Stages of the Criminal Justice System

Essay by corpwhitsonCollege, UndergraduateA, December 2006

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The criminal justice system has three component subsystems, they are: police, courts, and corrections (Schmalleger, 2006).

The first step in the criminal justice system is the police officers or federal agents. When a crime is committed the police investigate the crime scene and if the suspect is still present they arrest the person. The police officer must always read the suspect his/her rights before questioning. During the questioning the suspect has the right to refuse to answer any questions at anytime during the questioning and ask for a lawyer. If the suspect is not at the scene of a crime, after an investigation the police will make a report and a judge or magistrate will issue a warrant for the suspects' arrest. After an arrest the suspect is booked. This is a process where he/she has a picture taken, finger printed, and personal information is recorded (Schmalleger, 2006).

The prosecutor's office should not become in a case till after an arrest.

The information that it collected at the scene of the crime, should be turned over to the prosecutions office so they can determine if they have enough evidence or if more is needed. If is not a good idea for a prosecutor to be involved in the beginning of an investigation because the defense counsel does not have the opportunity till after they are either hired by the defendant or appointed one to them.

The defense attorney is not involved in a criminal case until he/she is appointed or hired by the defendant. They can not be involved prior to an indictment or arrest. At a preliminary hearing is when the defense attorney will hear the evidence presented and then determine if the evidence presented by the prosecution is strong enough for a plea bargain or a trial (Schmalleger,