This definition of a crime comes from (Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary) and reads; “Crime: an act or the commission of an act that is forbidden or the omission of a duty that is commanded by a public law and that makes the offender liable to punishment by that law; especially: a gross violation of the law”. There are several definitions of crime, but there all consistent for the most part. People who commit crimes are held to answer for the crimes they are accused of.For this, we must have a judicial system in place that is fair and balanced. Although the person accused of committing the crime is sometimes judged before he’s even gone to court, he must be allowed certain rights and due process. Those rights must not be violated prior to a trial.
It’s this system that makes American what we are. Sometimes there are cases that make us feel that the person being tried should just be executed or sent to jail, because the media has basically tried and convicted the person prior to trial.This was evident in the “Casey Anthony” murder trial. Most Americans and the media had convicted her prior to trial. She was found not guilty earlier today by twelve jurors. Is the system fair? Who knows, but this is the reason, lots of people believe there should be professional jurors for high profile cases like this. On the other hand our judicial system has been around for a long time and delivers in most cases a fair system of government that protects the innocent, the victims and the accused.
Of course all parties involved don’t feel this way based on where you’re at during the judicial process, but it’s a system that’s fair to all parties. The system is overseen by federal systems that try to keep order and balance throughout the country. Without any of this we would be a country with no law and order. Vigilantes’ would run the streets creating their own laws and chaos would prevail. The three components of the criminal justice system are The Police, The Criminal Courts and The Correctional Institutions.Each one of these components has a very specific function and go hand in hand with one another. For example; if a person is arrested by a police officer for a residential burglary, there is a series of events that happen on the law enforcement side, before the suspect goes to court and before he becomes a part of the correctional institutions.
. Once an officer confirms a crime has been committed, he must place the person under arrest and show there was probable cause to arrest the person.This information goes into a “Probable Cause statement that’s submitted during the booking process. If the suspect is questioned he must be advised of his Miranda rights by the law enforcement officer. Evidence must be collected to prove the crime was committed and the person being charged committed the crime. The suspect is then transported to the county jail for booking. The officer must then document the incident in a police report and be able to articulate the elements of the crime have been fulfilled.
The evidence must be booked and the police report must then be submitted to the District Attorney’s office within a 48 hour time frame before the suspect is arraigned in court. If any of this fails’ to happen the courts could release the suspect under Penal Code 825. The case can still be submitted to the District Attorney’s office, but it will be filled out of custody. If this process has been completed correctly the criminal courts takes over their function. Once the suspect goes to court for his first appearance he is advised of his charges and the probable cause is confirmed by the courts.During this phase the report and evidence collected are examined by the defense counsel to see if the suspect has a chance of winning the case. If the defense attorney feels that his client may lose the case based off of the evidence presented he may be allowed to plea bargain in which the suspect could plead to a lesser crime or admit guilt to the crime he is accused of.
There are several things that determine if this allowed to happen, to include the suspects past criminal history and the seriousness of the crime.If the courts feel there is enough probable cause and the suspect’s rights have not been violated, the suspect will be held to answer to the charges brought against him. Otherwise the suspect could be let free based on the lack of probable cause, lack of physical evidence or the suspect’s rights being violated during the arrest or questioning process. If the suspect is held to answer he will then go to an arraignment. Once there he will plead either not guilty, guilty, or no contest. If a person pleads “not guilty” he is set for pre-trial at which time his case is handled by the person’s lawyer.If need be the case goes to trial where he is judged by twelve of his peers or the person pleads to a lesser charge and the case is closed prior to the trial.
If a trial takes place and the person is found guilty he will be sentenced by the judge based on the crimes committed. This can be immediately or shortly after the trial. If the suspect is sentenced to prison he then becomes a part of the correctional institution. After sentencing he is usually turned over immediately to the custody of the sheriff’s department while awaiting transportation to prison.