Understanding the American Justice System
A very brief overview
The police investigate a suspect, and present the evidence to the District Attorney (DA). If the DA thinks there is enough proof, they will present it before a grand jury, who will decide if there is probable cause to support the criminal charges. If they decide to indict, the case will go to court, and be tried by a regular jury. A judge presides the trial, a prosecutor accuses the defendant, and a defense lawyer is responsible for his or her defense. If the defendant does not have enough money to pay for a lawyer, he is provided the services of a public defender. Many times, the defendant is offered a plea bargain, an arrangement between prosecutor and defendant, whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence or an agreement to drop other charges.
In Episode 13, Columbo and Patrick meet Cathleen at Barney’s bar. What happens there is a real eye-opener for Columbo.
In Episode 14, the District Attorney decides to indict Clifford Calvert. Columbo visits Clifford and we finally discover why he was so interested in the cigar ends.