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Criminal Justice Process (Research Paper Sample)

2 sources used. Summarizing all of the steps between arrest, pre-trial, trial, and appeals (both state and federal appeal possibilities). source..
Criminal Justice Process Name: Institution Abstract The criminal justice process in the United States is among the most unique systems all over the world. This is because it comprises of two separate levels of courts including state and federal. The two levels of criminal justice system include processes plus rules that make it possible for them to peacefully co-exist under the model or concept of federalism. Nevertheless, though day-to-day living in the United States is governed by state laws, most justice processes have numerous features in common. For instance, they more or less follow the procedure of arrest, trial plus appeal. In addition, trial courts are usually the level at which action commences in both state and federal systems after an arrest has been made. Also worth noting is that rulings made at state and federal levels can be appealed to a Supreme Court. All in all, state and federal justice processes are fairly the same throughout the states. Introduction The criminal justice process is rather complex, and habitually can be confusing to individuals unfamiliar with criminal law. As a process, the criminal justice system involves a set of agencies plus procedures established by a government. Its core functions include controlling crimes as well as imposing penalties on persons who violate laws. In the United States, the process involves not a single entity but many similar, semi-autonomous systems. It is known that the justice system functions in each area depending on the jurisdiction that it oversees including a state and federal government. Indeed, different jurisdictions have dissimilar laws and agencies as far as managing justice process is concerned. However, the main systems in the country are state and federal systems or processes. The former is designed to handle crimes that are committed within state boundaries. The latter systems typically deals with crimes committed on national/federal property or in several states. Main As mentioned earlier, the criminal justice process is quite complex. Below are all the steps involved from arrest through appeal. Step 1 Arrest Criminal justice processes are known to commence once an arrest has been made by an officer or any other law enforcement personnel. He or she may arrest a person after witnessing a criminal activity being committed or when there is reasonable basis to believe that one is a suspect. As a contingency, if a suspected individual is being arrested in her or his home, law enforcement officers ought to have an arrest warrant but for exigent circumstances which necessitate officers to act straight away. Yet, if law enforcement officers have reasonable grounds to believe that a family offence has taken place, they must arrest the suspect even if they do not have an arrest warrant (Carmen, 2012). Worth noting is that an individual charged for committing a violation can be apprehended, but not held in detention center. Rather, a person is issued with an appearance ticket before she or he is released from detention. For instance, in New York, it is widely referred to as DAT (desk appearance ticket). Usually, this refers to an appearance ticket which is a written note to visit a criminal court on a particular date. Additionally, a person issued an appearance note may be set free without bail. Criminal action may start with the initiation of a misdemeanor or felony complaint. Also, it may commence with information by the prosecutor or law enforcement officer. In most states, the complaint or an arresting officer seeks to talk to an assistant DA (district attorney) who decides whether enough evidence is available to file charges plus take a case to court. In case of enough evidence, information or a formal complaint is filed by the DA’s office to be produced during arraignment. In some other states, the DA’s office may be rarely involved throughout the complaint process. Rather, local officers offer assistance to complainants in filing complaints directly with a court. In case a defendant is not yet in detention center, a court issues an arrest warrant directing law enforcement officers to apprehend a defendant or issues summons authorizing a defendant to appear in court. Booking is also part of arrest process. It happens after an arrest has been made, and a detained defendant is registered at a booking facility. Usually, the process may require taking photographs plus fingerprints of the accused. Step 2 Arraignment, Bail and plea bargaining Arraignment happens when a defendant is taken before the judge in the criminal court, and as a rule within 24 hours of apprehension. A defendant is notified regarding the formal charges that have been filed against her or him, and the attorney is issued with a copy of the same. Most importantly, a defendant is notified about her or his right to counsel and if the attorney is beyond reach economically, the attorney is provided at the state’s expense. Minor but significant details including whether a witness identified the suspect are availed. Altogether, such proceedings usually conclude in several ways including dismissal of a case, pleading guilty and sentencing, a defendant is retained in detention center or the judge setting bail and adjourning a case among other possibilities. Bail relates to any form of security, including money, required by a judge as an assurance of the defendant’s visit on an allocated future date. Nevertheless, bail may be made in cash by a defendant or via bond for the defendant to be released from detention center but for a prosecutor challenges the release in which a bail source hearing is conducted. Release is usually accompanied by warnings about failure to appear for future court dates including inclusion of new charges against a defendant. Plea bargaining relates to the process through which an attorney general and prosecutor negotiate to cast off a case through reducing the charge and thus the sentence involved. Generally, a prosecutor requests a defendant to plead guilty to lesser charges to avoid trial on serious charges. This may include pleading guilty to one of several charges to evade trial on other charges. Worth noting is that a prosecutor controls the sentence in such cases. Still, at any position before sentencing, a defendant can plead guilty to all charges to evade trial even when a prosecutor disagrees. If a defendant concurs to plead guilty, a judge ought to establish whether he or she is freely pleading guilty plus consciously giving up the right to a judicial examination. If she or he is pleading guilty to misdemeanors, a sentence may be inflicted instantly or through an adjournment for a pre sentence examination report set up by a Probation Department. In a felony case, an adjournment is required. Step 3 Post-arraignment proceedings Misdemeanor case: The defendant who was not in a position to post bail may be retained in detention center for 5 days since the day of arraignment. In case the period coincides with a weekend, the defendant’s release date is Friday. At this time, a prosecutor ought to convert the misconduct complaint to information thus requiring the individual with first-hand understanding of the truth to swear to the truthfulness of the details under oath. Once the time limitation is unmet by a prosecutor, a defendant ought to be released from detention though the case stands. Felony cases: in case the defendant was not in a position to post the cash as required by the bail provision, she or he remains in jail for 144 hours since arrest. A prosecutor carries out a preliminary hearing or is needed to get an indictment of a defendant through the grand jury. In case neither of these takes place, then a defendant ought to be released from detention center, if not a prosecutor establishes a good reason exemption to lengthen the time limitation. Preliminary hearing: at the time of preliminary hearing, the prosecution plus defense give their arguments, a prosecutor can call witness (s) to testify plus offer physical evidence. Additionally, DA (defense attorney) may interrogate the prosecution’s witness plus examine the evidence. A defendant has the option to relinquish the right to preliminary hearings leading to a case being taken straight to the grand jury. Grand jury: is made up of up to 23 persons chosen on a nationwide basis to establish whether satisfactory evidence exists to prosecute a defendant on felony charge. Investigations usually run deeper including public official’s disregard of office and or misconduct. In most cases, grand jury proceedings are undisclosed plus closed to parties such as the public. Though, defendants possess the right to bear witness before the jury in presence of an attorney plus request witnesses to give evidence on their behalf. During grand jury decisions, if at least 12 of them determine the availability of adequate evidence to present the case to a court trial, an outcome is filed including the felony incrimination voted on by the jury. A defendant may also waive her or his right to a grand jury inquiry. This is referred to as a waiver of indictment. Post-indictment arraignment: in case of indictment by a grand jury, another arraignment happens in the Criminal Term of the Supreme Court or the County Court where a felony case will be heard. In the same way the arraignment within a local criminal court operates, a defendant is informed regarding the formal allegations contained in the accusation plus she or he enters a plea of guilty or otherwise. If a defendant pleads not guilty, her or his case will be adjourned plus a future court date is established. Step 4 Pre-Trial Discovery: involves a process through which the DA (defense attorney) or a prosecutor gathers information regarding the opposing lawyer’s case. The DA may also request any written or oral record made by a defendant throughout the path of the criminal investigation. Pre-trial motions: i...
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