring the people (of Georgia) into the knowledge of their rights."
This booklet was developed to assist the population of rural Georgia in knowing their rights when they enter court. Often a person who gets arrested for a small offense may not be aware of their rights and may forgo a trial. This is why people need to be more keenly aware of their rights as citizens of the United States, and why laws must be constantly protected and defended and sometimes you have to fight for them in court. That is why laws must not just punish the guilty, but protect the innocent. A criminal court is a physical place, a building designed to uphold the rule of law. The reason for a criminal court in the United States is to protect freedom and liberty, not to send people to jail. The first principle in court is innocent until proven guilty and the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The second principle is that whenever a case involves the possibility of prison, the accused person is entitled to have a trial before jury. There are certain people who work in every court: the clerk, the bailiff, the court reporter, the judge, the prosecutor, the defense attorney, and the probation officer. Every person has the right to an attorney. The defendant will have to plead either guilty or not guilty. A defendant has the right to trial by jury or letting the judge rule in the case. After pleading guilty or going to trial and being convicted by a judge or jury, the defendant will be sentenced by the judge. Punishment can include prison, fines, or other restrictions on freedom.