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Unformatted text preview: Part 1 O The Nature ofCrime, Law, and CriminalJustice criminal justice system The loosely organized collec- tion ofagencies (police, the courts, corrections agencies, etc.) charged with protecting the public, maintaining order, enforcing the law, identifying transgressors, bringing the guilty tojustice and treating criminal behavior. The YFZ Ranch case, while very unusual, illustrates some of the dilemmas facing the justice system in contemporary society: How far can and/or should the state go to protect its citizens? Should families be separated, and children placed in custody, in order to protect them from their parents? Was this an abuse of power or an act of mercy? Some people compared the raid to the ill-fated 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, that resulted in the deaths of 82 of the church’s members, including its leader David Koresh. Only here, no fires were started nor lives lost. Where and how can a line be drawn between behavior that endangers society and that which may be strange and unusual but essentially harmless? In the aftermath of the raid, Rod Parker, a lawyer in Salt Lake City and a spokesman for the sect, called the accusations “half truths and implications without foundation.” Mr. Parker said officials had floated the reports of child abuse and broken bones to “malign these people and their culture, in order to insulate themselves from criticism of what they’re doing.”1 The public relies on the agencies of the criminal justice system to provide solutions to the crime problem and to shape the direction of crime policy. This loosely organized collection of agencies is charged with, among other matters, protecting the public, maintaining order, enforcing the law, identifying transgres- sors, bringing the guilty to justice, and treating criminal behavior. The public depends on this vast system, employing more than 2 million people and costing taxpayers more than $200 billion per year, to protect them from evil-doers and to bring justice to their lives. The criminal justice system is now expanding and taking on new duties, including protecting the country from terrorists and cyber criminals, Groups that were almost unknown a decade ago. Consequently, the justice system is constantly evolving to meet these new challenges. This text serves as an introduction to the study of criminal justice. This chap- ter covers some basic issues and concepts, beginning with a discussion of the concept and the study of criminal justice. The major processes of the criminal justice system are then examined so that you can develop an overview of how the system functions. Because no single view exists of the underlying goals that help shape criminal justice, the varying perspectives on what criminal justice really is or should be are set out in some detail. 91s CRIME ARECENT DEVELOPMENT? Older people often say, “Crime is getting worse every day” and “I can remember when it was safe to walk the streets at night,” but their memories may be colored by wishful thinking. Crime and violence have existed in the United States for more than 200 years. In fact, the crime rate may have been much higher in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries than it is today. Crime and violence have been common since the nation was first formed.2 Guerilla activity was frequent before, during, and after the Revolutionary War. Bands supporting the British (Tories) and the American revolutionaries engaged in savage attacks on each other, using hit—and-run tactics, burning, and looting. The struggle over slavery during the mid-nineteenth century generated de- cades of conflict, crime, and violence, including a civil war. Slave patrols were made up of small groups of white men who enforced discipline upon slaves. Their duties included searching slave quarters for weapons that might be used in insurrections and breaking up clandestine slave meetings. They hunted down fu- gitive slaves and used brutal punishments on the escapees, which could include both maiming and killing them, a practice that horrified even some plantation owners.3 After the war, night riders and Ku Klux Klan members were active in. the South, using vigilante methods to maintain the status quo and terrorize former slaves. The violence also spilled over into bloody local feuds in the hill country of southern Appalachia. F actional hatreds, magnified by the lack of formal law Chapter 1 enforcement and grinding poverty, gave rise to violent attacks and family feud» ing. Some former Union and Confederate soldiers, heading west with the dream of finding gold or starting a cattle ranch, resorted to theft and robbery. Crime in the Old West Some western lawmen developed reputations that have persisted for more than a century. Of these, none is more famous than Wyatt Earp. In 1876 he became chief deputy marshal of Dodge City, Kansas, a lawless frontier town, and he later moved on to Deadwood, in the Dakota Territory. In 1879 Earp and his broth- ers Morgan and Virgil journeyed to Tombstone, Arizona, where he eventually was appointed acting deputy U.S. marshal for the Arizona Territory. The Earps, along with their gunslinging dentist friend, Doc Holliday, participated in the famous OK Corral gunfight in 1881 during which they killed Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, and Billy Clanton, part of a rustler gang known as the Cowboys, whose members also included the notorious Curly Bill Brocius and Johnny Ringo. The Cowboys were not the only gang that plied its trade in the Old West. Train robbery was popularized by the Reno brothers of Indiana and bank robbery by the James—Younger gang of Missouri. Crime in the Cities The Old West was not the only area where gang activity flourished. In East Coast cities gangs bearing colorful monikers such as the Hudson Dusters and the Shirttails battled rivals for control of the streets. In New York City, many gangs, including the Plug Uglies, the Swamp Angels, the Daybreak Boys, and the Bowery Boys, competed for dominance in the Five Point section of the lower East Side. Gang battles were extremely brutal, and men were killed with knives, hatchets, cleavers, and anything else that could puncture 0r slice flesh. One gang leader, William Poole, born in 1821, followed in his father’s footsteps, opening a New York City butcher shop. In the 18503 his local street gang became the enforc- ers for the anti-immigrant Know-Nothing or Native American Party. In 1854 he severely beat John Morrissey, an Irish gang leader. Morrissey and his boys swore vengeance and fatally shot Poole on February 25, 1855, at Stanwix Hall in New York. As legend has it, Poole’s dying words were, “Good-bye, boys: I die a true American!”4 Poole’s story was told in the 2002 film Gangs of New York. The Civil War also produced widespread business crime. The great robber barons bribed and intrigued government officials to corner markets and obtain concessions for railroads, favorable land deals, and mining and mineral rights on government land. The administration of President Ulysses S. Grant was tainted by numerous corruption scandals. From 1900 to 1935, the nation experienced a sustained increase in criminal activity. This period was dominated by Depression-era outlaws who later became mythic figures. Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd was a folk hero among the sharecrop- pers of eastern Oklahoma, while the nation eagerly followed the exploits of its premier bank robber, John Dillinger, until he was killed in front of a Chicago movie house. The infamous “Ma” Barker and her sons Lloyd, Herman, Fred, and Arthur are credited with killing more than 10 people, while Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow killed more than 13 before they were slain in a shoot—out with federal agents. The crime problem, then, is not a recent phenomenon; it has been evolving along with the nation itself. Crime has provided a mechanism for the frustrated to vent their anger, for business leaders to maintain their position of wealth and power, and for those outside the economic mainstream to take a shortcut to the “American Dream.” To protect itself from this ongoing assault, the public has supported the development of a great array of government agencies whose stated purpose is to control and prevent crime; identify, apprehend, and bring to trial those who choose to violate the law; and devise effective methods of criminal 0 Crime and CriminaIJustice Part 1 O The Nature oFCrime, Law, and Criminaljustice correction. These agencies make up what is commonly referred to today as the criminal justice system. Creating Criminal Justice The debate over the proper course for effective crime control can be traced back to the publication in 1764 of Cesare Beccaria’s famous treatise On Crimes and Punishments. Beccaria, an Italian social philosopher, made a persuasive argu— ment against the use of torture and capital punishment, common practices in the eighteenth century. He argued that only the minimum amount of punishment was needed to control crime if criminals could be convinced that their law viola- tions were certain to be discovered and punished.5 Beccaria’s work provides a blueprint for criminal justice: Potential law violators would most certainly be de— terred if agencies of government were created that could swiftly detect, try, and punish anyone foolish enough to violate the criminal law. It was not until 1829, however, that the first police agency, the London Metropolitan Police, was created both to keep the peace and identify and apprehend criminal suspects. A huge success in England, police agencies began to appear in the United States during the mid—nineteenth century. Another nineteenth-century innovation, the penitentiary, or prison, was considered a lib- eral reform that replaced physical punishments. Although significant and far—reaching, these changes were isolated develop— ments. As criminal justice developed over the next century, these fledgling agen- cies of justice rarely worked together in a systematic fashion. It was not until 1919——when the Chicago Crime Commission, a professional association funded by private contributions, was created-that the work of the criminal justice sys- tem began to be recognized.6 The Chicago Crime Commission acted as a citi— zens’ advocate group and kept track of the activities of local justice agencies. The commission still carries out its work today and is active in administering anti- crime programs.7 In 1931 President Herbert Hoover appointed the National Commission of Law Observance and Enforcement, which is commonly known as the Wickersham Commission. This national study group made a detailed analysis of the US. justice system and helped usher in the era of treatment and rehabilitation. Its final report found that thousands of rules and regulations govern the system, making it difficult for justice personnel to keep track of the system’s legal and ad- ministrative complexity. Some of the problems the commission encountered are still with us today: controlling illegal substances, the risk of compromising indi- vidual liberties, limiting the costs of justice, and recognizing cultural differences within society.8 The Modern Era of Justice The modern era of criminal justice can be traced to a series of research proj— ects, begun in the 19505, under the sponsorship of the American Bar F ounda— tion (ABE).9 Originally designed to provide in-depth analysis of the organization, administration, and operation of criminal justice agencies, the ABF projects dis— covered that the justice system contained many procedures that heretofore had been kept hidden from the public View. The research focus then shifted to an examination of these previously obscure processes and their interrelationship—- investigation, arrest, prosecution, and plea negotiations. justice professionals used a great deal of personal choice in decision making, and how this discretion was used became a prime focus of the research effort. For the first time, the term “criminal justice system” began to be used, reflecting a View that justice agencies could be connected in an intricate yet often unobserved network of decision— making processes. FEDERAL INVOLVEMENT In 1967 the President’s Commission on Law Enforce- ment and the Administration of justice (Crime Commission), which had been Chapter 1 CriminaljusticeTime Line 1750 ‘ 1300- - ‘ - 1850 19m- ‘ _ 1950‘ 1950 uiszi _ - - 1919 £19319: _ Englanri-_-_. -‘ __ _ i United‘States‘ United-States. Schubert Pealproposes; Chicagucrirfia Nationals: ' ‘ and subsequentlvheads, ~‘ -‘ 1 _ Commission _ I-Ccmmissiun of" - .thi‘eMe‘tropcti‘ran Police. _ ianhsérVante is craated. “ __and__ Enforcement (Wickersham. d _. :_-.Ccmmissicn)‘ __ is establiShed._ ‘ Qflnipcs‘ed ofi,000 _ uniformed police officers L _ bested atScotland Yard, - - - ‘ London. ‘L J __ . ‘ created by President Lyndon B. Johnson, published its final report, The Chal- lenge of Crime in. a Free Society}0 This group of practitioners, educators, and attorneys was charged with creating a comprehensive View of the criminal jus- tice process and recommending reforms. Concomitantly, Congress passed the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, providing for the expen— diture of federal funds for state and local crime control efforts.11 This act helped launch a massive campaign to restructure the justice system. It funded the N a— tional Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, which encouraged re- search and development in criminal justice. Renamed the National Institute of Justice in 1979, it has continued its mission as a major source of funding for the implementation and evaluation of innovative experimental and demonstration projects in the criminal justice system.12 The Safe Streets Act provided funding for the Law Enforcement Assis- tance Administration (LEAA), which granted hundreds of millions of dol- lars in aid to local and state justice agencies. Throughout its 14—year history, the LEAA provided the majority of federal funds to states for criminal justice activi- ties. On April 15, 1982, the program came to an end when Congress terminated its funding. Although the LEAA suffered its share of criticism, it supported many worthwhile programs, including the development of a vast number of criminal justice departments in colleges and universities and the use of technology in the criminal justice system. The federal government continues to fund the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. These agencies carry out a more limited role in supporting criminal justice research and development and in publishing valuable data and research findings. (See Figure 1.1 for the criminal justice system time line.) ‘ THE CRIMINALJUSTICE, SYSTEMTODAY , The contemporary criminal justice system is society’s instrument of social con- trol: Some behaviors are considered so dangerous that they must be either strictly controlled or outlawed outright; some people are so destructive that they must be monitored or even confined. The agencies of justice seek to prevent or deter outlawed behavior by apprehending, adjudicating, and sanctioning lawbreakers. Society maintains other forms of informal social control, such as parental and school discipline, but these are designed to deal with moral—not legal—misbehavior. Only the criminal justice system maintains the power to con- trol crime and punish outlawed behavior through the arm of the criminal law. The contemporary criminal justice system can be divided into three main components: law enforcement agencies, which investigate crimes and apprehend suspects (see the Careers in Criminal Justice feature); the court system, which 9 Crime and CriminalJustice Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) Agency Funded by the Federal Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of'1968 that provided tech- nical assistance and hundreds ofmillions ofdollars in aid to local and state justice agencies between 1969 and 1982. social control The ability ofsociety and its institutions to control, man- age, restrain, or direct human behavior. 8 Part 1 FIGURE 1.2 Components oFthe Criminaljustice System Police _ Po Ice departments are these public ‘ “i agencies created to maintain order, ‘ enforce the criminal law, provide emergency services, keep traffic on streets and highways moving freely, and develop a sense of community safety. Police officers work actively with the community to prevent criminal behavior; they help divert members of special needs populations, such as juveniles, alcoholics, and drug addicts, from the criminal justice system; they participate in specialized units such as a drug prevention task force or antirape unit; they cooperate with public prosecutors to initiate investigations into organized crime and drug trafficking; they resolve neighborhood and family conflicts; and they provide emergency services, such as preserving civil order during strikes and political demonstrations. O The Nature oFCrime, Law, and Criminaljustice V These , _ , . 'ofthe/tnalprocess.‘i‘-ierethe criminal -- « responsibility of‘defendams‘a‘ccused of , _ violating the law is determined. ideally, the , ’ court isexpected to convict and sentence those found guilty of crimes while ensuring that the innocent are freed without any consequence or burden. The court system is formally required to seek the truth, to obtain justice forthe individual brought before its tribunals, and to maintain the integrity of the government‘s rule of law. The main actors in the court process are the judge, whose responsibilities include overseeing the legality of the trial process, and the prosecutor and the defense attorney, who are the opponents in what is known as the adversary system. These two parties oppose each other in a hotly disputed contest—~the criminal trial—in accordance with rules of law and procedure. , - nt ehrc : -- agencies include community supervision Corrections sense, correctional or probation, various types of incarceration (including jails, houses of correction, and ' state prisons), and parole programs for both juvenile and adult offenders. These programs range from the lowest security, such as probation in the community with minimum supervision, to the highest security, such as 24-hour lockdown in an ultra-maximum security prison. Corrections ordinarily represent the postadjudicatory care given to offenders when a sentence is imposed by the court and the offender is placed in the hands of the correctional agency. charges, indicts, tries, and sentences offenders; and the correctional system, which incapacitates convicted offenders and attempts to aid in their treatment and rehabilitation (see Figure 1.2). Criminal justice agencies are political entities whose structure and function are lodged within the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the government: 0 Legislative. Under our current justice system, the legislature defines the law by determining what conduct is prohibited and establishes criminal penal- ties for those who violate the law. The legislative branch of government helps shape justice policy by creating appropriations for criminal justice agencies and acting as a forum for the public expression of views on criminal justice issues. 0 judicial. The judiciary interprets the existing law and determines whether it meets constitutional requirements. It also oversees criminal justice practices and has the power to determine Whether existing operations fall within the bounds of the state constitution and ultimately the US. Constitution. The courts have the right to overturn 0r ban policies that conflict with constitu— tional rights. 0 Executive. This branch of government is responsible for the day'to-day operation of justice agencies. It does not make or interpret the laws but is trusted with their enforcement. In this capacity it must create and oversee the agencies of justice, determine their budget...
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  • Fall '16
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