The criminal justice system plays a critical role in promoting law and order. Structurally, there are three components of criminal justice: the police, the courts and the corrections. The police are mandated to protect the public, enforce the law, and arrest law violators. The courts are responsible for ensuring fair trials and determining the innocent and the guilty of the suspects. The correction system rehabilitates and corrects the behaviours of the guilty to be returned and accepted into society (Diamond et al. 14). All these systems usually work together to deliver the right services and promote peace in the nation. This essay will show the components of the justice system and explain the steps of trial in criminal justice in a flow chart. The provided chart will elaborate on the role of each component concerning the case of falcony.
In rape felony justice, the victim is as important as the protection of the sex offender. These components work together to ensure that the right legal procedures are followed to determine and ensure that justice is found. For justice to prevail, evidence and investigation are carried out by the police to ascertain if the crime happened. If it occurred, then the courts ensure that trials are conducted in a manner that is not biased to prove the innocence of the guilty nature of the sex offender. If found guilty, the court sentences the rape felony following American law. The punishment is served by the correction facilities, whose main responsibility is to rehabilitate and ensure the sex offender’s behaviours are corrected and discouraged from repeating themselves in the future.
Flow chart showing the components of the justice system
The police are a significant component of the criminal justice system in case of a rape felony. Rape is the sexual penetration of the vagina, anal or oral cavity without the other person’s consent. The function of the police as a component of the criminal justice system includes; enforcing the law and investigating a crime which helps the courts with evidence and information required during trials (Horton 38). The police also protect the public and their property from damage from any danger. Police are important since they make trial possible by interviewing suspects and writing a complete report used during the trial to rule out whether the suspects are guilty or not. In case of a crime, a report is made to the police, who carry out their investigation. After their investigation, they arrest the suspect, compile a report consisting of evidence consisting of witness statements, and hands the report to the director of public prosecutions. The prosecution begins when the prosecutor finds enough evidence to prosecute a person.
After a rape incident has been reported to the police, the police begin to investigate by collecting evidence. This case entails recording a statement of the rape victim, and a forensic examination is carried out to collect the DNA evidence from the victim’s body and clothes. After the investigation is complete and there is enough evidence, the next process, arrest, follows. Investigation helps the prosecution have facts as evidence in the rape felony case.
The suspect is taken into custody by the police to be held until a court appearance. For one to be arrested, there must be a legal requirement for arrest due to evidence showing a link between a person and a particular crime, which in this case is rape (Horton 38). After the suspect has been arrested, the evidence is taken to the director of public prosecution. If the evidence is strong enough, the next step is prosecution. From here, the police hand over the case to the prosecutor and the courts to continue with the requirements of the law.
In this stage, a district attorney proves that the suspect is guilty of rape by providing witness statements and the result of the DNA from the victim’s body and clothes. Only cases weighed by the prosecutor are taken to court for hearing and trial. After the prosecutor proves, the suspect is guilty of the rape felony and is convinced the law should punish him, the next step, the indictment, begins.
In this stage, the prosecutor has weighed and believed that the suspect committed a rape crime. He takes the case to the grand jury, which formally charges the suspect with the crime of rape depending on the strength of the evidence the prosecutor provides. The suspect has no right to be present at the grand jury or the right of an attorney to represent him at the jury. If the grand jury finds the evidence not strong enough, the charges may be dropped, but if it finds it strong, the case moves to the next step, which is arraignment.
The defendant enters a plea in court just before a trial begins, either guilty or not guilty. This part is the first process in court where the defendant comes to court to be told of his charges, and he has a right to accept or deny the charges. The judge may ask the defendant to be taken into custody, and the defendant has a right to bond(Viscomi 352). The defendant can place a bail as an agreement between him and the court that he will be available in court whenever required. Bond may be refused when the court determines one’s risk of compromising the case if the defendant is released on bond. The next step is pre-trial detention if a bond is not given.
This section occurs when the defendant is in police custody as they await trial. In many cases, pre-detention occurs due to insufficient money to pay bail. Other reasons for trial include the defendant may commit another crime while out on bail, absconding from the court hearing, and appearing in court when required and when he is seen as a threat to public safety when put on bail.
Here the defendant pleads guilty to his crime for a lenient or lesser punishment. If the defendant pleads not guilty, then the trial begins to determine if he is guilty or not by use of evidence and witness statements provided in court. In this stage, the judge gives the sex offender a chance to redeem themself before the trial since the system will not be lenient when the trial begins. If he pleads not guilty, the trial steps follow, but when he pleads guilty, sentencing is ruled following the law.
In this step, facts and evidence are presented to the jury to determine if the defendant is guilty of rape. The prosecutor uses the evidence collected by the police and presents the witnesses in court to provide a statement that is connected to the rape charges of the defence to convince the jury that the defendant is guilty of rape. The trial has a process that entails jury selection, where the prosecutor and the defence attorney select a jury of twelve people to listen to the case proceedings. Opening statements give the prosecutor and defence attorney a chance to tell their account of events briefly. Witness examination is the third step, where the prosecutor examines the witness to prove the defendant guilty of rape. After the prosecutor is done, the defence witness also cross-examines the witness and asks questions to show the jury that the honesty and accuracy of the witness should be doubted.
After all, the witness is examined and cross-examined, the prosecutor rests his case, and no more witnesses are called(Viscomi 357). The defendant can present his witness when the prosecutor rests his case. The defendant can decide not to bring any witness, and the court should not use that to prove him guilty of rape. Objections can be used by the prosecutor or the defence attorney when the witness starts saying irrelevant issues during the trial. The closing argument is a step that follows when the defence rests. There are the remarks of the prosecutor and the defence attorney to ask the jury to use the evidence provided to term the defendant guilty or not guilty. The judge instructs the jury on what the law requires to come up with a verdict. The final step of the trial is jury deliberations and announcing the verdict, which requires the jury to decide whether the defendant is the defendant. If the jury decides the defendant is not guilty, they are free to go home, but when they are found guilty, the next step is sentencing.
When the defendant is found guilty of rape felony, the judge rules his sentence on the defendant. The jury votes unanimously to prove whether or not the defendant is found guilty. If the jury decides the defendant is guilty, the judge rules the sentence regarding the jury votes. In the US, rape can result in life imprisonment without parole, depending on the severity of the violence used during rape and the victim’s age (Viscomi 354). Once the judge rules the case, the defendant is taken to corrections facilities to serve a sentence given by the court, or he can appeal the case. When the defendant is found not guilty, he/she is free to go home. When the defence attorney or the defendant is unhappy about the court decision, they have a right to file an appeal in the appellate court.
The defendant appeals if he is not happy with the ruling, if there was a legal error in the case, or if the defendant feels like the counsel did not help him well during the case. The appellate courts file the appeal, ruled by the appellate judges, who can reverse the appeal to the court for a retrial. After a reversal is decided, the first trial is termed moot, which means it does not affect the second trial and is seen as if it never happened. After a reversal, the prosecutor may decide to refile or drop charges. The defendant is taken to correctional facilities for punishment if an appeal is denied.
Local, state, and federal authorities are responsible for punishing and rehabilitating defendants found guilty. After the defendant is found guilty, he is transported from the court buildings to the correction facilities for his punishment. Punishment is done in correctional facilities; which main reason is to correct behaviour to make inmates ready to go back and be accepted by society(Diamond et al. 14). In the US, rape can result in life imprisonment without parole, depending on the severity of the violence used during rape and the age of the victim(Bowers and Waltman 99).
The US criminal justice system components work together to protect and follow the law. Each component has its main function in the event of a crime. Each of the components depends on the other for it to function. For instance, if rape occurs, these components must collaborate using their functions for the rape victim to get justice and the sex offender to be punished according to the law. The three components correspond in the following manner until justice is served.
The correction facilities play a critical role in correcting the behaviour of the affected individuals. Even though rape felony is a serious crime in the USA that is punished by law depending on the degree of rape, the correction facility will work to protect the offender from any possible harm. They will determine the age of the rape victim before taking them to the right correction centre.
Further, this team will collect all the required evidence given by the police and the trauma caused by rape, helping the corrections. This trend ensures that rape felony victim is made safe and provided with the right remedy. The components of the justice system are important in fighting rape felonies, and they should be protected and empowered from socio-economic or political influence. They should be fair and free from corruption since they give confidence to rape victims to look for justice due to their effective nature (Bowers and Waltman 99)
In conclusion, the three components of the justice system are important since they make communities safe from any harm resulting from crime, exploitation by the rich, and the government. The main function of these components is to work together to protect the law. By protecting the law, it protects the citizens from any harm. Integrity in these systems makes people believe in them and ensures that people come for help whenever they have trouble that requires legal help.
Bowers, David A., and Jerold L. Waltman. “Research Note: Do More Conservative States Impose Harsher Felony Sentences? An Exploratory Analysis of 32 States.” The American Court System. Routledge, 2020. 97-106.https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315051482
Diamond, Brie, Kendra Bowen, and Ronald Burns. “Factors affecting sexual assault case processing: charging through sentencing in a large southern county.” Journal of interpersonal violence 37.13-14 (2022): NP11605-NP11627.https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260521993923
Horton, Luke HS. “Divine Suppressors: Bigamy in the Eighteenth-century Criminal Justice System.” Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History 10.2 (2020): 31–46. DOI: 10.20429/aujh.2020.100203
Viscomi, Alta. “SYSTEM ACCOUNTABILITY AND SEXUAL ASSAULT: THE PAST AND FUTURE OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.” Richmond Public Interest Law Review 22.2 (2019): 341–364. https://scholarship.richmond.edu/pilr/vol22/iss2/12