Public (Mis) perceptions of Criminal Procedure and the Courts
The portrayal and perception of criminal procedures and the courts have the public concerned of how safe they really are from deviants of the law and if the guilty parties are being punished accordingly. It is public opinion that there are many abuses in criminal procedure. This would include everything from traffic stops to search and seizures. The community also views the court system through warbled glasses. The prosecutors are always seen making deals with defendants and judges are viewed as being too lenient. Because there is little faith in the fairness of police procedures and court outcomes the public turns to the media to get the real "truth". The general majority believe that crime is on a constant rise, although statistics show offenses are at their lowest since the early 1990s. Criminologists blame news coverage for the unwarranted increase of the public's awareness of crime versus actual crime.
Politicians exploit the sensationalized crime as a way to relate to the public's perception that the increased crime needs special attention, so they manipulate the reports by the media. Although the television has been harmful in its' distortion of reality, it is useful in keeping people informed on criminal information and warnings when there is a real concern.
Criminal procedure is generally based on the idea of obtaining balance in the system. Criminal procedure is composed of the rules governing the series of proceedings through which the substantive criminal law is enforced. (Law about Criminal Procedures) The public perceives that there are not enough rules regulating police and that police have too much discretion in obtaining information and evidence in charging and individual with a crime. Unfortunately, when you make it easier to prove guilt, then it becomes harder...