The Criminal Justice System In India-A Short Story
Author: Priyanka, LLB- 2nd Year Student
What Is It?
The criminal justice system is the processes established by governments to control crime and impose penalties on those who violate laws. Different jurisdictions have different laws, agencies, and ways of managing criminal justice processes. The main systems are:
State: State criminal justice systems handle crimes committed within their state boundaries.
Federal: The federal criminal justice system handles crimes committed on federal property or in more than one state.
- Law Enforcement: Law enforcement officers investigate crimes and gather and protect evidence. They may arrest offenders.
- Prosecution: Prosecutors are lawyers who represent the state or federal government throughout the court process. Prosecutors review the evidence to file charges or drop the case. The present evidence in court, question witnesses, and decide whether to negotiate plea bargains with defendants.
- Defense Attorneys: They defend the accused against the government’s case. They are either hired or assigned by the court & represent defendant.
- Courts: Courts are run by judges, whose make sure that law is followed and oversee what happens in court. They decide whether to release offenders before the trial.
- Corrections: Correction officers supervise convicted offenders when they are in jail or on parole. In some communities, corrections officers prepare pre-sentencing reports with background information about the offender to help judges decide sentences. They also oversee the release processes for inmates and sometimes notify victims of changes in the offender’s status.
How the Criminal Justice Process Works
The process may vary according to the jurisdiction, the seriousness of the crime-whether the accused is a juvenile or an adult, and other factors.
Entry into the System
- Report: Law enforcement officers receive the crime report from victims, witnesses, or other parties.
- Investigation: Officers try to identify a suspect and find enough evidence to arrest.
- Arrest or Citation: If they find a suspect and enough evidence, officers may arrest the suspect. This decision depends on the nature of the crime and other factors. If officers do not find a suspect and enough evidence, the case remains open.
Prosecution and Pretrial
- Charges: The prosecutor considers the evidence assembled by the police and decides whether to file written charges or release the accused without prosecution.
- First Court Appearance: If the prosecutor decides to file formal charges, the accused will appear in court to be informed of the charges and of his or her rights.
- Bail or Bond: At the first court appearance the judge may decide to hold the accused in jail or release him or her on bail, bond
- Grand Jury or Preliminary Hearing: In about one-half of the states, defendants have the right to have their cases heard by a grand jury.
- Arraignment: The defendant is brought before the judge to be informed of the charges and his or her rights. If the defendant pleads not guilty, a date is set for the trial. If a plea agreement is negotiated, no trial is held.
Adjudication (Trial Process)
- Plea Agreements: It means that the defendant has agreed to plead guilty to one or more of the charges in exchange
- Trial: Trials are held before a judge, depending on the seriousness of the crime and other factors. Defendants found not guilty are usually released. If not the judge will set a date for sentencing.
- Sentencing: In deciding on a sentence, the judge has a range of choices, depending on the crime. These choices include restitution, fines, jail or prison, or the death penalty.
- Probation or Parole: Offenders who have served part of their sentences in jail or prison may-under certain conditions-be released on parole, under the supervision of the corrections system or the court.
The criminal justice system can be overwhelming, intimidating, and confusing for anyone who does not work within it every day. You will also want to know your rights and the choices you may have to make. You may also need information and guidance to help you stay safe. For example, if you are harassed or stalked by the offender at any point in the criminal justice process, you should immediately report these violations to the police and inform the prosecutor.
This Article was prepared or accomplished by Priyanka in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the LawOF.in
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