The criminal justice system changes in regards to rules, procedures, and terms from state to state. But no matter what the punishment given to criminals cannot vary based on the standards set forth by the United States. A crime is described as an action that violates the federal laws of the United States. On the down side, all violations are viewed with different severities of punishment. Crimes can be looked at from as minimal as a traffic violation and elevate to as severe as homicide.
The severity of the crime will establish the severity of what the punishment will be. The criminal justice system was designed to give order to standardize the level of punishment to fit the crime committed appropriately. The criminal justice system is mainly affected by constitutional law and has grown significantly over time. The current criminal justice system maintains itself by helping the process of catching and giving time to criminals. There are three components of the system and they are all valuable in the criminal justice system.
The primary component would be the police force. The police officers are given the responsibility to capture criminals, investigate, and testify in court about the actions that were witnessed. In some instances, police officers are given the obligation to jail the criminals directly from the street while they wait for their trial dates. The second component is the court system. The court system is usually composed of a prosecutor, judge, and a suspect who is generally referred to as the defendant while in the court.
The prosecutor is known as the officer that is assigned by the government in order to prosecute all offenses brought to court. The prosecutor’s responsibility is to present the accusations that would justify that the defendant is guilty. On the down side, if the prosecutor cannot provide enough evidence or if they struggle to prove the offender/defendant guilty, the defendant will be released from custody. The arraignment is the first process of the trial process.
The judge, who acts as the facilitator, goes through and reads the charges to the defendant and asks for a guilty or i nnocent plea from the defendant. If the defendant pleads guilty, the case will then go straight to sentencing because the criminal/defendant has confessed to the crime without having to show proof. If the defendant pleads not guilty, they will go forward to plead their case in front of a jury, prosecutor and judge and then the judge will make the final verdict. The jury is who decides whether the defendant is innocent or guilty based on what the evidence shows, what the witnesses say, and other facts presented in the case.
Once the jury makes the decision, the judge will then determine what the punishment for the defendant should be based on the crime. Lastly is the corrections component. Depending on what the punishment is, the defendant may face jail time or just probation for a certain amount of years. Furthermore, defendants that are placed on probation and violate those terms are then sent straight to prison. All alleged or suspected criminals follow these three basic components of the criminal justice system. The criminal justice process varies in every state; in addition, the law enforcement agencies also exercise different tactics.
No matter what, the foundation of the process originates from the Constitution of America, all states included, and they all follow the general procedures of the criminal justice process. The primary step in this process involves investigation. Investigations begin with an accusation of actions such as driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, any fraudulent activity, and/or basic neighbor complaints. What happens next is based on the results of the investigation and the police will continue forward with arrests. With that are legal procedures that the police must follow before they can make an arrest.
For example, a police officer will have to obtain a search warrant signed by a judge in order to collect evidence and gain access to any property. Police officers will have to gather enough evidence in order to prove the suspect actually committed the crime. There are, in reality, some instances that are exigent and then the investigation leads straight to an arrest being made. The third element is a written complaint that starts the criminal justice process. A complaint is a criminal charge in writing that comes from law enforcers. The complaint is able to be put together either before or after the arrest.
The fourth element is going to arraignment, which is the reading of charges committed by the suspect/defendant. The fifth element is the required bail bond. When a bail is set it gives the defendant the option to pay that amount or set up collateral that will ensure the court that they will continue to be present throughout the remainder of the criminal proceedings. The sixth part is the trial. The trial is made up of the defendant making a case to plead their innocence and the prosecutor proving the defendant is guilty of the charges.
Either side is able to use evidence, facts, and witnesses in order to confirm their case. The last step of the process is the verdict. Depending on what the defendant and prosecutor were able to bring to trial, the judge and jury will determine whether the defendant is innocent or guilty. No matter the verdict, the defendant is given their plea in open court. This is the summarized explanation of the steps involved with the criminal justice process. With all that comes the conclusion that the criminal justice system is a big factor in today’s society.
Essentially, the criminal court system is the ultimate deterrent in helping to prevent crime. If looking at it where the court system is not a factor, the crime rate would then peak and chaos would be imminent. But thankfully, we do not look at it in that aspect and having that put into light helps to justify how important the criminal justice system is to our society. The criminal justice system does set an appropriate punishment for the guilty offenders without violating their civil rights and allows innocent citizens to prove their innocence.
No matter the rules and procedures that apply to each state, the criminal justice system still remains the most extensive system in America. References: Koolbreeze III, A. L. (2010, May 19). The Major Components of the Criminal Justice System. Ehow. Retrieved August 6, 2012 from http://www. ehow. com/list_6529571_major-components-criminal-justice-system. html LexisNexis. (2010). Lawyers. com. Retrieved August 6, 2012 from http://criminal. lawyers. com/Criminal-Law-Basics/The-Criminal-Justice-Process. html? page=1.