October 31, 2011
The United States has a unique criminal justice system that stems from the unique rights granted to its citizens by the Constitution. The United States Constitution grants the most basic rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and no citizen can be denied these rights without due process of law. Due process is the way in which the criminal justice system ensures that the right person is punished for the right crime. This process includes certain rights of the accused and specific procedures that must be followed to the letter or the accused could be released without having punished for a crime he or she could have committed. Due process works to ensure fairness in a vastly unfair society. Due Process
Due process is the legal procedure that protects the most fundamental rights of United States citizens (Schmalleger, 2008). Only through due process of law may ‘life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness’ be taken away from an individual accused of a crime (Lectlaw.com, 2011). Included in the rights guaranteed by due process are the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution and is reinforced by the 5th, 6th and 14th Amendments (Schmalleger, 2008). If these rights are violated at any time during the criminal justice process, the accused has the right to appeal to a higher court (Schmalleger, 2008). If a higher court agrees that the accused due process of law has been violated the person can be released, the conviction can be overturned and those responsible for the violation can be punished (Schmalleger, 2008). Since due process is the legal procedure of taking away the fundamental rights of a person in the interesting of solving a crime, several legal steps are taken throughout the legal process to ensure that no person is denied his or her fundamental rights (Lectlaw.com, 2011). In order for the Due Process Clause to apply to a particular case a governing official must provide substantive facts that show there is reasonable cause to deny an individual one or more of his or her fundamental rights (Lectlegal.com, 2011). This is usually done through an arrest warrant drafted by a prosecutor who is working with the police and is then presented to a judge to review (Schmalleger, 2008). In order for the judge to legally approve the arrest warrant and it be held up in a court of law, it must state what the individual is being accused of and what fundamental right is to be denied to the accused, in the case of an arrest warrant the right denied would be liberty (Scmalleger, 2008). The Legal Process after a Crime is Committed, Post Arrest Procedures and the Rights of the Accused Once a crime is committed and reported each component of the criminal justice system begins working, starting with the police. The police begin an investigation and arrest the person they believe to have committed the crime (Schmalleger, 2008). In order to begin the process of the investigation, evidence is collected; warrants for search and seizure as well as arrest are obtained from a criminal court judge (Schmalleger, 2008). The person thought to have committed the crime is taken in to custody and read his or her Miranda Rights (Schmalleger, 2008). Miranda Rights are a set of rights explaining a person’s rights granted to him or her under the Constitution (Schmalleger, 2008). The next step is booking (Schmalleger, 2008). Booking consists of taking ‘mug-shots’, finger prints, obtaining personal information, reading of official charges, creating an administrative record of arrest and the Miranda Rights reread to the accused as well as being provided on paper which the accused must sign (Schmalleger, 2008). The accused is then usually held in jail until the pretrial activities begin (Schmalleger, 2008). The pretrial activities begin with the first appearance where the accused is read his or her rights and charges (Schmalleger, 2008)....
References: Dingle, M., Churilla, A. (2011). The Criminal Justice System in America: Fair? [Powerpoint
slides]. Retrieved from
LectLaw.com. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.lectlaw.com/def/d080.htm.
Meyer, J. and Grant, D. (2003). The Courts in our Criminal Justice System. Upper Saddle River,
NJ: Prentice Hall.
Schmalleger, F. (2008). Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the 21st Century (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document