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midterm2 - Intro to Criminal Justice Fall 2010 By Michelle...

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Intro to Criminal Justice Fall 2010 By Michelle Warnock October 15, 2010 TCU Chief Paul Lilly 1
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1. What are the 3 major divisions of the American Criminal Justice System? Explain in detail the role and responsibilities of each division and provide at least one illustration/example of each. Police, courts, and corrections are the three major divisions of the American criminal justice system, and all have very different but equally important functions. The police division is also called law enforcement. This division investigates crimes and apprehends suspects; this is usually the first contact an offender has with the system. Police departments are public agencies that maintain order and enforce the criminal law to develop community safety. There are many types of police departments, such as municipal police departments, school district police, airport police, campus police, and so on. They can technically be divided into four broad categories: federal, state, county, and local policing agencies, but most of the law enforcement is performed at the local level (Siegel, 2010, p. 208). The law enforcement branch is structured in a paramilitary organization with a hierarchy of power (J. Halstead, lecture, September 8, 2010). This branch involves technical investigative organizations like crime labs, and specialized divisions like canine units, hostage negotiation teams, swat teams, and many others. For minor offenses, the police may ticket or fine an offender. For more serious offenses that involve victims, police will arrest offenders and bring them to the court system for trial. For example, a patrol officer observes a person acting suspiciously and concludes the suspect is under the influence of drugs, and takes them into custody (Siegel, 2010, p.13). The court system charges, indicts, and tries offenders. Their main function is to determine guilt and sentencing of offenders by interpreting the laws. They are also given the job of deciding who is right and who is wrong when there is a dispute, and sentencing people who have 2
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broken the laws. Courts make sure that the accused are given a fair trial and that their individual rights are protected throughout the process. If charges are filed against an offender, the case is brought to a judge in a court of law. In cases where the criminal is obviously guilty, a judge may give a sentence or other punishment, depending on the severity of the crime. For more complicated cases an entire trial will take place (Siegel, 2010, p. 16). In trials with grand jury, the jury is responsible for hearing both sides of the case to determine whether the person is guilty. The jury is made up of neutral third-party members so that the person charged with the crime receives fair and unbiased treatment as it calls for in the constitution. After hearing both sides of the case, jury members make a decision about whether the offender is guilty or innocent and the judge will then sentence the criminal if they are found guilty. The jury’s decision has to
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2010 for the course CRJU 20413 taught by Professor Price during the Fall '07 term at TCU.

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midterm2 - Intro to Criminal Justice Fall 2010 By Michelle...

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