Acts of crime have existed in societies from time immemorial. What construes an act to be criminal in nature would depend upon the statutes and laws or at the least, social or moral practices in society. This paper is a review of the criminal justice process for a felony in the United States. In the process, the paper reviews the criminal justice process. The system has its own rules, procedures, and terms to describe the stages of the proceedings.
When an arresting officer believes that you committed a criminal act. A felony complaint must be filed through the criminal court. From there you go to central booking. This is where you are fingerprinted and photographed. During this time a fingerprint report is prepared which shows your criminal history, if any. Now you incarcerated for a period of 24hrs before you see the judge. At this time the prosecutor is talking with the original officer. If the prosecutor feels there is enough to charge you then he/ she is will prepare the chargers against you.
You now have the option of hiring a lawyer or letting the court appoint one to you. Then after comes the arraignment. This is when you find out what you are charged with. Also your attorney and the DA will try to come to an agreement on your case to avoid a trail. Depending on what evidence the DA has is what usually determines whether you should accept a plea bargain. Ultimately the judge is the only one who can decide whether or not to accept any negotiations. “If you do not want a trial, you may always plead guilty to all the accusations brought against you whether or not the prosecutor agrees. The judge will then decide your sentence.
The district attorney has very little time to show evidence to the grand jury. If he fails to show evidence the felon will be released. The only exception is if the prosecutor could show or explain to the judge why he/she can’t show evidence. However, even when you’re released from jail it doesn’t mean it’s over.
The grand jury is made up of sixteen to twenty-three people who listen to the evidence and decide whether there is enough evidence to put you on trial for a felony. An indictment is voted when the grand jurors decide there is enough evidence. After this the case goes to the Supreme Court there is another arraignment. This arraignment is like the one with the criminal court.
Again the prosecutor has a time retrain to bring the case to trial. He or she has six months of filing the felony complaint with the Criminal Court. This time if the prosecutor isn’t prepared then judge must dismiss your case. If you were responsible for delays in bringing your case to trial, those periods are not included in the six months, ninety days, or other periods relating to release.
At the pre-trial a judge or a jury will decide whether or not the prosecutor have proven your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You could waive a jury and be tried before the judge. The only exception is when your charged with murder in the first degree. This is because a there could be a death sentence.
Once you finally make your way in court the prosecutor will present the case against you. Before judgment can made about your case the must there must be no doubt what so ever. The jury and prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty.
The jury must all decide unanimously on whether or not your guilty or not with out a reasonable doubt. If for whatever reason they cannot come to a agreement then this is what is called a hung jury. The sentencing is determined by the judge. When it comes to your sentencing much will depend on your background, the crime, and the victims attitude.
Of course after you receive your sentence, you will have the right to appeal. The appeal would go to the appeals court. The only exception is when you plead guilty. You give up your rights in most cases. This is usually when there is a plea bargain. Also if you can not afford an attorney the court would appoint you one.
If for whatever reason this court feels that you had a fair shake and no further action is approved. However, if the Court of Appeals feels they will not see you then that is it. No further action can be taken. This is the end.
In some cases you may be released from prison while you are waiting for a decision on your appeal. This is called an application for a stay. If your application for a stay is granted, you may be released from jail on bail or on your own recognizance, depending on all of the circumstances. You may not make an application for a stay if you were convicted of a class A felony. Only one application for a stay is permitted during the appeal, although if your appeal continues to the Court of Appeals, you then may make another application for a stay.
In certain circumstances, even though the charges against you have been dismissed, the prosecutor’s may be permitted to appeal your case. This is called a People’s appeal. If the People’s appeal is successful, the charges against you may be revived and the case against you may continue. The prosecutor is absolutely prohibited from appealing an acquittal”. Those convicted for criminal acts by state laws have the right to move to higher courts for repeal as per the Constitution. Mehren and Murray state that “Even though the state courts may have already ruled on these claims, there is no preclusive effect unless the state court rulings have been expressly affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court” (Mehren & Murray, 2007, p. 192).
Both the parents and the child must be informed of their rights at the Detention Hearing or the Initial Hearing, whichever occurs first. Just as in an adult a juvenile can waive his right to an attorney if that waiver is joined by his/her custodial parent, guardian, or custodian.
When you are a juvenile (under 18 years of age), you will be held in a facility for juveniles. If
you are under the age of 18; you may be tried as an adult under certain circumstances. Your prior
record and the seriousness of the charge may be considered. You also may request to be tried as
an adult if you so desire. This information I did not know. I mean why would anyone want to be
tried as an adult. The judge will assign a public defender in most cases. If you do not want the
P.D., then both the juvenile and legal guardians has to sign a waiver.
With the adult system you will be assigned a lawyer if you cannot afford one. If you do not
desire the public defender, you can sign a waiver, but very unlikely that the judge will allow you
represent yourself. Unless your competent enough and have some understanding of the law.
Contrast to juveniles, while you await your trail you cannot wait home without bail. Bail must
be met. Unless some other circumstances exist. As an adult your more responsible for all your
actions, if found mentally fit. With a juvenile one can always say they did not know any better.
Many crimes committed as a juvenile may get expunged, while as an adult it is less likely.
Much depends if you’re a first time offender or not.
Both have similar rights yet have different rules. Juveniles are more developmentally different
from adults and that their behavior is malleable.
The United States is practically governed by fifty two criminal laws. Even though there are common elements, the absence of a national law covering the entire nation is problematic for its citizens affected by crime, whether as a victim or villain. This is complicated by newer threats like terrorism and war the Presidential orders (by means of laws and statutes) in the hope of
controlling, defining, and combating such acts. It would be better for the country to have a uniform criminal justice process where every state has the same statutes with regard to assessment, identification, and punishment for crime.
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