The word felony means a very serious crime that has been brought up against a person. It is a crime that is considered to have high levels of seriousness, for example Murder. A person who commits a felony is known as a felon. This paper reviews all the steps that are taken on a felon from the arrest to their conviction in state courts in the United States.
There are different ways that a felon can be arrested. This starts with an arrest by the citizens or the police department. A citizen arrest is one which an individual who is not a police officer arrests them after suspecting or having evidence that the person arrested has committed a crime. It however has its rules that the arresting individual should follow so that they will not be charged in the courts of law for a breach in the rules. Citizens can also direct the police to arrest a felon. This is also considered to be a citizen arrest as the citizens are the ones that have indicate that the person is a felon and therefore see the need for their arrest. In this method, the police and the individuals do not require a warrant of arrest so that they can arrest the individual. They however should ensure that they do not inflict any physical harm to the person and ensure that they arraign them to police stations (Whittle & Parker, 2014).
The second method of arrest is by the use of a warrant of arrests that have been issued on the individuals. Only the police can make this kind of arrest and detain the person until it's time for their case to be heard in the court. This kind of arrest is made on people who are suspected of committing a felony. This is after they have either been witnessed by the citizens or the police committing the crime or there is any evidence that leads to them on the felony crime (Martinez, 2013).
If the police are making an arrest, then they should have a warrant of arrest. If this is not provided then the police cannot make an arrest, and the person can resist the arrest. Felons can be only arrested without a warrant of arrest by the police if they are found in the act. They are then arrested for and given the permission to make a call to their lawyer or notify a person on their arrest. The right to remain silent is also acknowledged until after a lawyer representing them arrives at the station. The police are expected to follow all these rules and ensure that they do not break even a single. This type of system should be changed as it ineffective at some points. The police should be given the ability to arrest the suspects if they have the needed evidence. If they are not arrested at this time then it gives them more time to hide from the police and tamper with any evidence.
The pre-trial takes place before the main trial on the person starts. This can be one or many hearings on the case of the felon who was arraigned in the courts on the charges. After an individual has been arraigned, the attorney on the prosecuting side is given the chance first to prove that the individual is guilty of what they are being charged with. This is the first stage that determines whether the pre-trial and the main trial will take place. In the next stage, the defense lawyers and the prosecuting attorneys then discuss any possible resolutions that might be there in the case.
The accused individual’s criminal history is looked at as they have to be determined whether they are fit to be given a plea bargain. The individuals that are arrested on felony charges are always given the chance to make a plea bargain and prove that they can come to the main trial without having to be forced. They can also be required to pay some money so that they can stay out of remand for a certain period until after they have proven that they are worth being given the bargain plea. The prosecution attorney and the defense lawyer also have to show how strong the case is and if the person can be accredited the bargain plea.
The defendant is also advised in the constitutional rights that they have. They are also appointed a counsel if they are found not to have any. This is in preparation for the main trial that the defendant will be presented in next. The charges are also read to the defendant, and a copy of the complaints is presented to them. They are then invited to place pleas for the charges that they have been convicted with. The bail is determined which is can be very different from the presumptive bail. The defendant might also be realized after their recognizance. The next date of the court that the defendant is supposed to appear in is also set. The next date might be on the main trial of the defendant, or it might also be another preliminary hearing no terms on the case have been reached (Martinez, 2013).
The bail is then determined, and the defendant allowed to leave if they come back to the courts for the hearing. The defendant can be released on the bail if they promise that they will adhere to the terms given by the court. If their criminal records determine otherwise, they then are not given the bail and are returned into custody from where they will attend the trial on the set date. The main trial will depend on the pre-trial to determine whether the evidence that has been given is enough to prove that the persons should be detained or whether the evidence is not enough to detain them in the prisons. The pre-trial is, therefore, paramount and determines a lot that has to do with the case.
Every individual that has been charged with felony should be given a pretrial. The pretrial is paramount as it can determine whether a person is guilty or if they are innocent of the crime that they are being accused of. The constitution also requires that a person be appointed a judge by the state if they cannot afford to hire a lawyer in which they can hire their private lawyer. They are also required to be given a bail if they qualify for one. If the defendants ask for the bail and are found that they qualify they cannot be denied the bail, and it's supposed to be issued equally to all the individuals. The court has to give the reasons for setting a bail of that amount referencing the case that is ongoing and the seriousness of the case.
The system work effectively and therefore no change or improvements should be done. The pretrial makes it easier to give a concrete judgment in the main trial. This is by less time in court and making it possible to handle many cases at a go. Further search for the evidence can be done so that the case becomes clearer and more evidence is produced for the case by both the defense and the prosecution. This makes handling the case easier for the judges to decide and give a fair sentence.
This is the final step of the jury trial. This is moved into a far much superior court than the ones in the pretrial. This is the step where the sentence of the individual is determined. The defendants should be brought in the court on a specified time. Depending on the weight that the case has it can be heard by several judges or one judge. The evidence is then provided in front of the jury. Both the sides are given the chance to present their exhibits which might be physical evidence video statements, written statements, videos and photographs (Siegel, 2010)
The state then conducts a direct examination of the defense and is also allowed to cross-examine the witness which is done in order to bring out any information that has not been given when the direct examination was ongoing. The state can also discredit the credibility of the testimony that the witness has given. The state first presents the evidence that it has and after that the defense is allowed to present their evidence if they choose to do so. The defendant is given the constitutional right so that they can testify if they want to. The process is repeated again until the prosecution, and the defense has introduced evidence that is admissible (Neubauer & Fradella, 2013).
After the hearing of the evidence that has been given by both sides, the jurors then retire so that they can deliberate on the verdict that they will give according to the evidence that has been given by both sides. The verdict that the jury will give will be unanimous even if the defendant has been found to be guilty or innocent. If the jury are unable to find a concrete decision on whether the defendant I guilty or not, then the case can be restarted on the same charges. If the verdict has been reached then, it should be given in an open court where the defendant is also told why they have been found to be guilty.
The defendant in this stage has the constitutional rights to testify and give evidence on the case to prove their innocence. The defendant also has the constitutional right to be told why he has been found guilty by the jury. The defendant is also accorded the right to be represented by a lawyer whether they have hired them or they have been appointed by the state. Lastly, the defendant has the right to be given a fair trial.
The accused can appeal in a state court of appeals if not satisfied with the judgment. This is limited to people who have not pleaded guilty while those who have pleaded guilty forfeit their right to make an appeal. The process requires a lawyer who has experience in the appellate courts. This differs from the criminal courts in the practices and the rules that are used. The lawyers are not supposed to appeal for a lost case, but the defendant is the only person who can appeal for the lost case (Buice & Garcia, 2012).
For an appeal to however take effect, it must receive an approval from an appellate judge who will warrant the appeal. The states court of appeals can overturn the verdict that has been given or even declare a mistrial. This is not the final step in appealing and if the defendant feels that the verdict that is being given is not presenting their facts yet. They can turn to the state and national supreme courts of appeal. Most cases do not however progress from the state appeal courts due to the expenses that are incurred in the issuing of appeals in the cases (Duke & Atten, 2013)
The accused persons have the right to make an appeal without being barred from it by anybody or any organ. This is only if they have not themselves to be guilty. They could be barred from appealing if they confessed that they were guilty of the felony charges. A defendant can either appeal in the state courts or the national courts depending on how they want to appeal. The criminal courts that led the prosecution should be able to provide any information that is needed by the courts of appeal.
The system needs to be changed in different positions. This is especially on the people who qualify to make the appeals. Some felons do not have enough evidence to revoke what the criminal court had found and can use this just to buy time from their sentences or use their influence to revoke the verdict that was given. People who should be given the ability to revoke the judgment are those that have adequate evidence that can prove the criminal court to have given a biased judgment.
In conclusion, the system that is followed by the state courts against felons is recommendable. It has the ability to bring the people that have been convicted for the crimes into justice in such low levels. The states should however limit the kind of people that should file appeals on the verdict that has been given by the state court.
Buice, M., & Garcia, T. (2012). CRIMES AND OFFENSES: Appeal or Certiorari by State in Criminal Cases. Ga. St. UL Rev., 29, 290-1129.
Duke, J., & Aten, M. (2013). APPEAL AND ERROR: Appeal or Certiorari by State in Criminal Cases. Ga. St. UL Rev., 30, 17-257.
Martinez, N. L. (2011). Debt to Society-The Washington State Legislature's Efforts to Restore Voting Rights to Persons with Felony Convictions. Stan. L. & Pol'y Rev., 22, 329.
Neubauer, D., & Fradella, H. (2013). America's courts and the criminal justice system. Cengage Learning.
Siegel, L. J. (2010). Introduction to criminal justice. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Whittle, T. N., & Parker, K. F. (2014). Public Ideology, Minority Threat, and Felony Collateral Sanctions A State-Level Analysis. Criminal Justice Review, 0734016814543352.