Role of Criminal justice system

The system primarily encompasses a combination of institutions and practices of state governments whose main objective is to uphold deterring, crime mitigation and social control with respect to set procedural rules and regulations. (Frase  Weidner, 2010).  In United States (US), the criminal justice system is defined as means of enforcing standards of conduct essential in ensuring individuals and the entire community is protected by the society.  The goal of this system does not vary greatly with country, for instance in England, its objective is to reduce criminal activities by ensuring more offences are brought to justice as well as enhance public confidence on the system (Criminal justice system, 2008).

Aimed at ensuring that the system meets its goals, all entities have their roles defined clearly and protocols laid down.  The system entails policing which includes police officers or federal agents, courts which include district attorney, defense counsel, and judgesmagistrates, and corrections which entails prisons and other rehabilitation facilities.  The first stage of the criminal justice system involves the police or law enforcement authorities who conduct investigations and arrest an offender.  Police officers are empowered to use force or any other means of legal coercion to ensure social and public order is maintained (Neocleous, 2004).

Following policing, are the courts which provide the platform for settling the disputes and ensuring administration of justice.  The judge or the magistrate is person of great knowledge regarding the law, whose role entails administering the legal proceedings and providing a final decision on the case at hand.  The district attorney or prosecutor is the lawyer responsible for bringing charges against a person or a corporation.  The role of the district attorney entail providing a comprehensive explanation to the court regarding the crime committed and the evidence obtained that implicates involvement of the accused.  On the other hand, the defense attorney provides counseling to the accused on matters concerning the legal process, probable outcome and also proposes strategies aimed at avoiding penalties.  The role of the defense attorney involves representing the interest of the accused, raise evidentiary as well as procedural issues, and ensure the prosecution comprises of adequate basis in proving the accused guilty (Frase  Weidner, 2010).       

In a case, the prosecutors office can be involved in pre-arrest or post-arrest.  If the police officer has adequate grounds under the state law to make the arrest, the involvement of the prosecutors office is not necessary.  However, if there are no grounds to make the arrest, the officer is required to file a report with the prosecutor who then files charges with the court and the judge will provide a warrant for arrest depending on the case or indictments.

The complexity of a case plays an important role in determining the prosecutors involvement at the initial stages of an investigation.  In a simple case, involving the prosecutor in early stages is unnecessary as this will make the investigation process slow and complicated.  However, in complex cases, it is imperative to involve the prosecutor as the officer will save time which would have been wasted in arresting the offender only later to be relieved of all charges because the arrest was unlawful.  Conversely, the role of the defense attorney is not restricted since the lawyer can be involved in a case prior to indictment or arrest (, 2010).  Many people contact lawyers the moment they become a suspect for provision of advice regarding their actions during the investigation and also to ensure they understand and maintain their rights.

The judicial process can commence after an arrest or with the state presenting information to the judicial authority in order for them to issue a warrant for an arrest.  In the modern era, the legislature is responsible for setting most laws and rules as a code, ordinance or statute (Beatson, 2006).  As result of criminal laws being written by the legislature, the courts receive challenges regarding whether they conform to the constitutional requirements thus an unconstitutional statute is considered invalid.  With regards to the due process clause the accused person should be made aware by law on issues allowed and those forbidden, and the potential punishments.  The constitution also separates matters of state from those of federal jurisdiction and none can infringe on each others right, except under the constitution specifications (Beatson, 2006).

Common law crimes vary from actions criminalized by statute.  Common law crimes entail criminal activities recognized by the courts, and also include administrative procedures coupled with rules of evidence.  Criminal statutes encompass what is prohibited and the penalties involved.  Currently, statutory law surpass common law as most of the laws in states are statutory law, however in some cases where there is no statute on an issue some elements of the common law are retained (Beatson, 2006).

In conclusion, the role of the criminal justice system is to ensure provision of social order through reduction of criminal activities and protection of individual rights as well as enhance confidence in the system by the public.


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