Introduction to Criminal Justice System essay
Introduction to Criminal Justice System essay
Every democracy the world over prides in respect for the rule of law. The phrase “Rule of Law” encompasses three vital elements that are essential for the proper functioning of a democratic government. The phrase was popularized by a distinguished English jurist, A.V. Dicey who argued for a government that had respect for the rule of law. However, the phrase owes it origins to Greek where Aristotle said that the law should govern and that the rule of law is better than the rule of man. It is in recognition of the tendency of man to usurp and abuse power that it is essential for a government to act in accordance with the rule of law in an efficient democracy. The Rule of Law has three significant elements namely; that every person is equal before the law irrespective of their rank in society, that all people are subject to the ordinary courts of the land and that the laws or the constitution are a result of the will of the people enforced through the courts. On the first point, it is the case that every person is considered equal before the law. This means that no one is accorded preferential treatment notwithstanding their rank in society. Secondly, the rule of law implies that each person is subject to the law and that there is no one who is above the law. Every person is amenable to the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts. A significant majority of legal theorists argue that the rule of law has several other elements or characteristics. Lon Fuller stated that in a democratic society governed by the rule of law, laws must be declared publicly and not have a retrospective effect or application. Further, he argues that laws need be clear, stable yet flexible, just and enforceable. The rule of law constrains the behavior of government and its officials. It is the underlying framework which enables the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals.
Identify the three policing styles and describe how they differ.
The police or the law enforcement agency usually makes use of different policing styles in the discharge of their functions. These operational policing styles characterize the approach that is adopted by police during the discharge of their mandate. James Q. Wilson was able to find out three different operation policing styles while conducting a study of eight police departments. One of the policing styles adopted by the police is a legalistic style which focuses on the transgressions of the law and its enforcement. This approach adopts the strict construction of the law and places premium on the use of threats and arrests in solving conflicts or disputes in the society. This strict approach is employed in significant metropolitan areas and other urban areas.
The other operating style identified by Wilson is the watchman style which is the converse of the legalistic style. In this policing style, police make use of informal means and methods in solving disputes and gives preeminence to the keeping of peace. Such a policing style is significantly employed in the lower economic zones such as the poor rural neighborhoods. The third policing style as propounded by Wilson is the service style which is targeted at helping the community rather than enforcing the law. In this style, there is also a preference for referrals and diversion to community treatment agencies instead of the traditional arrest and arraignment in court. This policing style is most general in wealthy neighborhoods.
What four broad categories of criminal defenses does our legal system recognize? Under what circumstances might each be employed?
The American Justice system allows for four broad categories of criminal defenses for defendants. These defenses include the defense of alibi, justifications, excuses and procedural defenses. A defense constitutes an explanation, argument, evidence or an excuse that is offered by the defendant to demonstrate why he is not liable for the charge. The defense of alibi is the claim that the defendant charged with the offence was not at the scene of crime as alleged. This defense may be employed where the defendant is able to prove that they were not at the scene of crime when the prosecution rebuts such a defense. The proof of alibi may be made through eye witness identification or hotel receipts and other travel documentations.
The defense of justification does not dispute the commission of crime but seeks to justify the action in the particular circumstances. For instance, a firefighter may plead justification for setting fire on a building so as to save a situation. Some of the instances in which the defense of justification may be employed include those of self-defense, defense of others, and defense of property, necessity, consent and resistance to unlawful arrest. The third category of defense is excuses where the defendant puts forward a reason for the act so as to claim that he does not deserve punishment. Circumstances under which excuses are recognized by the law include where an accused acted under duress, as a minor, under provocation or while intoxicated. The fourth category of criminal defenses allowed by the American legal system is the procedural defense. A defendant who puts forward the procedural defense claims that he or she was discriminated against in the justice process or that a vital aspect of the criminal procedure was not followed. Some of the circumstances where this defense is employed include where there is double jeopardy, denial of speedy trial, entrapment, police fraud or in instances of misconduct on the part of the prosecutor.
What is community policing? How does it differ from traditional policing?
Community policing embodies collective work by both citizens and the police in identifying the security problems affecting the society and proposing solutions to those security concerns. This collective action is also reflected in the implementation of actions and the evaluation of results in the community. Community policing differs from the traditional policing in a number of ways. One of the differences is the fact that in community policing, the police usually share power with the residents and most decisions are made at the neighborhood level. In the traditional policing, most or all of the decisions are made at the police headquarters. Similarly, the credit earned by successful operation is shared between residents and the police. This may cause resentment or resistance while this is not the case in the traditional policing system. Further, unlike traditional policing, community policing needs the successful implementation of three operational strategies such as community partnership, change management and problem solving.
In general, explain the authoritative and jurisdictional differences between the three major levels of public law enforcement in the United States today.
The law enforcement agency is one of the significant components of the United States criminal justice system. The law enforcement agency, consisting of the police, is charged with the maintenance of law and order as well as the arrest and investigation of offenders. The policing function is the United States is segregated into three operational levels namely; the local, state and the federal level.
Local police departments are the most common of the police agencies and are usually run by municipalities, county sheriff’s department as well as to other special departments such as the port and campus police. The Sheriff departments normally work at the county level serving the police force in areas where the police are absent. Most of their role is restricted to serving court orders, maintaining order in the courtroom during legal proceedings as well as operating county jails. State and local laws are usually enforced by the local police at the local level. The main functions of local police officers range from controlling traffic, patrolling streets and investigation of offences. In some of the departments, the same local police are engaged in animal control, provision of emergency medical care and crowd control at entertainment spots.
The State police agencies are 49 in number. They are charged with the wide authority of enforcing traffic laws, conducting criminal investigations, investigating traffic accidents and providing assistance to any other police agency which requests for such assistance. In most cases, state police exercise functions outside the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s county such as those of enforcing traffic laws on state highways. The state police also offer protection to state capital buildings, offer protection to the Governor of the state, train other officers and provide access to crime laboratories to the local police whenever such need arises.
On the other hand, the federal law enforcement officers are significantly concerned with enforcement of national laws. Their work encompasses the protection of the President and other members of national institutions, investigation of counterfeits, policing of airports and control of illegal immigration into the country. They are also engaged in the investigation of crimes that are not unique to only one state such as drug trafficking or internet fraud.
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