Prosecutor and Defense-Procedural Process
Bob Helmsley is a respected community leader and the owner of the Helmsley Crematorium in Amarillo, Texas, that services Texas, Southern Oklahoma, and the northwest region of New Mexico. He is the former coroner in Potter County, Texas, and his wife Susan is a respected member in the community. Susan is the bookkeeper at the crematorium, but neither she nor Bob have any day-to-day contact with business operations, which is currently run by Chip, a long-time family friend and business partner.
An anonymous tip on three separate occasions was reported to the Potter County Sheriff's Department that skeletal remains were seen on the Helmsley property; however, when investigated by the authorities, nothing ever resulted. One day, an unannounced but routine inspection by the Texas Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers revealed a shed stacked with human bodies and an open grave with bodies scattered about the property. There were so many bodies; a federal disaster team was dispatched to aid the state in identifying the remains. Bob, Susan, and Chip were arrested, and ultimately, the investigators discovered four hundred uncremated bodies.
Representatives from the state and federal prosecutor's office were brought in to coordinate the case. please respond to the following questions and explain how you arrived at your decision.
- Should this case be handled by state or federal investigators? Why? What court (state or federal) has jurisdiction over this case? Explain.
- What are the procedural steps that occur after an individual is arrested? Explain. Are there specific rules that govern this process?
- Describe the process of plea bargaining-what is it? Why does it take place? Which of the defendants, if any, would you offer a plea bargain? Why or why not?
- If you are the prosecutor, what issues must you consider? Why? If you are the defense attorney representing Bob, what issues must you consider? Why?