Policies within the criminal justice system are useful when it comes to providing guidance to the officials within the system. The police, the courts, and the correctional centers are the major elements of the criminal justice system. The police are responsible for identifying offenders and making arrests for the purpose of maintaining social order in the society at various levels comprising federal, state, and local police. The courts are responsible for receiving offenders and ensuring that justice is served for the safety of the community through the sentencing of offenders and imposing other appropriate punishment. Prisons and other correctional centers including probations are meant to keep offenders away from the rest of the society for punishment, and rehabilitation with the main goal of maintaining safety to the society and preparing them to be productive when reintegrated into the society. In the majority of the cases, policies within the criminal justice system are implemented to bring changes in the manner in which the offenders are handled within the entire process. The courts, in particular, are highly governed by policies when making sentencing decisions for offenders. The American constitution, in particular, has outlined the bill of rights that should be respected by the criminal justice officials all through the criminal justice process.
The judicial branch of the American constitution is made up of the courts whose officials are elected by the president under the approval of the Senate. Courts are venues where justice is served by deciding what really happened and what should be done regarding the offense. It is in court where judges are responsible for deciding whether the defendant committed the particular crime and the most effective form of punishment to issue based on the crime at hand (Mays et al., 2014). The courts are also responsible for handling private cases that people find difficult to handle on their own. Due to the varying nature of criminal cases, there are those that may end up in federal courts while others may end up in state courts which means that there are various levels of crimes and courts. The supreme court is the highest-level court in the United States of America within the judiciary established under Article III of the 1789 U. S constitution (Carp et al., 2019). It is responsible for cases that involve the statutes including ambassadors. It has overall appellate jurisdiction over the cases in the federal and state courts which involve the statutory law. the supreme court has the ability to rebuke a statute for violating a constitutional violation, through the power of judicial review (Shapiro et al., 2013). The chief justice works with a team of eight associate judges a provision that was made within the 1869 Judiciary act (Danelski, & Ward, 2016). The justices have lifetime tenure and only the president with the Senate consent has the ability to appoint new justice upon retirement, resignation, or death of a former justice. This means that the judges in the supreme court do not have to run for campaigns and reelection and are free from pressure from the politics of the day when making a decision on federal cases. The supreme courts do not hold trials but instead, they make interpretation of the law and make a decision whether the given law applies to a given set of facts. It is also responsible for ruling on how a set law should be applied (Corley et al., 2015).
The supreme court sets a precedent which should be followed by the lower courts when it comes to making a decision. For a case to be handled by the supreme court, parties must make a petition for a writ of certiorari since the court does not handle appeals as a matter of rights. In the instance where the court has to hear a case based on the consent of at least four out of the nine judges, the court has to grant cert according to its custom and practice. Where the federal government is involved in a supreme court case, the Solicitor General of the United States is responsible for presenting the existing arguments to the court on behalf of the states. The Justices have to then hold conferences privates where they make an amicable decision regarding the case within a period of several months. It is after this period that the court issues its opinion and at the same time dissenting any written argument that may be in existence.
The fourth amendment protects American citizens from unwarranted searches and seizures (Friedman, 2017). The judges are guided by the manner in which the evidence presented before was achieved when making their decision. The defendant has a right to appeal where he or she feels that his or her right to privacy was violated. The court on the other hand had is mandated by the guidelines and its policies to dismiss the case and release the defendant when it is confirmed that the evidence presented against the defendant was based on an illegal and unwarranted search and seizure. For example, in the 1989 Florida v. Riley, a case which has surpassed history due to its popularity and references until today, Riley’s right to privacy was violated when the investigating officer invaded his property and made an illegal search via the airspace. Riley appealed to the courts and the case was temporarily dismissed based on a violation of the right to privacy (Friedenzohn, and Mirot, 2013). it is, therefore, right to argue that the court s guided by the fourth amendment when making its decision in each particular case.
The fifth amendment informs the court proceeding in a very significant way. It serves to protect the defendant and to guide the legal process. The defendant has a right to the grand jury and is protected from being accused of the same crime twice. The defendant is also protected from self-incrimination which means that he or she cannot testify against himself or herself (Choo, 2014) For example, a defendant has the right not to respond to the jury when being asked questions that are based on evidence obtained from an illegal warrant which is invalid. Answering to such question would mean that the defendant is self-incriminating which a violation of the fifth amendment is (Bartels, and Johnston, 2013).
The sixth amendment of the American constitution provides criminal defendants with rights that act as guidelines for judges during the court proceedings. The amendment provides right to a quick and public trial, right to a lawyer, right to an impartial jury, and the right to knowledge of the accusers. The amendment also allows the defendant to be aware of the nature of the criminal charge against them. Through the speedy and public trial, the defendant has a right to appeal to the court in the case where he or she feels that their cases have been delayed for unjust reasons. The court policies provide that in the instance where a trial period has been set, charges must be dismissed and the defendant must be set free if the period expires without trial. Porto, (2017). Secondly, the jury handling the case must be impartial for a due process and for the sake of equal protection. The jurors must be unbiased and willing to handle the case based on the evidence presented (Conrad, 2013). In the case this right is violated, through the act of the jurors impairing the freedom of action, the trial judge is responsible for conducting a hearing in which the defense team will take part to make a decision on whether impartiality was undermined (Welsh, and Harris, 2016). The court can dismiss a case when it is determined that this right was violated. Thirdly, the right to be aware of who the accusers are I a current constitutional right that serves a variety of purposes. It ensures that the witnesses make their testimonies under oath which emphasize the seriousness of the trial process hence minimizing cases of bias. It also gives room for the defendants to make a cross-examination on the witnesses testing against them. The jurors are also given an opportunity to make an assessment of the credibility of the witnesses though observing their behavior hence eliminating bias and impartiality.
When making policies, research is a very essential tool as it provides a wide breadth of evidence. Legal research, in particular, is very important within the law-making process as it informs the issues in question (Barkan et al., 2015). There are instances when issues presented to the courts may be incorrect, or the law may be constantly changing which may affect the nature of ruling to be made. In such instances, there may be split decisions which make it difficult for the courts to determine how the next cases similar to the former will be handled. There are times where research may fail to cause the intended impact as a result of problems to do with communication, presentation, and timeliness. Most legal cases today may not apply to evidence from research on cases handled before changes in the constitution. Attorneys, make use of research by reviewing statutes, case law, as well as secondary authority prior to making any decision on how a case should proceed. Cases that have a similar fact pattern to the case at hand help to guide the attorney on how to deal with the current case.
Lawyers, on the other hand, make use of legal research to determine the impact a particular policy will have on. For example, corporate lawyers may decide to carry out research which will help them determine whether a policy that has been newly introduced will have a negative air positive impact on the company they represent. Evidence from research helps to highlight key areas with the socio-economic and political arena that needs to be changed. Researchers and the lawmakers should, therefore, work hand in hand with policymakers for there to be a smooth translation of the evidence and knowledge from research into law. for example, carrying out a review of the outcomes of the rehabilitation program on offenders has helped the courts to discover that the correctional centers such as prisons do not serve the intended purpose as most ex-inmates find themselves back to prison within five years of release. The evidence from such research has helped the laws makers to come up with sentencing guidelines amongst them includes alternative incarceration.
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