Application of the Criminal Justice System
The criminal justice system operates on a very wide-range perspective. Aside from the scope, the same system also works on a case-to-case standards that requires the arresting officer, the investigator or any criminal justice agents’ capacity to make best and appropriate judgment. In a statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it suggests that in 2009, the crime rate in the United States is has been decreasing significantly from when the agency has stated recording crime rate in 1980’s. In fact, from 13,403 in 1980 down to 10,639 in 2009, overall crime rate had been reduced (U.S. Census Bureau). The significant drop in the crime rate has been attributed to the efficient criminal justice system implemented by the government in aid of the responsible institutions in charge of its implementation. In lieu with this, the paper has been developed which aims to process a particular case beginning from the commission of the offense to the arrest to trial and conviction.
Arresting offer Sergeant William Butler and Officer Samantha Brown was performing their regular rounds and patrol when they called the attention of the driver of a vehicle in the 2000 block of East Street because of the driver’s failure to provide the appropriated right of way to a pedestrian. This incident happened October 21, 2012. The officers identified the driver as Jeffery Cox. The DMV registration information confirmed that Mr. Cox is the owner of the vehicle in question. As part of the protocol, the officers also need to identify the passenger of the vehicle. The officers positively ID the passenger as Amanda Watson. However, upon background verification the officers found out that Ms. Watson has an outstanding warrant for misdemeanor shoplifting. This was the reason why the police officers requested for Ms. Watson to step out of the vehicle to be handcuffed. However, it was then that Sgt. Butler was able to discern a plastic bag of what was suspected to be crack cocaine. It was found on the seat from where Ms. Watson was sitting. In compliance to the arrest by virtue of the outstanding warrant, Ms. Watson was search. This was when the arresting officers had been able to found $650 in small denomination bills on Ms. Watson. Nevertheless, no paraphernalia were found to prove that the offender was using cocaine.
In the plastic bag that was recovered containing the suspected cocaine there were also seven separate plastic bags containing the substance, which upon verification was tested positive for crack cocaine. Given the distance and proximity of the drug to where Ms. Watson was seated, she was also charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute, classified as Class B felony. Jeffery Cox, who was the owner and driver of the vehicle was also arrested and charged with Class B felony similar to Ms. Watson. During search following the arrest, Mr. Cox was found to be in possession of $1,450 in cash in the same small denomination as Ms. Watson. There were also empty plastic bags with a powder residue also tested positive for cocaine found under Mr. Cox’s possession.
Contrary to a common misconception, a crime can begin even without the actual commission of the offense. In fact, the alleged or probable commission of a crime can already qualify to a reasonable arrest. Thus, the belief that a crime usually begins at the act or the commission of a wrongful deed is a misconception. In order to understand the process as well as the technicalities involving the criminal justice system, it is important first to provide a definition of what qualifies to a crime.
According to the book entitled Criminal Justice: The Essentials (3rd Edition), a crime begins with a deviancy or a behavior that is qualified as inappropriate, wrong or bad (Lab, Williams and Holcomb 3). Crimes, therefore, act behaviors that have a negative origin and is classified by society as a willful and voluntary conduct of deviancy. There are two types of crimes described in the book; these include mala in se and mala prohibited (p. 3). The case involving Mr. Cox and Ms. Watson is classified as mala phohibita because it qualifies as a felony. While drug trafficking and drug pushing is inherently evil, the accused were not caught in the act of selling or pushing the drugs caught in their custody during the arrest that was not related to the crime of drug trafficking and drug pushing.
In order to be more specific as to the nature of the crime committed, the offense to which the accused were to be charged was in reference to Mr. Cox’s failure to provide the appropriated right of way to a pedestrian. However, as part of the protocol, the passengers of the arrested vehicle shall be run for a random background for any outstanding crime committed in the past. It was during this incident that it was found that Ms. Watson has an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for shoplifting. The misdemeanor warrant qualifies to a mala phohibita crime. There was. However, a subsequent crime found during the arrest which rightfully included possible crime related to drug trafficking and drug pushing. This will not be the reason for the arrest of the offenders because there were no substantial proof that they were using the item confiscated because of the absence of paraphilias. In addition, the arresting officers have no substantial proof that the offenders had been pushing the drug except the presence of probable cause. Nevertheless for a more solid arrest, the arrest can be made on the basis of the crime committed that was witnessed by the arresting officer. Although Ms. Watson was not caught during the actual shoplifting, the presence of the warrant is a standing violation. However, both offenders can also be charged with Class B Felony for possession of cocaine.
For the felony charges relating to reckless driving by virtue of his failure to offer the appropriated right of way to a pedestrian, the offenders, Mr. Cox will be facing a maximum sentence of more than one year in prison. This was the penalty that is supposed to be imposed upon Mr. Cox, who violated the law. On the other hand, for Ms. Watson’s outstanding misdemeanor warrant for shoplifting, she can be penalized with a sentence of less than a year in prison and pay the damages collected for her crime of shoplifting. However, there is also the felony charge relating to possession of cocaine that is classified as Class B Felony (Attorney.com).
The penalty for Class B Felony varies depending on where the crime takes place. It can be for a short as ten years but can go as long as 60 years with an additional fine of a maximum of $20,000 (Attorney.com). In the case of Mr. Cox and Ms. Watson, since the crime is considered a federal case, penalty can go as high as 25 years imprisonment. In particular for this case, Mr. Cox and Ms. Watson is also given a sentence of the maximum term should they be tested positive for cocaine use. The conviction can also depend on the quantity of the confiscated substance under their possession. It can be further escalated to “Class A Felony” if a witness can testify that the accused has sold them or they have actually witnessed the accused actually selling the drug to an individual and there is the presence of sufficient evidence to prove this claim.
In conclusion, the strongest link to the effective and efficient execution of judgment in the criminal justice system is the aggressive compliance of the authorities to the appropriate protocol. Should the arresting officers failed to run the background check on the accused or should the arresting officer did not see the need to further inspect the vehicle, they would be unable to find out that Ms. Watson has an outstanding misdemeanor charges. In addition, they will also be unable to find the presence of the cocaine under the possession of the offenders. The weakest link to this case, however, if the failure to convict the accused of Class A Felony unless credible witness can be found to indicted the accused of drug trafficking that is a grave felony.
Attorney.com. "Legal Articles: Legal Defense ." 16 September 2014. Attorney.com. Web. 15 December 2014.
Lab, Steven, et al. Criminal Justice: The Essentials. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.
U.S. Census Bureau. "Crimes and Crime Rates by type of Offense." 30 August 2011. U.S. Census Bureau Website. <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0306.pdf>.