Criminal Justice Process

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Criminal Justice Process
John Wright
CRJ100 Richard L. Foy Ph.D. Strayer University

In the United States there is a process that protects the accused of a crime against abuse of investigatory and prosecution powers (Carp 2011 pg. 217). This process is known as the criminal justice process. Before a suspect can be convicted of a crime, the justice process must take place. As stated in the United States Constitution, everyone has the right to procedural fairness (Schmalleger 2011 pg. 340). The criminal justice process begins with the initial contact, where the suspect has their first contact with the federal justice system. Depending on the severity of the crime the criminal justice process could continue through the correctional facility stage, if the crime the suspect committed is serious enough.

The initial contact is the beginning step in the criminal justice process. During this phase the offender has their first contact with the federal justice system (Personal Uncc 2013). In most cases the initial contact is usually with police responding to a suspect’s crime. While responding to the initial contact, police may detain all parties involved in the incident until order is restored (Personal Uncc 2013). From there an investigation is then conducted.

After the initial contact investigators investigate the crime scene. Following the crime that was committed, investigators gather evidence at the scene where possible (Schmalleger 2011 pg.18). Once the investigators gather the evidence, they will conduct a follow up investigation and attempt to reconstruct the sequence of activities (Schmalleger 2011 pg.18). The investigation could take years to complete and involve numerous investigators. At the conclusion of the investigation an arrest can be made and warrants are issued for those suspects who were not apprehended at the scene of the crime (Carp 2011 pg. 255). Following the investigation, the police than can make an arrest and take the suspect into custody. In some cases a warrant for an arrest may be needed if the accused or other suspects were not brought into custody at the scene of the crime (Schmalleger 2011 pg.18). In either case, the arrest can be made once the police have probable cause that the suspect has committed the crime. During the arresting process the suspect is taken into police custody and read their Constitutional rights before questioning (Schmalleger 2011 pg.18). Once the arrest process is complete, the suspect is ready to be booked. Upon the arrest stage in the criminal justice process, the booking of the suspect can take place. During this time, the suspect is usually fingerprinted, photographed, and has their personal information recorded (Iowa Courts 2013). Also at this time, the suspect can be interrogated by police and witnesses to the crime can be brought into view the suspect who committed the crime (Iowa Courts 2013). The suspect is again read their rights and must sign a form on which each right is written (Schmalleger 2011 pg.18). When the booking process is complete the suspect is ready for their first appearance. Within forty-eight hours of a suspect’s arrest, they must be brought before a judicial officer for their first appearance (Schmalleger 2011 pg.18). During the first appearance, the judge will notify the suspect of the charges that are being filed against them (Schmalleger 2011 pg.18). The suspect will also have their rights read to them once again and will sometimes have the opportunity to post bail. In most cases suspects are released on their own recognizance into their own care or the care of another after bail has been posted (Schmalleger 2011 pg.18). For suspects who cannot afford to post bail at their first appearance or have too serous of a crime committed, they will be taken to jail and await their preliminary hearing. At the preliminary...
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