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Criminal Justice System Essay

860 words - 4 pages

A crime is an illegal act which may result in prosecution and punishment by the state if the accused is convicted. Generally, in order to be convicted of a crime, the accused must be shown to have committed an unlawful act (actus reus) with a criminal state of mind (mens rea). (Crime, 2007). Mens rea
is what has to be proven, you have to prove whether or not the state of mind was consciously aware that he/she was committing a crime. Without the laws, you would have a very difficult time proving the guilt or innocence of the individual committing the crime. Crime and law work together because laws are the guidelines that describe to us what in fact is a crime and what is not.
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The investigation is used to gather evidence that will prove that a crime was committed as well as show who committed the crime. Once a suspect is confirmed, then the process allows for the suspect to be arrested, if its at the scene he is apprehended accordingly, if its after the crime was committed then an arrest warrant would be needed. The suspect is then taken into custody after being read his/her constitutional rights. After an arrest, the suspect is taken to be booked. Schmalleger (2009) stated, “During booking, which is an administrative procedure, pictures are taken, fingerprints are made, and personal information such as address, date of birth, weight, and height is gathered“ (pg. 18). The first appearance in front of a judicial officer is usually to read the charges filed against the suspect, read them their rights, and give them a chance for bail. This is also when the defendant is appointed a lawyer if they don’t already have one. After this is the preliminary hearing, this is where the courts decide whether or not there is enough evidence against the suspect to continue on with the judicial process. Depending on which state you live in, some states require the prosecutor to file an information with the court and other states require the that an indictment be returned by the grand jury. Proceeding this is the arraignment process, here is when the accused stands before a judge as he reads the charges against him and gives his plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Adjudication is when a decision is made without having to have a trial by jury,...

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