Term Paper: Criminal Procedure

Pages: 4 (1602 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper

Criminal Procedure:

The criminal justice system is a process that involves various steps that start with a criminal investigation and end with the release of a convicted criminal from correctional institution. Since it involves a variety of steps, the center of the criminal justice process and criminal procedure is rules and decision making. Rules in criminal procedure involves the use of legal authority such as the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, state constitutions and rules of criminal procedure, and rules and regulations of the department and agency. On the contrary, the decision making aspect is beyond the learning of rules and the implementation of the rules to particular cases. This is primarily because of decisions are based on discretion, which is the individual application of judgment in making choices regarding the alternative courses of action. Generally, a criminal defendant may basically go through various criminal procedure steps in the American Criminal Justice System.

Mr. Crook's Case Study:

Robert Cook's case study presents a clear example of some of the processes or steps that a criminal defendant may undergo in the U.S. Criminal Justice System. Upon arrival in the small criminal defense firm, Crook explains his worries regarding being arrested for an armed robbery of a gas station that happened the previous night. Mr. Crook's worries are fueled by the fact that he was involved in the robbery, especially with the fact that the gas station attendant had a good look at his face since he didn't have a mask. Moreover, he has no experience with the criminal justice system because he has never been arrested before. Based on the American Criminal Justice System, Mr. Crook may be subject to the following criminal procedures & #8230;

Arrest:

Cantrell (2011) states that arrest is the first step in the criminal process as police arrest a suspect based on probable cause that they have been involved or committed a crime. While this is the first process in many criminal cases, arrest is preceded by investigation in some cases. Nonetheless, a typical arrest consists of a defendant being charged by the police and taken into custody. Notably, the police do not file the charges since they provide their reports and evidence to the prosecuting attorney for decision on whether to file the charges or not and the specific charges.

Mr. Crook's case is serious because of the fact that brandishing a firearm in a robbery is regarded as an armed robbery even if it's a BB gun. Similar to many cases, this scenario will involve arrest of the suspected individual given that the police have started looking for him. As a lawyer, my advice to Crook on pre-arrest is that he is to keep quiet and not say anything to anyone. In addition, I would advise the criminal defendant to refuse speaking with law enforcement officials without any attorney if he encounters the police or is arrested. With regards to post-arrest, I would inform Crook that he needs to cooperate with his attorney and critically evaluate the recommendations of his appointed counsel. Consulting and co-operating with the appointed counsel will be helpful to Crook in order to avoid giving the investigator a reason to believe that he is the suspect of the charges he was arrested for.

Preparation of Defense:

One of the most important aspects of arrest procedures involves consulting a lawyer before and during investigations and having an attorney to represent the criminal defendant ("Arrest Procedures," n.d.). As an attorney representing Mr. Crook, I will take every step possible to ensure that he will not be convicted of the offense he is charged with should he be arrested for a felony like armed robbery. These measures would even involve petitioning the judge for lesser charges if Crook's sentence seems to be too extreme for the provided evidence.

As part of preparing the defense, I will interview the witnesses and ask them questions on the fond memories they have of being the defendant's friend. The questions would include what they believe as Crook's strongest character qualities, the duration they've known him, and the kind of business and activities they have experienced with him. I will also ask the witnesses to for any evidence to prove the defendant's innocence like documentary evidence and their willingness to testify on his behalf in the court of law during trial. In order to ensure the presence of these witnesses in court, I will ask the judge regarding the sending out of summons.

Pre-Trial Process and Motion:

As one of the steps in criminal procedure, pre-trial hearings and motions provides the criminal defendant with an opportunity to challenge the anticipated evidence to be presented against him/her after arraignment and before trial. During this stage, the defendant is permitted to make specific request of the Court for accommodations that are specific to his/her unique situation. The requests and challenges are made through motions that usually necessitate a hearing before the judge and presentation of witnesses' testimony before a ruling is made. During the pre-trial proceedings, I will file a motion requesting access to every information and materials that are favorable to the criminal defendant and pertinent to the guilt or punishment of the individual ("Connick v. Thompson," n.d.).

In Mr. Crook's case, I would file a pre-trial right of discovery motion on behalf of the defendant to fully examine the prosecutor's evidence for preparation of defense. This will be followed by a motion to suppress evidence to identify any inadmissible and objectionable evidence and to request the judge to discard such evidences. In case of any inadmissible or objectionable evidence, we will hold a hearing to suppress illegal evidence. Following the meeting and the previous motions, I will then file for a motion to dismiss the charges associated with the illegal evidence. The other likely motion that I could file is that of severance of offenses if Crook is charged with more than a single crime like armed robbery and assault. Such a motion would seek to have the charges tried separately depending on the client's wishes. The final step in the pretrial process will involve attending a pretrial conference in which the adversary and judge are present to decide whether the case needs to go to trial.

Trial Options and Possible Sentence:

If the case proceeds to trial, Mr. Crook will be provided with various options on how to plead. First, the prosecutor may offer a plea negotiation that the defendant is free to accept or decline. If he opts to enter into the negotiation plea, he may retract if it seems that the prosecutor and/or judge don't agree with the plea. On the contrary, Crook has various pleas if he declines any plea bargain provided by the prosecutor. Some of these pleas include No Contest plea in which the defendant would not state whether or not he committed the crime and pleading innocence with which the case will proceed as planned. If Crook pleads innocent, he may choose to take the stand and testify or I will be needed to prove your innocence. However, if he pleads guilty, the sentencing will follow depending on the state's criminal laws since it's a state offense. Based on the criminal laws of Florida, Mr. Crook is likely to be sentenced for a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 20 years because of the legislation on 10-20 LIFE. According to the Florida 10-20-LIFE law, a convicted felon in a crime like armed robbery who used a gun to carry out an offense would face at least 10 and at most 20 years in the state prison.

Key Legal Terms:

There are various terms with different meaning that are used as the basis of understanding the legal principles in the case. Felony is an offense that is punishable by… [END OF PREVIEW]

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