State constitutions and laws define the criminal justice system within each State and delegate criminal justice authority and responsibility to various jurisdictions, officials and institutions. State laws also define criminal behavior and groups of children or acts under the jurisdiction of juvenile courts. The U.S. Constitution protects basic rights through the criminal justice process.
The Government Cannot Violate Your Constitutional Rights. Legislators and the media often talk about the “criminal justice system” or “criminal justice reform”. But more and more individuals and organizations are using the term “criminal legal system” to describe police, prosecution, courts and correctional institutions in the United States. Language accuracy matters, and these systems don't do justice, nor have they ever done it.
Historically, victims of crime have been treated poorly within the criminal justice system. The vestiges of a victim-oriented or victim-driven system, with private prosecution or so-called vigilante justice, have given way in recent decades to a criminal justice system based on the offender (Carrington 1975; Shapland 1985; this publication, chapter. Much progress has been made in recent years to begin to balance the system to provide victims with rights and services (Carrington 1975; Shapland 198). Recent initiatives based on a restorative justice or community justice approach seek to hold offenders accountable while providing information to victims.
and support services, and promote greater community participation in justice issues. As first responders to most crimes, police departments play a critical and primary role in providing immediate intervention and assistance to victims of crime. Unlike most social service agencies, police departments are usually open every day of the year, 24 hours a day. As such, there is an enormous responsibility on the part of law enforcement officials and civilian personnel to provide sensitive and supportive services to victims.
Victim sensitivity training for police officers is an improvement. In the past, police academies have not provided adequate training to law enforcement personnel in relation to victimization and the effect that crime has on victims of crime. This means that when poorly trained police personnel come into contact with an emotionally distressed victim, the victim's confidence and willingness to participate in the criminal justice system can be undermined. Officers who initially respond to the crime scene, as well as investigators, are responsible for gathering evidence that may lead to the arrest and prosecution of alleged perpetrators.
Often, the questions they ask victims appear to be critical or even guilty, despite their level of sensitivity to victims. Police officers interviewing victims should clearly establish that their role is to obtain relevant facts and evidence. While your line of questioning may seem critical or guilty, that is not your intention. This simple clarification can help officials obtain relevant information without contributing to further trauma to the victim.
Much progress has been made in the last decade to increase law enforcement sensitivity to victims' problems. The establishment and expansion of law enforcement victim service programs have benefited both law enforcement and victims. When effective victim service programs are offered through a police department, law enforcement officers can devote their time to the primary responsibilities of law enforcement in investigating crimes and arresting suspects. Victims receive good service because basic services are provided by law enforcement.
This is extremely important because in the vast majority of crimes, no perpetrator is ever apprehended. This means that court-based programs will never come into contact with large numbers of victims. Victims' only hope of receiving assistance from the criminal justice system lies at the police level. Law enforcement agencies must also establish and enforce strict property return protocols and procedures.
This should be a standardized, jurisdiction-wide program, closely coordinated with prosecutors and courts, that can eliminate potential confusion about what rights and property return procedures different law enforcement agencies enforce. Essentially, police-based services, when properly staffed and funded, can provide critical assistance and information to victims as they move through the criminal justice system. Perhaps most importantly, each law enforcement agency at the federal, state, and local levels must assign a staff member to liaise with crime victims and victim services. This designation will enhance all of the roles and responsibilities described above and will coordinate and streamline victims' rights and the delivery of services to victims.
When law enforcement has investigated a crime and a suspect has been arrested, the case is referred to a prosecutor. While each state's laws and procedures establish different ways to initiate criminal action, this is usually handled through an initial court appearance or some process leading to indictment and arraignment. At this point, information about the investigation and facts of the crime is submitted by law enforcement to the court with the help of prosecutors, and appropriate charges are filed against the defendant. When appropriate, you are required to stand trial on the charges against you.
Assuming a case goes beyond the negotiation stage of the guilty plea to trial, the defendant continues to receive the basic protections found in the United States Constitution, state constitutions, and relevant statutory law and case law. Volumes of materials on the rights of defendants are available. These include, for example, the right to obtain all exculpatory evidence from the prosecution, which would tend to prove the defendant's innocence. In addition, the accused has the right to confront and question his accusers.
This is often very difficult for the victim, who must be well prepared to withstand the onslaught of cross-examination by an often aggressive defense lawyer. Defense lawyers often use methods that involve distraction defense strategy. This approach is based on the notion that, to put any possible reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury, a defense attorney will attempt to focus attention on any other possible factor other than the defendant's own actions. If the accused is not released for various technical violations of his rights that may arise (for example, due to search and seizure problems), an attempt will be made to blame others for the situation.
The police will be accused of other violations, society may be implicated as the real cause of the problem and, especially, victims are often blamed for their contribution to their own victimization. This can be a very difficult process for victims and they need to be well prepared and supported. Prosecutors should also be knowledgeable about the victim's trauma, specifically with regard to the victim's role as a witness. At the crime scene and soon after, victims may not be able to recall critical facts related to their victimization as a result of their trauma.
Your knowledge of the details of the crime can increase significantly with appropriate crisis intervention and trauma response. However, any changes to your original witness statements can be challenged by defense counsel. As a result, prosecutors must be able to explain the relationship of crisis reactions to victims' original statements, and how constant ventilation about crime and proper validation by supporters can help victims better remember and articulate vital details such as witnesses. Prosecutor based victim assistance programs can and should provide a range of services.
The most important are appropriate notification programs regarding the status of the case and the delays that often occur in the progress of criminal proceedings. Most of the time, victims feel distressed by a real or perceived lack of progress in their cases and by the need to repeatedly reorganize their personal and work lives to attend court hearings that are often delayed. In addition, victims may need assistance in assisting and participating in court proceedings, protection from intimidation and harm, basic guidance to the criminal justice system and its appropriate role within it, and other services and interventions that are described in detail in other chapters, such as obtaining warrants restraint and file victim impact statements. Of course, referrals to appropriate victim assistance and victim compensation programs should be made by the prosecution.
A significant step forward for the prosecution is the establishment of vertical prosecution units, especially for domestic violence and sexual assault cases, in which specially trained prosecutors maintain a volume of cases of one type of victimization. Vertical prosecutors work on cases from initial filing of charges to final resolution, simplifying this stage of the criminal justice system for the victim. Instead of multiple prosecutors working on the case at various stages of the indictment, a prosecutor is assigned the case from the time of indictment to trial. Defense lawyers are an integral part of the criminal justice continuum.
In the eyes of the crime victim, defense attorneys are often seen as second only to the perpetrator in their contribution to secondary victimization. However, the role of defense lawyers has a long-standing importance in our justice systems and must be understood. In fact, in certain innovative programs for victims and offenders, defense lawyers can even play an important role in assisting victims. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, provides the basis for the right to criminal defense in the United States.
In part, this Amendment states that, in all criminal proceedings, the defendant shall have the right to have the assistance of an attorney for his defense. In fact, this provision of the U.S. UU. The Constitution has been expanded to require, or at least strongly encourage, the participation of defense counsel even before criminal proceedings begin (ie,.
Unfortunately, victims of crime do not enjoy such protection under federal constitutional law. Since it is, in fact, the duty and duty of the defense attorney to defend the constitutional and other legal rights of his client as competently as possible, it is unfortunately not atypical for the defense lawyer's actions to re-victimize the victim. Victims must be prepared for this possibility. The obvious position that defense counsel assumes, juxtaposed with the perspective of the victim or survivor, is a natural result of the contradictory justice system practiced in the United States.
Ideally, two opposing parties equally equipped with legal resources and rights come before a neutral decision maker, the court, to resolve issues in accordance with current law. Of course, even a casual observer is aware of the significant flaw of this system with respect to the victim of the crime. However, the roles and responsibilities of defense attorneys are deeply rooted in our justice system. Whether defense lawyers are viewed as necessary evils or potential participants in programs that may even help victims, and while some individual defense lawyers may be unethical in their criminal defense tactics, the defense attorney's role in our justice system is firmly secured and must recognized by the principle it represents.
The judiciary is a neutral entity that monitors the progress of a criminal action. Judges should strive to consider and protect the rights of all parties involved in criminal proceedings equally. Of course, a judge can generally only take actions specified by law and procedural rules, or that are within the discretion required by law. Judges can provide essential protections to victims.
For example, when cases involve children, certain accommodations, such as allowing the victim to testify through a closed circuit television or giving orders requiring defense lawyers to lower themselves at the child's eye level and not raise their voices, as well as other methods to make the courtroom less intimidating for a child, you can order. Judges can also expedite trials so as not to continue victimizing the victim of the crime due to additional delays during an already difficult process. Judges can deny defense motions that are clearly aimed at offending or intimidating victims. A common technique is for defense counsel to cite victims' family members as potential witnesses, request that the court order that witnesses be excluded from the courtroom (kidnapping), and then never call the victim's family to testify, thus preventing their presence in the courtroom.
Meanwhile, the defendant's family is allowed to sit in the courtroom, showing support to their family member who is being tried, while the victim's family may appear to be uninterested in supporting the victim or the prosecution's case because they are kidnapped. Such motions, when made for such manipulative purposes, can and should be denied. Judges are empowered to sentence offenders convicted of their crimes. It is important for judges to include information about the total impact of the crime on the victim in their evaluation of appropriate sentences.
Often, this information is provided through the prosecutor-based victim assistance program, a probation office, or other official source, and is generally referred to as a victim impact statement (VIS). VIS information and pre-sentencing investigation (PSI) reports are often the only comprehensive assessment of the actual injuries and losses caused by the offender available to the judge; it is crucial that this information be transmitted in a timely manner to the sentencing court. Judges are also involved in various post-resolution decisions, such as reconsideration of judgments and appeals. When an offender is sentenced to probation, victims must be notified of the offender's status and location and, in particular, of any of the offender's actions that may lead to the revocation of community supervision.
An important condition of probation is that people on probation do not commit new crimes during their period of community supervision. If parolees violate any condition of their sentence, the probation agency may rescind or revoke probation, resulting in incarceration in jail or prison. Mental health professionals often participate in giving testimony at trial about the impact of crime on victims. In addition to treating victims, mental health professionals who are experts in evaluating the effect of trauma on victims are often used.
It is important to note that courts rely heavily on these allied professionals and experts to make decisions regarding the damages and injuries suffered by victims. These have important ramifications for investigation and referral by law enforcement, the handling of cases in prosecutors and judges' sentences. One of the most important rights of crime victims is the right to file Victim Impact Statements (VIS) that include crucial information about the short- and long-term psychological, financial, physical and emotional effects of a crime on victims. Impact statements give victims a voice that should be heard by the courts, as well as probation, probation and corrections officials.
SUPERVISION OF ADULT PROBATION AND PROBATION THROUGH INTERSTATE COVENANTS The Interstate Pact for the Supervision of Persons on Parole and Parole (ISC) provides the legal authority of Congress, which is augmented by the corresponding state statutes, to regulate the transfer of probation and supervision of adult probation. in the 50 state limits, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. ISC-related activities are administered by the Association of Probation and Probation Pact Administrators (PPCAA), which includes the Covenant Administrator appointed by each state and, in some cases, deputies assigned to perform ISC functions. In fact, the person is a resident or has a family that resides in the receiving state and can find employment there.
The offender will have an offer of employment or a visible means of support; or even if he is not a resident of the receiving state and has no family residing there, the receiving state consents to the person being sent on probation or probation (National Institute of Corrections 199. Courts are courts in which persons juries or judges determine criminal liability to those accused of violating criminal law. The purposes of the courts are to seek justice and discover the truth. The main actors in the courts are prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges. Beyond the three main components, the state and federal levels of the U.S.
criminal justice system are structured in a hierarchy of several departments and agencies. Basic services for victims and witnesses should be available at all stages of the criminal justice process, as described below. Therefore, we illustrate examples of policies and practices, and organize these initiatives around the four components of the criminal justice system. Consequently, a criminal defendant can become a victim of prejudice, corruption, ignorance, error and even indifference.
The current criminal legal system grew out of these racist roots and continues to disproportionately harm blacks and other people of color, as well as people living in poverty. Law enforcement officers operate within their communities and are on the front lines of public service. Criminal justice programs educate students about the broader Justice System in the United States and immerse themselves in the depths of criminal justice, as it applies to a variety of professional careers. The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) has identified fifty-eight possible reporting points throughout the criminal justice process.
To better examine the structure of American criminal justice, a more detailed view of each of the three main components is needed. Within the criminal justice system, there are many features relevant to the growing ageing of the population, including elder abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and the increase in older criminal defendants. The Department of Justice (DOJ) maintains the highest level of accountability in defending federal law enforcement; this is enforced through many agencies, including the FBI; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; U. Sheriffs work as law enforcement officers within a courtroom, where they maintain order, assist judges, and provide general security in court.
Research indicates that court-ordered substance abuse treatment is at least as effective as voluntary treatment, and that drug court programs result in significant cost savings and reductions in criminal recidivism. Rather, court and correctional professionals work more closely with offenders and other members of the Criminal Justice System. . .