Criminal Justice System

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Final Paper
Nicole McDonald
POL 303
September 16, 2012
Instructor Nieman

Final Paper
Our criminal justice system is set in place in order to protect the citizens as well as set up and enforce laws that we must abide by. We rely on the laws to support our social and business life as well as our economics and standards of living. “Because it is so deeply entwined in its citizens’ lives, any nation’s criminal justice system can serve as a barometer of the nation’s standing in the world, security of its citizens, and limits of its government’s powers” (Davenport ix, 2009). Every society, even those that aren’t as technologically advanced, has rules that they live by. Most societies have this written in law and are governed in some way. The three major topics that I will be discussing are criminal law, what is a crime, as well as Treason, Terrorism, and Wartime Criminal Justice. A crime in known as a wrong against the society or public interest (Davenport pg.38, 2009). A crime is punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or even death. Criminal law is designed to protect the public’s best interests. This is set in place by laws which the government set up. Every society, even those ones that aren’t as technologically advanced, are governed by a set of laws which they must abide by, as well as a set of punishments for those who break the rules. These are also known as society laws. “The law is defined as the body of rules of conduct created by government and enforced by governmental authority" (Davenport pg.4, 2009). The United States is derived from a system of laws also known as Common Law. “Common Law is founded on the idea that if one set of facts yields a decision in one case, the same set of facts should yield the same decision in the next case” (Davenport pg. 5, 2009). Common law makes it so if a rule is one way in one part of the country; it is ruled along the same lines in the other parts. It is because of this that we have a much more stable and predictable law system. “The law is defined as the body of rules of conduct created by government and enforced by governmental authority” (Davenport pg. 6, 2009). Without a set of laws, life as we know it would be difficult or close to impossible. Jurisprudence is known as the study of law. Over the years scientists, philosophers, and lawyers have sat down and developed theories of laws and how they are socially and culturally accepted (Fichera, 2011). These theories of law are also known as the “school of jurisprudence”. Some of the major theories that were brought to light were Durkheim’s Consensus Theory, Marx’s Ruling Class Theory, and Blackstone’s Theory. “Emile Durkheim (1858–1917) was a Frenchman who is often referred to as the father of sociology” (Davenport pg.4, 2009). Durkheim believed that laws were developed as a consensus made by the society of right and wrong. According to him crimes are made into crimes because the society decides that they are not whether or not the action in truly right or wrong. Marx had an opposing theory to Durkheim. “He taught that laws are a reflection of the interests or ideology of the ruling class” (Davenport pg.5, 2009). Marx believed that the upper class ruled the society and the laws were based on what best fit them and their needs. Sir William Blackstone believed that there are two different types of crime and was a mix of both Durkheim and Marx. He believed that there were some crimes that were bad, mala prohibita, and there were crimes that were pure evil, mala in se (Davenport pg.4, 2009). There isn’t a specific theory that fits the legal system perfectly. There are many elements of each of these theories that definitely make up a large part of our legal system. Legal proceedings are classified into two groups; they are either civil or criminal. Both of these have a set of functions, procedures, and consequences. “Criminal law seeks to protect society as a whole from the aberrant (as defined by the law) behavior of some...
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