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Introduction To The Criminal Justice System Unit 1 Db


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Introduction to the Criminal Justice System

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Introduction To The Criminal Justice System Unit 1 Db

  1. 1. Introduction to the Criminal Justice System<br />Carla J. McCoy<br />Unit 1 Discussion Board – Introduction to Criminal Justice<br />February 11th, 2009<br />American InterContinental University<br />Factors in making this determination <br />Local Law Enforcement often teams up with other federal law enforcement in a multi agency national law enforcement entity In order to investigate against major drug trafficking organizations that threaten the United States. Some of the teams they include are the DEA, FBI, Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section of Justice’s Criminal Division, and Customs under a Special Operations Division also known as (SOD), a couple in particular which are called Operation Millennium and Operation Southwest Express. I’d have to say after the research I’ve found that it all depends on the situation of the case at hand as to whether or not each individual case is processed in the state court system or bringing the matter to the United States Attorney’s Office to be tried in the Federal Court System. There are differences among federal and state laws which include the range of sentencing that is imposed. Some other factors to weigh in are that normally if a case is being processed within the Federal Court System it’s due to a much stiffer sentence which includes time served as well. It also depends on what the state’s “habitual” offender laws are per each defendant’s criminal history. Some defendant’s are charged federally where others are charged by the State. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008) <br />Can a Police Officer bring a matter in the Federal System? <br />There are various types of Officers allowed to bring a matter into the Federal System. To name a few would be among Federal Officers which include U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Prisons, the FBI, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Marshals. A regular Police Officer can only be the initiator of the case where the Federal System is concerned; they can’t bring matters to the Federal Court. Most cases will get heard in regular court, if it is then contested then it will be reviewed by an appeals court, if it needs to go further than that it will then be reviewed by a State Supreme Court and if it is a Federal Issue then it will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Police Officers are more likely to be heard in a Federal Courtroom when they are investigating drug trafficking, or corruption in local government. (Brenner, S., & Shaw, L., 1997-2003)<br />Advantages in Federal Court vs. State Court:<br />State Prosecution has more advantages than Federal matters do. Being as Texas is my home State I will use examples to show differences according to Texas laws. In Texas if a defendant goes to state court regardless of the offense that has taken place, they can be placed under community supervision in state court even if the defendant is charged with murder. Federal Court sentencing has to be done with guidelines that will score the defendant’s offense and criminal history with the use of a grid system. This often leads to very harsh sentences, even among first time offenders. First, if you have a Drug Offense within a Federal Court it requires a “mandatory minimum” sentence under the federal, drug statutes. Second, It also depends on what county you live in here in Texas, for instance if a defendant get’s charged in state court, he or she can create a presentation to the grand jury to try to get the grand jury not to convict indict him. This can’t be done among Federal Grand Juries and they rarely ever refuse a prosecutor’s request for indictment. (Broden, C., 2008)<br />The chances of winning a case in State Court are significantly higher than in Federal Court. One reason for this is because the Local Police Department who investigates State offenses is not as well trained as Federal Agents that investigate offenses that are prosecuted in court. Police Officers at times have been known to make mistakes which can be used to a client’s advantage, but Federal Prosecutors that have more experience also have more resources than State Prosecutors. Texas laws permit suppression of evidence in more common circumstances within State Courts than Federal Law does. Third, let’s say a defendant receives a ten year sentence in State Court vs. a different defendant receiving a ten year sentence in a Federal Court. It is more likely that the defendant that was in State Court will be paroled out after a couple of years, where in the Federal system, parole has been abolished and most defendants serve at least 85% of their time. Fourth, when a defendant enters a plea agreement he knows exactly what he is going to receive providing the judge at hand accepts the plea and will often be sentenced the same day as the guilty plea is entered. Plea bargains within the Federal Court require the defendant to plead guilty and he/she has no idea what the sentence will be. The defendant’s sentence will not be imposed for at least two – three months with a guilty plea, but in a Federal Court defendants must rely on their defense attorneys to calculate sentencing accurately using guidelines. The drawback to that is that it’s possible that the judge might give harsher sentences than what is provided under guidelines. A defendant that’s pleaded guilty is not allowed to withdraw that plea and sentencing is in most cases harsher than the defendant’s attorney ever predicts. (Broden, C., 2008)<br />Fifth, The Federal System is more complicated than State therefore the percentage of criminal lawyers who will represent defendants in federal court are low. Within a Federal Court, they will and can request a PACER system from the attorney that’s representing the defendant. This will tell the court the precise number of defendants the attorney has represented in federal court. Legal fees are much higher for defendants in federal courts due to the low percentage of criminal attorneys there are. (Broden, C., 2008) In my own personal opinion after the research that’s been done, I’d have to say yes there are always advantages to bringing cases up as a federal matter, however state prosecution in my opinion is more advantageous. (McCoy, C., 2009) Some examples of the advantages of being charged in Federal Court are that these judges do not run for re-election. The President of the United States appoints federal judges for life. Another advantage is that once the case has gone through Federal Court and the defendant has served his or her time they have no requirement of bail being paid in order to get out. Another advantage is when defendants are considered to be a danger to the community or a flight risk, then bail may not be set at all and the defendant could be detained pending trial. (Broden, C., 2008)<br />Factors to consider as to where individual cases go: <br />There are different reasons for each case to go to a different court. A table has been created to show Examples of Jurisdiction in the Federal and State Courts which determine which cases will go where. (McCoy, C., 2009) <br />State CourtsFederal CourtsState or Federal CourtsCrimes under state legislationCrimes under statutes enacted by CongressCrimes punishable under both federal or state lawState constitutional issues and cases involving state laws or regulationsMost cases involving federal laws or regulations (for example: Tax, Social Security, Broadcasting, Civil Rights)Federal Constitutional issuesFamily Law IssuesMatters involving interstate and international commerce, including airline and railroad regulationCertain Civil Rights claimsReal Property issuesCases involving securities and commodities regulation, including takeovers of publicly held corporationsClass action casesLandlord and tenant disputesAdmiralty casesEnvironmental regulationsMost private contract disputes (except those resolved under bankruptcy law)International trade law mattersCertain disputes involving Federal LawMost issues involving the regulation of trades and professionsPatent, copyright, and other intellectual property issuesMost professional malpractice issuesCases involving rights under treaties, foreign states, and foreign nationalsMost issues involving the internal governance of business associations such as partnerships and corporationsState law disputes when diversity of citizenship existsMost personal injury lawsuitsBankruptcy mattersMost workers injury casesDisputes between statesProbate and inheritance mattersHabeas corpus actionsMost traffic violations and registration of motor vehiclesTraffic violations and other misdemeanors occurring on certain federal property<br /> (The Federal Judiciary, 2009)<br />Comparison:<br /><ul><li>In 2004, Federal Courts convicted a total of 66,518 adults
  2. 2. In 2004, State Courts convicted a total of 1,079,000 adults
  3. 3. Both Federal and State courts convicted a total of 1,145,000 adults of felonies</li></ul>References<br />Bureau of Justice Statistics, (2008) Pretrial, Prosecution, and Adjudication Drugs and Crime Facts, Drug Law violations, retrieved on February 9th, 2009 at:<br />Brenner, S., & Shaw, L., (1997-2003) Federal Grand Juries retrieved on February 9th, 2009 at:<br />Broden, C., (2008) The Differences between State and Federal Court for CriminalDefendants 5 Dec. 2008. retrieved on February 11th, 2009 at: <br /><br />McCoy, C., (2009) American InterContinental University Introduction to the Criminal Justice System, CRJ101 retrieved on February 11th, 2009 at:<br /><br />U.S. Courts (2009) Examples of Jurisdiction of State and Federal Courts The Federal Judiciary, retrieved on February 11th, 2009 at:<br />