Players of the Court Interview - Essay Example

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900 words
Boston College
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As a requirement to writing my university discourse paper, I interviewed Judge Anthony Kennedy who is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. My humanities discipline being law, I was eager to learn from the prominent judge who has been an associate justice of the Supreme Court since his nomination by former U.S. president Ronald Reagan in 1987. The judge has been involved in many landmark cases such as Hodgson V. Minnesota in which he defended the court decision on restricting abortion for minors that required notification of both parents in the process (Barkow, 2009). Therefore, his opinion on writing in the legal profession would be of much help in doing my assignment.

The interview began by Kennedy asking me what my paper entailed. I told him I was writing about the roles of prosecutors, judges and criminal defense attorney in the criminal justice system. I could see that he was interested in helping me. My first question was on the roles of a prosecutor. According to Kennedy, lack of private law enforcement agencies in the U.S. leaves the prosecutor with the sole purpose of law enforcement. He added that the workload on the prosecutor is too much and requires dedication to make the right decisions, that is, to ensure that the innocent are not prosecuted and the criminals charged according to the law.

According to Kennedy, the fate of a defendant's verdict and liability largely depends on the decisions made by the prosecutor, and authority referred to as the adjudicative power. Throughout the interview, Kennedy kept referring to different legal books just to make sure he was on the right track. He justified this by saying that the jargons used in law are so sophisticated that even the judges have to look it up all the time. I asked him if the adjudicative authority gave the prosecutors leverage to engage in lawmaking process as well and Kennedy replied that this was very true. He backed this argument by saying that because of the broadness of criminal law, it is necessary to discharge powers to prosecutors to assist them in interpreting the laws, identify the demeanor they wish to target, and dictate how to punish the behavior.

The next question was on the roles of the criminal defense attorney assuming the prosecutor succeeds with the prosecution process. Kennedy responded to this question by classifying the positions in five different perspectives, that is, the defense attorney as an advocate, a strategist, a researcher, an advisor, and a negotiator. He mentioned that as an advocate, the defense attorney is mandated to act on behalf of the accused (his client) in every way possible. He has the responsibility of interpreting the necessary steps of the legal process to his client.

According to Kennedy, as a researcher, the defense attorney has the role of reviewing the case and analyzing his client's background. According to Mr. Kennedy, as a strategist, he/she has the task of developing a suitable strategy in determining the possible defenses for his client. Kennedy says, "many times, a defense attorney can argue a case in different ways." The strategy developed will determine the outcome of the case. He proceeds by saying that the attorney has a fundamental role in advising his client on how to respond to questions while in the courtroom.

Lastly, I reached the final phase of the interview, that is, the question on the roles of a judge. Being a judge himself, I could see the level of enthusiasm on Kennedy's face when I asked the question. The response was simple but clear and straight to the point. "Our work is to make the final verdict based on the evidence available, and of course we cannot achieve this without the influence of the prosecutor and the criminal defense attorney," Kennedy asserted. I asked him about the influence of the ABA Model Code of the Judicial Conduct on how they make their final judgment. Kennedy said that the code is very fundamental in making the final verdict as it requires judges to act with integrity, fairness, and honor.

According to my research, I am pleased to admit that the responses I gathered from Mr. Kennedy were very similar to my findings. However, he failed to mention an important point related to the ABA Model Code of the Judicial Conduct (Klein, 2012). I found out that the code also acts as a unifying factor between the judge, the prosecutor and defense counsel in identifying the moral standards concerning the plea bargaining. A suitable strategy in determining the possible defenses for his client. Kennedy says, "many times, a defense attorney can argue a case in different ways." The strategy developed will determine the outcome of the case. However, in general, I expect this interview to be of much assistance in writing my paper. Moreover, Kennedy was able to direct me towards other sources I will use to research my paper, for example, Black's Law Dictionary among others.


Barkow, R. E. (2009). The Prosecutor as Regulatory Agency.

Christian, C. A. (2010). Collateral consequences: Role of the prosecutor. Howard LJ, 54, 749.

Davis, A. J. (2007). Racial fairness in the criminal justice system: The role of the prosecutor. Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev., 39, 202.

First, H. (2010). Branch office of the prosecutor: The new role of the corporation in business crime prosecutions.

Klein, R. D. (2012). The Role of Defense Counsel in Ensuring a Fair Justice System.

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