Free Paper on Criminal Justice: Case Study 3 - Arson and Murder

Published: 2022-06-27
Free Paper on Criminal Justice: Case Study 3 - Arson and Murder
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Criminal justice
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1714 words
15 min read

In the United States, criminal justice is comprised of three main establishments that monitor a case from the start (arrest) to end (punishment). These bodies include the law administration, the court system, and the rectifications system. The three institutions work hand in hand to provide the flow of processes from arrest to sentencing. Any criminal case starts with the law administration agencies that examine an offense and arrest a criminal maintaining order and improving public welfare (Schmalleger et al., 2014). After the arrest, the next process is the court system which evaluates the evidence and decides on whether the suspect is guilty or innocent. The case then continues to the correction systems that execute its duty by rehabilitating and punishing the criminals. The three institutions of the criminal justice system hence play a significant role in the criminal justice process and without one institution the structure would fail (Sorensen, Snell and Rodriguez, 2006). This paper reviews how criminal justice works by going through the processes involved in unraveling case study 3 - "Arson and Murder". This paper also deliberates the strongest and weakest links in the criminal justice events.

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Description of the case

The case "Arson and Murder" involves two suspects Heather Raftery and her boyfriend Brandon Bledsoe. The two are aged 21 and 33 respectively and lives in Felony. They were both arrested on 18th December 2014 by felony police and charged with burglary and capital murder-arson subsequent to the death of 70-year-old Tommy Burdette on Sunday night.

Brandon was a friend of Burdette but on that night they broke into his house stole his properties such as jewelry, two TV set, and money. They then killed him using a twenty-two caliber rifle and set his body of fire. According to the police Brandon is one accused of shooting him, but his girlfriend helped him when she poured gasoline on his body and his home before lifting the fire. Brandon sustained burns on his hands and face which became the lead to the case. A citizen saw him and suspected that him and made a report to police. When Brandon was arrested a week before the incident he pleaded guilty but pleaded innocent in court. Heather also pleaded not guilty and Jason Daley, her lawyer added that he has evidence that proves she did not commit the crime. He also added that she was being controlled by Bledsoe which could be the reason why she set Burdette body and properties on fire. She had sustained an injury of her face indicating that she was being physically abused by her boyfriend.


A criminal case starts with a lawful arrest where the police must present a warrant issued by a judge. Following an alert from a citizen, the police arrested Brandon Bledsoe and confirmed that he had burns on face and hands. When he was arrested, he confessed guilty of not only shooting to death Burdette but also stealing household items and money. Later that night the police arrested Heather who denied all the accusations. They were both denied bond because they had committed a heinous crime and therefore they were a threat to the public. It is evident that this is a capital murder that happened in Baldwin County, Alabama State. The case will, therefore, follow legal stance put place by Alabama law.

Criminal judicial trial

When Brandon was being arrested, he had serious burns on his hands, face, and arms. He received these burns when he set to flame the body of Mr. Burdette. The burns were serious in such a way that the citizen who saw him suspected of the crime he had watched over the news. He was charged with killing the victim by shooting him several times, stealing properties and cash, and burning his body and home.

Brandon would have a preliminary hearing at this point and his charges would be announced. If he does not afford an attorney the state would provide one for him. At this point, whether or not the suspect would get a bail would be determined (Schmalleger et al., 2014). Following the law enacted by Alabama State, capital murder bail may be denied if the judge feels that the suspect may cause more harm to the public. If awarded the bail, Brandon would pay an amount not less than fifty thousand shillings. In this specific case, Brandon bail would be denied because he committed a heinous crime which makes him a threat to people well-being. After the charges are annunced, a plea follows and bail is denied. The trial date is then set.

The next process is intervening between the actual trial and preliminary trial. Both the prosecution and defense would start preparing for their cases. The defense would forensics, law enforcement agencies. A psychiatrist is also provided to examine whether the suspect is mentally fit when committing the offense and can attend a trail. If the psychiatrist proves that the suspect was of the right mind when he murdered the victim, he would be held liable (Schmalleger et al., 2014).

When the police obtained a warrant to seize any piece of evidence such as the rifle used burns and other items found in the suspect's house. There is solid evidence that Brandon committed the crimes, for example, he had confessed that he killed the victim that night when he was arrested. Moreover, police found some items such as TV sets, jewelry, and money that are believed to have been stolen from the victim's house. The burns on Brandon's face, hands and arms were also a proof that he indeed committed the offense. In a criminal judicial system, the prosecutor makes his prosecution depending on the evidence available. The prosecutor represents the state and the murder victim while Brandon attorney will represent him. This is evidence that the court acts as the custodian of the constitution and so provides the suspect with rights under the US bill of rights. The court has to follow several restrictions to prosecute the crime against Mr. Burdette. They include right against self-incrimination, counsel and, jury trial (Schmalleger et al., 2014).

The defendant pleaded not guilty and therefore he will have a jury trial and counsel for the case. Court provides a counsel if the defendant does not have one. Brandon will be convicted of two charges of first-degree murder and burglary. Afterward, the jury finds Brandon guilty of capital murder, the sentencing is passed. Depending on the mitigating aspects, the criminal's history and the federal statute outlawing first-degree murder, Brandon will be sentenced to a life term without parole possibility (Sorensen, Snell and Rodriguez, 2006).

One the judge sentences him, he will move to correction systems. This is the last institution of criminal justice and includes jails, parole, and probation. From the court, Brandon will be referred to a reception center and then he will be moved to a correction structure. Classification score is processed at the reception center deepening on the duration of sentence, stability, and occupation. In this situation, Brandon will serve his sentence as a state jail with maximum prison but changes following his behaviors. He will undergo vocational and educational programs in the corrections department, which may earn him time credits. Once the correction is satisfied that he has completely changed his behaviors and have served more than many years in prison, the court may decide to rant his parole (Schmalleger et al., 2014). Although this rarely happens in life term sentence Brandon can try his luck and prove that he has changed completely. If he is lucky, he will be required to follow all parole rules.

The weakest and strongest links in the criminal justice process

The three institutions of the criminal justice system play an important role in the process. The weakest link is the rehabilitation systems which are mainly contributed by overcrowding. This leads to failure to rehabilitate because the personnel is working are less than the prisoners. Tougher criminal laws are believed to be the cause of overcrowding in the United States. Most people are sent to prisons for minor crimes such as drinking while driving and driving without a license.

The rehabilitation system has failed to amend individual making re-arrests rates to rise. This increases the prison population and the cycle continues since they lack facilities and techniques to rehabilitate effectively (Schmalleger et al., 2014).

Law enforcement institution is the strongest link in the United States criminal justice system. The principal duties include crime prevention, criminal investigations, emergency response, and patrols. It enforces all laws and regulations made by the national government. It is the strongest link because it presents the criminals in the process to make them realize that there are law and order in the country. The United States has over 17,000 law enforcement agencies that hire almost one million officers (Schmalleger et al., 2014). These institutions include state police, police departments, sheriff's departments, and fifty agencies to implement the national law. Law enforcement officers are able to work effectively because of their diversity. Apart from maintaining law and order, it also prevents crimes by deterring those who may plan to commit an offense. It also follows the deep investigation of criminal activities to ensure that criminals pay for their crimes. For the murder case of MR. Burdette, they responded immediately to the call from a civilian who suspected Brandon. They carried out all investigation and provided valid evidence beyond a reasonable doubt (Sorensen, Snell and Rodriguez, 2006).


The three institutions of the criminal justice system are equally crucial for the in case determination process. Any case must follow the entire process from arrest to rehabilitation. If there no law enforcement officer's courts cannot operate and so does corrections agency because criminals have to be convicted. The three institutions, therefore, work together and none is important than the other.

During the criminal justice proceeding, there are several protections rights that safeguard both the offender and the accuser. They include the right to be heard, counsel and a jury trial that is not delayed. They provide for arrest, sentence, punish and correct Brandon based on the basic rights.


Sorensen, J., Snell, C. and Rodriguez, J. (2006) "An Assessment of Criminal Justice and Criminology Journal Prestige," Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 17:297-322.

Schmalleger, F., Donaldson, S., Kashiwahara, K., Koppal, T., Chase, S., Brown, A., ... & Marash, D. (2014). Criminal justice today. Prentice Hall.

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