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The Criminal Justice System

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Presentation on theme: "The Criminal Justice System"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Criminal Justice System

2 Parts of the System Police: respond to crime scene, gather evidence, and collect witness statements; conduct investigation and are responsible for the arrest and booking of suspects; booking is the process of recording an arrest and typically involves entering the suspect’s name, the charge, and the suspect’s fingerprints or photograph in the police blotter

3 Parts of the System (cont.)
Courts: the prosecutor makes a decision on whether or not to charge the suspect; if no charges are filed, the suspect must be released; if charges are filed the suspect, now called the defendant, goes through the Pretrial and Trial Stages Corrections: responsible for carrying out the sentences handed down by the court; also deal with parole, the conditional release of prisoners before they have served their full sentences

4 Pretrial Stages Initial appearance: defendant is given formal notice of charges and advised of his constitutional rights Summary trial: held if the charge is a misdemeanor or ordinance violation; this is an immediate trial without a jury If the charge is a felony, the judge must decide if there is probable cause to hold the defendant for a preliminary hearing

5 Pretrial Stages (cont.)
At this time, the judge also decides on bail, a monetary guarantee deposited with the court to ensure that defendants will appear at a later stage in the criminal justice process Preliminary hearing: used in felony cases only; during this time the judge decides if there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crime; if not, the suspect is released In about half the states, the preliminary hearing is followed by a grand jury

6 Pretrial Stages (cont.)
Grand jury: a group of citizens who meet to investigate charges coming from preliminary hearings and decide whether there is probable cause to believe that the accused committed the crime (called an indictment); if the grand jury fails to indict, the prosecution is dropped In states without grand juries, the prosecutor charges the defendant with an information, a document that outlines the formal charges, the law violated, and the evidence to support the charge

7 Pretrial Stages (cont.)
Arraignment: occurs after the indictment by the grand jury or the information is filed with the court; the purpose is to hear the formal information or indictment and to allow the defendant to enter a plea 95% of defendants plead guilty in an arrangement called a plea bargain, whereby a specific sentence is imposed if the accused pleads guilty to an agreed-upon charge instead of going to trial

8 Trial Stages If a defendant pleads not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity, a trial date is set There are two types of trials: bench trial and jury trial A bench trial is a trial before a judge without a jury In most states, it is the choice of the defendant to have a bench or jury trial If found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence (in some instances the jury has input in sentencing)

9 Sentencing Factor that influence sentencing decisions:
8th Amendment: prohibits cruel and unusual punishments Statutory provisions: some crimes have mandatory sentencing guidelines as set forth by the legislature in that jurisdiction Presentencing reports Judge’s own personal characteristics

10 Types of Punishment There are 5 types of punishment: Fines Probation
Intermediate punishments (more restrictive than probation but less than imprisonment; ex: electronic monitoring) Imprisonment Death

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