CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS IN THE USA



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CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS IN THE USA



Basically, the steps in .the criminal court processes are as fol­lows: arrest and booking, arraignment, trial and appeals (if any).

A person who comes into contact with the criminal courts must initially be arrested. The arrest may take place with or without us­ing a warrant (e.g. when an offense takes place in the presence of the officer, or when there is probable or reasonable cause to believe that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed. A felony is a serious offense punishable by death or imprisonment. A misdemeanor is a less serious offense punishable by a fine or up to one year in jail, or both). Even after an arrest the suspect may be released without be­ing prosecuted for a variety of reasons: mistaken identity, lack of proper evidence, etc.

After the arrest is mader, the suspect is booked. The booking card of the law enforcement agency contains information such as the date and time of arrest, the charge or crime for which the person was arrested, the name of the arrested person, the name of the ar­resting officer. Here the accused is photographed, fingerprinted, and temporarily released on bail, if possible. The record or booking card is permanently kept in the files of the police department. On impor­tant cases; the prosecutor may be present at the booking, but usually he will enter the case during the arraignment or initial appearance of the suspect before a magistrate or other judicial officer. Before turning to the prosecution of the suspect, it must be remembered that the investigative work of the police may continue even though the accused is involved with the prosecution or court phases of the criminal justice system.

At arraignment, summary trials can be held for petty offenses without further processing.  During the initial appearance before a magistrate, judge or justice of the peace, the accused is to answer the charges against him. During the arraignment procedure, the charge may be dismissed by the court for a legal reason or the pros­ecutor may request to have the charges dropped. The initial ap­pearance may also serve as the trial for minor offenses that have pay­ment of a fine or a relatively short time in jail as punishment; Once the judge finds a verdict of guilt, the accused is sentenced to a jail or payment of a fine. The defendant may also be placed on probation for a specified length of time. If sentenced to jail, he may be granted parole.                          

The purpose of preliminary hearing in the lower court is to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that a felony was committed and whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the accused committed the crime. It is here that a preliminary test­ing of the evidence takes place. As a result the accused may be re­leased because of having been arrested not for probable cause, or he may be placed on bail or moved back to jail until his case is tried by the higher court.

If there is a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed by the accused, the prosecutor is given statutorily defined number of days to file formal charges against the defendant. The charge is filed on the basis of information from citizen complaints and police inves­tigations. 

Then another arraignment is held. If the defendant pleads guilty a date for him to be sentenced is set by the judge. If the defendant pleads not guilty, he may request to have a jury trial or be tried by the court without a jury. At the trial if the defendant is convicted, a date for sentencing is set.

Before imposing the actual sentence ah investigation by the probation officer takes place to assist the judge in deciding on a pen­ alty. The defendant may be fined, sentenced to jail, or placed on probation. During this period the defendant can appeal his conviction. As a rule, the appeal stays the execution of the sentence. If the ap­peal is unsuccessful or the defendant decides not to appeal, the pen­alty is imposed.

 The defendant is then involved in the corrections of the crimi­nal justice system. It is here that reabilitation of offenders is sup­ posed to occur. This is the purpose of correctional establishments.

To reduce the risk of convicting an innocent person, there are checks and reviews at all stages of the criminal justice system.

(Law Enforcement in a Democratic Society, E.Beckman)

 

Tasks to the text:

I. Find English equivalents in the text:

уголовный процесс; обвинение; судебное разбирательство; обжалование; произвести арест; ордер; слвершить тяжкое преступление; тюремное заключение; подозреваемый; правоохранительные органы; обвиняемый; снимать отпечатки пальцев; картотека; упрощенное судопроизводство; мелкие правонарушения; суд низшей инстанции; слушать дело; подвергать уголовному преследованию; признать себя виновным; суд присяжных; вынести приговор; определить наказание; осудить условно; передать на поруки; перевоспитать; испраительные учреждения.

II. Learn these new words.



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