Criminal Procedure Analysis Paper Example

Exclusionary Rule: In criminal prosecution, exclusionary rule is a constitutional principle which holds that evidence obtained in violation of the constitution and the law shall be inadmissible in evidence, the purpose of which is for the preservation of judicial process and respect for the law. Arrests and Other Detentions: Arrest is the taking of a person into custody in order that he may be held answerable for an offense. Under the law, no person shall be deprived of his liberty except on valid grounds and in conformity with the procedures constituted by law.

Search and Seizure: Search and seizure is a legal process where agents of the government conduct a search of a person’s property and seize evidences on suspicion that a crime has been committed. Search and seizure requires a valid search warrant, except when the right is waived or made incident to a valid arrest or under exceptional circumstances to preserve the evidence. Privilege against Self-Incrimination: The privilege against self-incrimination is a basic human right which ennobles a witness to insist not to respond to interrogatory questions or disclose information that could incriminate him in the commission of a crime.

Any involuntary extraction from the witness is repugnant to the Constitution. Confessions: Confession refers to the formal acknowledgment of guilt brought forth by the defendant during custodial investigation. Presumably, a signed confession is voluntary unless the accused show proof that it was extracted through intimidation or coercion. Preliminary Hearing: Preliminary hearing is a non-adversarial process conducted to determine probable cause. If the court determines there is probable cause, the prosecution may proceed, otherwise, the case will be dismissed.

Bail: The bail is the security given for the temporary release of a person in custody of the law, furnished by him or a bondsman, conditioned upon his appearance during trial. However, where the evidence of guilt is strong, the court may refuse to grant bail. Indictment: Indictment is one way of charging offenses in the United States. The other ways are by information or complaint. The grand jury affirms and hands the formal written accusation of a crime, the indictment, to the court for the trial of the accused. Indictment is issued by the grand jury to the accused for him to prepare for his defense.

Speedy Trial: Speedy trial is one that is free from capricious and oppressive delays, the objective of which is to insure that an innocent person may be free from the anxiety and expense of court litigation or, if otherwise, of having the guilt determined within the shortest possible time. Competency to Stand Trial: Competency to stand trial is part of a legal process which allows postponement of criminal proceedings on account of the defendant’s inability to take part in his defense due to mental or physical incapacity. Hearing resumes when the defendant is declared competent to stand trial.

Government’s Obligation to Disclose Information: It is the duty of the government to disclose information favorable to the accused, to avoid unfair trial. The disclosure must be done at the appropriate time, at the earliest possible opportunity, usually before pre-trial for the defendant to prepare for his defense. Right to Jury Trial: Common law countries recognize trial by jury as a fundamental civil right. Members of the jury are lay men not knowledgeable of the law summoned by the court to return a verdict on the defendant.

It decides the case not on question of law, but on the findings of facts. Right to Counsel: The Constitution ordains that the accused has the right to be heard by himself and counsel. The rules on criminal procedure command the judge that before arraignment, he shall inform the accused of his right to counsel and ask him if he desires to have one. Unless the accused is allowed to defend himself in person or engage the services of a counsel of his own choice, the judge must appoint a counsel de officio.

Right to Confront Witnesses: The right of the accused to confront the witnesses against him is an imperative part of due process. It includes the right to cross-examine the witnesses, a valuable instrument in exposing falsehood and bringing out the truth; and it enables the court to observe the behavior and demeanor of the witness and asses his credibility. Burden of Proof: Burden of proof is the duty of a party to present evidence on the facts in issue necessary to establish his claim or defense by the amount of evidence required by law.

Facts in issue are those facts alleged by one party not admitted by the other party. In a criminal case, the burden is on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt the essential elements of the offense with which the accused is charged. Insanity Defense: Insanity is a defense availed of by defendants in criminal cases to evade conviction. It is argued that a person should not be held criminally liable for committing a crime while he is legally insane, incapable of controlling his behavior.

It is to be distinguished from mental illness and mental health practitioners do not consider it as a psychological disorder. Entrapment: Entrapment is the employment of ruses, strategies or ways and means for the purpose of trapping or capturing a lawbreaker in the act of committing an offense. Buy-bust operation in drug cases is essentially an entrapment employed by police operatives. In buy-bust operation, there is seizure of evidence without a search warrant, needless to state, a warrant is not necessary as the search being an incident to a lawful arrest.

Guilty Pleas: A guilty plea is an admission by a defendant to a criminal charge made during arraignment. When a defendant pleads guilty, trial by jury is waived and the defendant is sentenced immediately. Sentencing: Sentencing is the responsibility of the judge. The jury’s duty ends after delivery of the guilty verdict. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled for the parties to make sentencing testimonials. The presentence report of the probation has to be considered before the court makes a sentence.

The imposition may include fine, prison term, probation or community service and restitution of the victim. Death Penalty: Death penalty is a capital punishment which is execution by lethal injection as punishment for capital offenses or heinous crimes, such as murder, espionage, treason, etc. Supporters argue that it is an effective deterrent of crimes and recidivism. Antagonists, on the other hand, contend that it violates human rights and could lead to death of those who were victims of miscarriage of justice.

Ex Post Facto Issues: An ex post facto law is a criminal law that is retroactive and its enforcement is prejudicial to the interest of the defendant. The peculiar feature of the law is the imposition of punishment for previous acts which at the time of its commission are not punishable. It aggravates a crime; changes the punishment and inflicts a greater one than when it was committed. Ex post facto laws alter the rules of evidence and authorize conviction upon less or different testimony than what the law required at the time of the commission of the offense.

Appeal: Appeal is a resort to a higher court for review of the decision made by the lower court on erroneous application of the law. It is initiated by the losing party, called the appellant/ petitioner by filing a notice of appeal before the lower court. The appeal must be perfected at the time frame set by the rules of court. The court of appeal is not a tier of fact; only conclusions of law on matters taken up on records from the lower court are taken into considerations.

Thus, presentation of new evidence is not allowed. Habeas Corpus: It is a special proceeding by which any person who is deprived of his liberty or the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto to file a petition before the court for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. The writ is an order issued by a judge to an officer or person, commanding him to bring the person restrained of his liberty before the designated court or judge in the place and time specified in the writ.

Juvenile Offenders: Juvenile offenders are very young persons, ordinarily seventeen or eighteen years of age, charged in juvenile court and in some cases in adult court for criminal offenses. In some states, they have no right to jury trial. The focus of the proceeding is rehabilitation rather than punishment. In serious offenses, such as murder, homicide or sexual assault, they are tried as adults and are entitled to all the rights granted to adult offenders including trial by jury. Prisoners’ Rights: Prisoners are protected from cruel and unusual punishment.

They are entitled to due process, administrative appeal and parole process and the fundamental right to a legal counsel. They are also protected under the equal protection clause of the constitution, so that they cannot be discriminated on the basis of race, sex, etc. Prisoners’ have the right to medical treatment right to practice his religion and to dietary accommodation for Muslims. Double Jeopardy: In criminal law, the conviction or acquittal of the accused or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another prosecution for the same offense.

Double jeopardy is described as a rule of finality, the laudable purpose of which is to put to rest the effects of the first prosecution. Criminal Procedure Criminal procedure is a field of criminal justice that provides the ground substance or formative part of fairness and equality in dealing with persons suspected or accused of criminal offense. It is a body of law consisting of the constitutional and statutory rules that govern the treatment of individuals charged with criminal offense by the government.

The rules of criminal procedures provide a detailed plan or guide in setting standards for all law enforcement functionaries to observe in handling persons suspected or accused of crimes subject to constitutional limitations. The rules however vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In every stage of the criminal justice process, enforcement officers must cautiously follow supplementary rules determining impartial demeanor to protect fundamental rights of the accused such as the right to due process which inculpates fairness and impartiality. Preliminary Proceedings

The rules of criminal procedure under the federal judicial system commences with the preliminary proceedings, the filing of complaint in the appropriate court for preliminary investigation. Complaint is a statement charging a person with an offense, containing the necessary facts of the crime and under oath before a judge or any peace officer. The complaint must contain the name of the accused, the identification of the offense by the statute, the acts or omissions complained of as establishing the offense, the approximate time of the commission of the offense and the place where the offense was committed.

If the complaint and other affidavits supporting it establish probable cause that would lead a reasonably sensible man to believe that a crime has been committed by the defendant, and that it is necessary to place the respondent under immediate custody, the judge shall issue a warrant of arrest. If summons is served instead of a warrant, and the defendant failed to appear, a warrant shall be issued. An arrest warrant is a command that the defendant be brought immediately before the court.

It must name the defendant, if unknown, a description of the defendant with reasonable certainty, the offense charged in the complaint and signed by a judge. A summon is also in the same form but only requires appearance of the defendant before the court at a certain time and place. It also serves as a notice that a criminal charge has been lodged against the defendant. Execution of the warrant is made by an actual restraint of the person arrested, or by his submission to the custody of the person making the arrest.

In making an arrest, no violence or unnecessary force shall be used, and the person arrested shall not be subject to any more than the ordinary constrain than necessary for his detention and the warrant must be shown to the defendant. The Miranda warnings have to be read to the arrested person by the arresting officer to advise him of his rights to remain silent and to counsel; failure to do so, any statement extracted from the accused at the custodial investigation shall be inadmissible in evidence.

The guarantee of the Sixth Amendment against self-incrimination starts from custody. In arrest without a warrant, a complaint alleging probable cause must be filed immediately at the district where the offense was committed and warrant of arrest be issued before the judge transfers the defendant in case the appearance of the suspected criminal is in the district other than where the offense has allegedly happened. In cases of felony, a preliminary hearing must be conducted unless, waived by the defendant, indictment by a grand jury, or information has been filed.

If the defendant is in custody, the preliminary hearing must be conducted not later than ten days from the initial appearance and twenty days if the defendant is not in detention. The defendant may introduce evidence and cross examine the witnesses against him at the preliminary hearing. If the court finds no probable cause the complaint is dismissed and discharges the defendant. The Grand Jury, Indictment and Information A felony punishable by death or imprisonment for more than one year shall be prosecuted by an indictment, if waived, by information.

A grand jury of 16 to 23 members is summoned by the court when public interest so requires. It is subject to challenge by the defendant on grounds of incompetence or wrongful drawing or selection. An indictment may be quashed by a party on the same objection. Indictment requires the concurrence of at least 12 jurors. Until the court releases it, the grand jury must serve for more than 18 months if the court determines that an extension is necessary in the interest of the public. A juror may be excused and a replacement is posted.

During deliberations and voting, no other persons shall be allowed except the jurors. The indictment is returned to the judge and kept secret until the defendant is in custody or released pending trial. An indictment is a brief statement of the facts of the offense and signed for the government by an attorney. The indictment or information must cite the statute allegedly violated by the accused and naming the defendant, if unknown, he shall be described with certainty. Unless provided for in the indictment or information, no judgment of property forfeiture shall be entered.

A summons or warrant of arrest may be issued when probable cause exists. In indictment or information, the warrant issued is signed by the clerk instead of a judge. Arraignment and Preparation for Trial Arraignment is the reading of the indictment or information before an open court and asking the defendant to plead. The presence of the defendant during arraignment is not necessary if charged of misdemeanor information or if the defendant waived appearance, provided the plea is not guilty and there is acceptance by the court.

A defendant may plead not guilty or guilty or guilty with the court’s consent, which is a conditional plea of guilty, pending determination by an appellate court of a pretrial motion. The defendant may withdraw the plea of guilty if he succeeds on appeal. Before the court accepts the plea of guilty, the defendant is advised about his rights, the right not to plead guilty, and the right to jury trial, the right to a legal counsel, the right to confront witnesses and to present evidence and the waiver of these rights if he pleads guilty.

He is also informed of the penalty and possible forfeiture and waiving the right to appeal and attack the validity of the sentence. The court must also determine the factual basis for pleading guilty and sees to it that it was voluntary. Any defense, objection or inquiry, which the court can determine without having to try the whole issue, may be raised by a party in a pretrial motion. Other motions such as alleging defect in indictment or information or in instituting prosecution, motion for discovery, and motion for evidence suppression must be made before trial.

The defendant may request at the arraignment or soon after the arraignment, for notice of the government’s intent to use any evidence that the defendant may discover or suppress before trial. It is the duty of both the government and the defendant to disclose in writing the names, addresses and telephone numbers of their witnesses, failure to comply with this rule; the court may exclude the testimony of any undisclosed witness. Notice of insanity at the time of the commission of the alleged offense must be filed with the clerk within the time allowed for filing pretrial motion or at a later time set by the court.

Failure to do so, the defendant cannot use insanity as a defense. The same procedure shall apply to introduce expert witness for mental disease or disorder of the defendant. The court may order competency examination of the accused; if found incompetent, the hearing shall be postponed until competency of the defendant resumes. For producing documents or objects, the court may issue subpoena for the witness to produce any documents or records in court before they are offered in evidence for inspection by both the parties and their attorneys.

The court may also authorize a clerk of a district where deposition is to be taken to issue a subpoena for the witness named in the order to appear in a place designated in the subpoena. A witness may be held in contempt for disregarding a subpoena issued by a magistrate judge without a valid excuse. For a fair and expeditious trial, a party may move for one or more pretrial conferences. The court shall prepare a memorandum of the matters agreed at the pretrial conference. If the government intends to use any statement made by the defendant or his attorney, such statement must be in writing and signed by the defendant and his attorney.

Venue The place of prosecution and trial must be at the district where the offense was committed, unless the rules permit other venue. For a speedy disposition of cases, the court has to consider the convenience of the defendant and the witnesses when choosing the place of hearing within the district. Transfer of prosecution may be made to where the defendant is present or arrested and detained from where the indictment or information is pending or the warrant is issued, provided, there is a waiver in writing from the defendant or the defendant pleads guilty or with the court’s consent(nolo contendere) to the charge.

Juvenile prosecution is allowed at the district where the juvenile is arrested and detained although the alleged offense was committed in other district, provided the offense charged is not punishable by death or life imprisonment. Juvenile prosecution must be rehabilitative rather than punitive. Trial There is a list of constitutional rights that a defendant has at the trial. A defendant has a right to a public, fair and impartial trial, a right to counsel and a right to jury trial unless waives in writing with the consent of the prosecution and approves by the court.

The defendant has also a right to compulsory process to obtain witnesses, a right to confront witnesses in court and the privilege against self- incrimination. If any of these rights is violated, conviction may be reversed on appeal. . The defendant need not testify during the trial as he may be asked by the prosecution on inadmissible statements previously made that might negate his testimony. However self-incrimination may come in different forms. The court may compel a defendant to give blood or handwriting samples and fingerprints.

The right against self-incrimination covers testimonial compulsion only and does not place within its protective shield mechanical acts. Prospective jurors are subject to examinations by the court and the parties. Each party to the case is entitled to peremptory challenges. Additional challenges may be allowed separately or jointly where there are multiple defendants, but additional challenges may be availed of only to remove alternate jurors. The number of additional peremptory challenge depends on the number of jurors entered into the list of prospective jurors.

After the prosecution has rested its case and presentation of evidence has been concluded, the defendant may file a motion for acquittal. If the court finds that the evidence is not sufficient to convict beyond reasonable doubt, the court must enter a judgment of acquittal. If however, verdict has been returned to the court, the court may set aside the verdict and enter acquittal. Where no verdict has been reached, the defendant will be acquitted. In guilty verdict, the court conducts an opinion poll of jurors on an individual basis.

If the result does not show unanimity, the verdict is set aside. It is important to note that the jury decides not on question of law but on findings of facts. Admissibility of evidence still rests with the judge. The verdict must be unanimous and must be handed to the judge in open court. Post-Conviction Procedure The court may allow a defendant to remain free by posting a bond until sentencing. The court before imposing a sentence must consider the presentence report prepared by a probation officer.

The report includes the applicable sentencing guidelines, the defendant’s background and in case of restitution, the plaintiff’s financial condition and the victim’s impact statement. At sentencing, which is a separate trial, the parties are given opportunities to comment on the determination of the probation officer on the appropriate sentence and allow them to make objections before sentence is enforced. After sentencing, the defendant who pleaded not guilty but was convicted is informed of his right to appeal the conviction and the sentence.

If in case the defendant cannot afford to pay for the appeal cost, the court must advise him of appeal as indigent. Where the indictment or information contains notice to the defendant that as part of a sentence, the government will seek forfeiture of property, the court must enter a judgment of forfeiture. The court must determine the property subject to forfeiture and the link between the property and the offense. A preliminary order of forfeiture must be entered without regard to any third party claim which can be filed in an auxiliary proceeding.

The order of forfeiture shall form part of the sentence and included in the judgment. In the interest of justice, the court may grant motion for new trial on newly discovered evidence which must be filed within 3 years from return of the verdict. However, if the case is pending appeal, the court has to wait until the appellate court remands the case. Motion for new trial on other grounds must be filed within 7 days from conviction. A motion to arrest judgment on jurisdictional ground or the indictment does not charge an offense, must be filed within 7 days after the return of the verdict.

General Provisions The defendant must be present at every stage of the trial, except when the offense charged is punishable by fine or imprisonment of less than one year, or both. The defendant may not appear during arraignment, plea, trial and sentencing if there is a written consent by the defendant and approved by the court in misdemeanor offense. Absence of defendant is also allowed where the proceeding involves only question of law and correction or reduction of sentence. The right to counsel is a fundamental right of the accused.

Thus, the court appoints a counsel if the defendant is unable to secure a counsel of his own choice. The counsel appointed by the court shall represent the defendant at every stage of the proceeding, from initial appearance to appeal. Where there is unnecessary delay in the charging of information against the defendant, or instituting a charge to the grand jury or taking the defendant to a trial, the court may dismiss the case. No dismissal by the government of a complaint, indictment or information during trial can be made without the consent of the defendant.

Criminal procedures are contrived to impose the constitutional rights of persons charged with criminal offense from initial stage to the final phase of the proceedings. They serve as bucklers against promiscuous application of criminal law on suspected criminals. The Fourteenth Amendment of the constitution provides virtually the guarantees and protection found in other Amendments as it proscribes deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Due process cannot be measured by an unshakable standard.

In judicial proceedings, due process is rigid and stringent as it must comply with the strictures or steps so required. The essence of due process is found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support of one’s defense. The due process clause of the constitution is the most used weapon available to a person to arrest the intrusion of government on matters affecting the basic existence of man. Reference Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures (2006, December 1). Retrieved on October 10, 2007 from <http://judiciary. house. gov/media/pdfs/printers/109th/31309. pdf>