National Governments ensure peace and security among its countrymen by enactment of laws and enforcement of the same through rules. The Criminal Justice System of the nation administers this mission in USA as also England & Wales also observes this. Its objective and purpose is to safeguard the lives of the innocent by ensuing that those violating the same are penalized and subjected to the justice system. (CJSOnline.gov.uk). Likewise, it is also intended to safeguard the individuals facing prosecution from maltreatment and cruelty pending announcement of the final verdict and to ensure that the punishment meted out is within the confines of justice in all its fairness. Moreover separate Criminal Justice System is followed for adults and juveniles as also the trial procedure for the two categories. (Richard S. Frase, Robert R. Weidner). Thus, the functioning of the Criminal Justice System is vital.
According to the website of the Criminal Justice System www.CJSOnline.gov.uk it is "one of the major public services in the country". Hence, in order to avoid the system from getting into the control of a sole authority, it is segregated into different divisions (EduDecisions.com). These are Local Law Enforcement (Police), Court, and Correctional. Considering the constituents of the Criminal Justice System being depicted as a workflow model, the first component in the flow would be the Local Law Enforcement, followed by trial in Courts, culminating with Correction.
It is the Police Department who deals with the Local Law Enforcement component of the Criminal Justice System of any State or nation. The police are usually the first line of contact of law violators within the system. The Police undertake the investigation process associated with the cases and are tasked with getting evidences as also safeguarding those evidences from being tampered with. Moreover to safeguard the rights of the crime suspect, it is mandatory that the investigating authority has a search warrant issued the Court. This has been done to prevent illegal trespassing on the property and invading the privacy of the suspect. Upon gathering enough evidence, the Court may issue an arrest warrant empowering the Police to detain a particular suspect. But it never implies that the arrested person is already branded as a criminal.
From the point of view of Law, an arrested person or an individual who is under trial is not guilty till the Court delivers its final judgment. Besides, every arrest does not necessarily be supported by a warrant order. MSBA.org- an online legal vendor directory has a webpage captioned "Your Legal Rights if Arrested" wherein it has given an explanation in cases where Police Officer can make an arrest in the absence of an warrant. For instance a Police Officer has powers to arrest a person who is on the verge of (i) committing a crime, (ii) wiping or destroying important evidence (iii) injuring someone of (iv) causing property damage.
Court Trial is the subsequent procedure in the workflow of Criminal Justice System. The Court is the authority who issues search as well as arrest warrants to local law enforcement authorities. Besides, it also receives, evaluates and analyses every bit of evidence gathered by the Police authority. The Court conducts trials and hearings in which the suspect (defense) and the victim (prosecution) represented by their respective lawyers are allowed fair scope to put forth their arguments. Under this comes presenting with evidence, witnesses, and chance to argue.
Following trial, the Court will deliver its judgment. When every significant evidences results in the Court to declare that the suspect is responsible of all charges, the Court delivers its verdict pronouncing appropriate punishment. This is the known as the correction module of the Criminal Justice System. It is the Correctional authorities who are charged with enforcement of the punishment delivered by the Court. The type of punishment can vary from putting behind bars, levying penalty in the shape of fine, delivering community service, and participating in correction Seminars. In cases of offenses related to immigration, the judgment can range from exile and/or deportation.
In a latest case involving a suspected car search led the US Supreme Court to put precincts on car search. In the case of Arizone vs. Gant, two Officers detained Rodney Gant who alighted from his car with suspected narcotics abuse. After the defendant was put in the rear seat of the Officer's vehicle, it was intelligible that the circumstance was quite obvious. But the Officers continued to search Gant's car. Under Rules, search of vehicles implicated in accidents is a part of arrest proceedings. The primary objective of this activity remains to thwart the arrested person from gaining access to the vehicle that may be grab a weapon, destroy evidence, or try to flee from the spot. In Gant's case these possibilities were ruled out. Hence, naturally the question arises whether the search of his car was legitimate.
US Supreme Court decided as follows: "In Chimel, iii we held that a search incident to arrest might include 'the arrestee's person and the area within his immediate control-implying that the phrase to infer to the area from within which he might acquire a weapon or destroy evidence. That restriction, which continues to outline the precincts of the exception, guarantees that the ambit of a search incident to arrest is corresponding with its objectives of safeguarding arresting Officers and protecting any evidence of the offense of arrest which the suspect might attempt to hide or damage." This decision imposed restrictions by the apprehending and arresting by the Police Officers when the occasion arises to search incident vehicles. To justify a vehicle search, the circumstances have to allow the same.
The Police have been authorized to follow a systematic step-by-step approach. Citing an example, an investigation must prima facie be done to collect crucial evidence. On availability of sufficient evidence, the Court can already issue a search warrant. Plus, when all collected evidence allows, the Court may authorize the Police to arrest the suspect. This step-by-step system is important. But every situation might not warrant adherence to this pattern.
As per the demands of the situation at hand, a Police Officer is within his powers to divert from the normal routine. For instance, he can arrest an individual in the absence of a warrant when a certain situation so demands. The lesson learnt in this instant case is to be flexible enough to adjust to changing situations. Becoming too much rigid in following set procedures and rules might not be always practical. There might be many situations where a differentiated approach from the normal procedure may be the right decision.
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