Last Updated 15 Apr 2020

Inside the Criminal Justice System

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Inside the Criminal Justice System There are many facets to the Criminal Justice System. Each facet plays an important role in the evolution of Criminal Justice System. The Criminal Justice system starts with local police officers moves all the way up to the prosecution and judges that see the cases. Each individual within the Criminal Justice System plays an important role in moving potential offenders through the system in a very effective manner. This process is important, so the system works smoothly. If one part of the system does not understand another’s job, it can cause conflict within the system.

Knowing one another’s job exempts some factors of causing hiccups in processing an individual through the Criminal Justice System. According to (Bureau of Labor and Statistics), “Police officers and detectives protect lives and property. Law enforcement officer’s duties depend on the size and type of their organizations . Police and detectives pursue and apprehend individuals who break the law and then issue citations or give warnings. A large proportion of their time is spent writing reports and maintaining records of incidents they encounter.

Most police officers patrol their jurisdictions and investigate any suspicious activity they notice. They also respond to calls from individuals. ” (Bureau of Labor and Statistics) Detectives on the other hand perform some duties an officer would, but also a whole lot more. As stated by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “Detectives perform investigative duties such as gathering facts and collecting evidence. The daily activities of police and detectives vary with their occupational specialty—such as police officer, or detective—and whether they are working for a local, State, or Federal agency.

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Duties also differ substantially among various Federal agencies, which enforce different aspects of the law. Regardless of job duties or location, police officers and detectives at all levels must write reports and maintain meticulous records that will be needed if they testify in court. ” (Bureau of Labor and Statistics) The police are the first people to interact with the criminal defendant by arresting that person after they have committed a crime. As indicated ( The Offices of the United States Attorneys) “The U. S.

Attorneys are the chief federal law enforcement officers in their districts, responsible for federal criminal prosecutions and civil cases involving the United States Government. The Executive Office for U. S. Attorneys provides support and oversight for the 94 offices across the country. (The Lancaster County, PA Office of the District Attorney ), states that “The District Attorney's Office assists police departments in criminal investigations, and prosecutes criminal charges for the Commonwealth against those who are accused of breaking the law.

Upon receipt of a reported crime the District Attorney reviews the facts and evidence and decides whether or not to approve the charges and proceed with prosecution. After the District Attorney's Office approves the charges, the case will go to one of two kinds of courts: District Justice Preliminary Hearing, whereby a District Justice hears "court cases" and determines if there is prima facie merit to the case. If a prima facie determination is made the case is referred to the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas.

The Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas, whereby a Judge or Jury has final authority to decide misdemeanor and felony cases, and attends to summary appeals. Above the County Courts are the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, each a successive step in the appellate process. They are courts of appeals, not trial courts as is the County Court Of Common Pleas. Most cases involving crimes committed by people less than 18 years of age go to Juvenile Court. (The Lancaster County, PA Office of the District Attorney ) The criminal defendant usually talks with or hears from the district attorney after charges are filed. They are the second people that interact with the criminal. They also state what they want the charge to be. The role of defense attorney, according to (Our Criminal Courts: The role of the Defense Counsel)“Defense lawyers are called upon by our system of justice for a variety of tasks. They explain to their clients what is happening, and make sure that each defendant knows his rights, and is fully aware of what is happening.

As defense counsel, the lawyer is charged with protecting those rights, and ensuring that the client receives the protections afforded to every citizen by our laws. The lawyer will take over dealing with the prosecution, call and examine any witnesses in court, and do everything the law allows to keep his client from harm--or, at the least, to minimize the damage. This means challenging the prosecution's case, its conduct, and on occasion, the very laws that govern the case. We often take these protections for granted, or scoff at them as mere "technicalities" that do little but allow criminals to escape justice.

It is easy, and often tempting, to dismiss defense lawyers (and, for that matter, all lawyers) as professional hacks, whose only function is to confuse juries and confound courts. And sometimes, when defending people who are clearly guilty, it may seem that defense lawyers are a needless extravagance, who only gets in the way of protecting people from the worst elements of society. But just as crimes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, criminals are often indistinguishable from the ordinary citizen, a fact that some of us only come to realize when we find ourselves seated at the defendant's table, with fingers pointing at us.

It is then that we realize just how critical a vigorous and independent defense bar is to a free society--allowing ordinary citizens to challenge the actions of their own government. Viewed in this light, the bedrock of American liberty is our right to use the rules we have all agreed to live by to defend ourselves in a public setting, where the actions of the same government that seeks to condemn us must prove that we have broken the law. ” (Our Criminal Courts: The role of the Defense Counsel) Even though some people may feel that defense lawyers exist only to make everyone else’s life difficult is not the case.

They are very important to the criminal justice system. They are really there to help make sure people aren’t taken advantage of. The defense attorneys can also be the second person that they criminal interacts with. If the suspect doesn’t want to answer questioning they can use their right to an attorney and the questioning has to cease until the attorney gets there. The judge is a very important last step in the justice system. According to ( The role of the Judge )“They interpret the law, assess the evidence presented, and control how hearings and trials unfold in their courtrooms.

Most important of all, judges are impartial decision-makers in the pursuit of justice. We have what is known as an adversarial system of justice - legal cases are contests between opposing sides, which ensures that evidence and legal arguments will be fully and forcefully presented. The judge, however, remains above the fray, providing an independent and impartial assessment of the facts and how the law applies to those facts. Many criminal cases - and almost all civil ones - are heard by a judge sitting without a jury.

The judge is the "trier of fact," deciding whether the evidence is credible and which witnesses are telling the truth. Then the judge applies the law to these facts to determine whether a civil claim has been established on a balance of probabilities or whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, in criminal cases, that the suspect is guilty. Anyone who faces five years or more in prison if convicted of a crime has the right, under the Charter, to request a jury trial, and many defendants facing serious offences such as murder opt to have a jury hear their case.

If the defendant is convicted of a crime, the judge passes sentence, imposing a penalty that can range from a fine to a prison term depending on the severity of the offence. In civil cases the judge decides whether a claim is valid and assesses damages, grants an injunction or orders some other form of redress to the plaintiff, unless a jury has been empanelled to make these decisions. ” ( The role of the Judge ) The judge is usually the last part of the criminal justice system that the defendant will see.

The judge does the sentencing and then you are sent off to jail, or prison, or your case is dismissed. I believe that the prosecutor’s office should be involved in post arrest because the police don’t have a criminal until after that person is arrested, then the prosecutor’s office can come in after the police prove with evidence that this person could have done the crime, then the prosecutor can come in and charge the person, and it can go into court.

It’s good to have the prosecutor in the original stages, to see what kind of action needs to be taken, if the officer has grounds to make an arrest, he may do so without consulting the state. If there are no grounds for the officer to make the arrest on the spot, he then files a report with the prosecutor who determines if there is probable cause. By having a criminal defense attorney right away, you greatly improve the possibility of better results. The longer you wait to get an attorney, the more you stand to risk.

If you are under investigation for a crime, your attorney should be present during questioning... It is good to have a defense attorney from the beginning, but it’s not required to have one even before you ever commit a crime. The justice process can begin after an arrest at the first appearance where bail is decided; it can begin with the state presenting an information or indictment and then determine whether or not to issue a warrant for an arrest. References Bureau of labor and statistics. (n. d. ). Retrieved October 8, 2011. http://www. ls. gov/oco/ocos160. htm Caminsky, J (n. d. ). Our Criminal Courts: The role of the Defense counsel. Retrieved October 9, 2011. http://EzineArticles. com/487513 The Lancaster County, PA Office of the district attorney. (n. d. ). Retrieved October 7, 2011. http://www. co. lancaster. pa. us/da/cwp/view. asp? A=15&Q=464187 The Offices of the United States Attorneys. (n. d. ). Retrieved October 8, 2011. http://www. justice. gov/usao The role of the Judge. (n. d. ). Retrieved October 4, 2011. http://www. cscja-acjcs. ca/role_of_judge-en. asp.

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