The paper will explain how the criminal process operates especially in the federal system. The state systems vary slightly on handling the criminal cases and the court proceedings. The differences noted in different states include the titles of the people involved, and the laws concerning certain acts illegal. However, the court criminal case process remains the same.
For any criminal process to commence, there has to be an alleged crime that is committed. The Dane County District Attorneys Office reveals that the police have to be alerted when this occurs. Consequently, the forces then begin their investigations on the offensive by conducting interviews with the suspects and even victims or any witnesses that were present at that time (1). They are expected to gather any physical evidence available such as pictures, any fingerprints on the crime scene, surveying the area and any DNA samples if possible. The next step is usually arresting of the person who has committed the crime. This action may happen either on the spot; the arresting officer has probable cause. In some cases, there usually are no arrests depending on the circumstances.
Carp (3) summarizes and simplifies the above process as follows. ` The first part is reporting of the case. Once the report about the case is made, there are two possible actions taken. The police may arrest the convict of fail to arrest. The decision depends on the evidence made. If the police have enough evidence about the case reported, the arrest may be made right away. On the other hand, if there is no clear evidence, the arrests may happen immediately. After the arrest, booking is made. They are processed in the by the police in the police custody. The fingerprints of the suspect are taken and the photos during the booking process.
The judicial process in a criminal cases is different from that in a civil cases. In the commencement of the former key participant is the prosecutor and the grand jury. The criminal process then proceeds to the attorneys office, after the police refer the case and suggest whichever charges for which the person was arrested. At this point, the cases future depends on the prosecuting attorney, who then analyzes the case files and witness reports to determine if the person will be charged. The work of the prosecutor is to represent the state in the court proceedings, including the criminal cases. The grand jury examines the evidence and establishes whether the defendant will proceed to trial (Criminal process 1). The ease to charge or decline will depend on the suspects previous record. After this step, the prosecutor will then charge the offender with a specific misdemeanor, who will then either post bail or wait for arraignment in the case of a felony (American Bar Association 2). The charges against the defendant are read before the judge in presence of defendant and the plaintiff. Since it is right to have legal representation in the court, the lawyer is appointed at this stage if the defendant cannot afford one CITATION Neu16 \l 1033 (Neubauer & Meinhold, 2016). Then, the defendants plea is recorded, which may either be not guilty, guilty, or may offer no contest. Depending on seriousness of the case, the bail may be set at this stage. Plea bargaining which happens in this stage results in to acquittal of many cases. Only 10% of the cases booked in the court proceed to the trial and other are settled in this stage
In a criminal case it is the government that bears the burden of proof. The state must therefore provide evidence to satisfy the judge that the accused id guilty. The defendant does not have to prove his innocence. The accused must be guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, which means that the evidence provided by the prosecutor must be strong beyond any reservation that the accused committed the act of crime. For such cases there is less pretrial discovery proceedings order to protect the identity of government agents and prevent victimization of the witnesses. In case the accused is found guilty, the jury determines the sentence. The court in deciding the sentence puts into consideration the US Sentencing Commission guidelines, the evidence provided I the trial, input of pretrial officer amongst other considerations. The sentences may include prison, fine among others. If the defendant is not guilty, the accused is let free ad there is no appeal by the government. The charges may be repeated on the same offence in the Federal court.
The initial appearance entails the offenders arraignment before a judge, where the charges will be read out for the person to know the penalties for each. For those who are still jailed, bails and conditions are set. Proceeding from this point will depend on whether the case was a misdemeanor or a felony. The former would be allowed to take a plea while the latter would have to wait for a preliminary hearing. The arraignment step is followed by preliminary hearing where the prosecutor presents to the judge the evidence to support the suspicion that the person in question committed crime. The next step is pretrial motions. The attorney is given the opportunity to use or exclude some evidence, and provide guidelines that will be utilized on the trail by providing motions. Motions are directions given to the judge to resolve a certain matter in the legal court. The rulings that are made at this stage of the court can be used later in the appeal of the case.
Criminal trial is the next phase, and if you are truly innocent or not satisfied with the plea, you can allow the judge to make decision CITATION Neu16 \l 1033 (Neubauer & Meinhold, 2016). The trial has six steps before the final verdict is reached. The final stage happens just before the jury decides whether you are guilty or innocent. However, before giving the verdict, the judge explains the principles that were involved in the case, and the reason why he made a given verdict.
After the trial, the next phase is sentencing, where if you were pleading guilty or the court found you guilty, you are sentenced for your crime. However, there are many things that determine the length of the penalty you will get CITATION Car16 \l 1033 (Carp, 2016). In some situations, judges may be required to here statement form the victims of the crime. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the case, you can appeal the case to higher court. Some of the reason is that you may have been sentenced unfairly. Appeals may follow depending on the defendants case.
American Bar Association. How Courts Work: Steps in a Trial. (https://shop.americanbar.org/eBus/ShoppingCart.aspx)
Carp, R. A. (2016). Judicial process in America. Cq Press.
Dane County District Attorneys Office. Steps in a Criminal Case. (https://www.countyofdane.com/da/case_steps.aspx)
Judicial Process 1. Criminal cases .Understanding the Federal Courts http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/types-cases/criminal-cases)
Neubauer, D., & Meinhold, S. (2016). Judicial process: law, courts, and politics in the United States. Nelson Education.
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