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The Criminal Court Process

In this essay on the criminal court process we will illustrate real world examples of how each member of the criminal justice system, including the law enforcement officer, the judge and the prosecutor may use their discretion during all of the six stages of the criminal procedure process. Theses stages are the investigation, the arrest, the pretrial, the trial, the appeal, the serving the sentence.

All of the officials of the criminal justice system can legitimately exercise discretion at some or all of these stages.

Police officers discretion deals with everything, which concerns the pre-court and post-court procedure. Thus, the work of police embraces the arrest and the serving sentence stage. Judges exercise discretion at trial and appeal stages, and the prosecutors work at the pre-trial one. However, many people think that the action occurs in the courtroom, but this is only part of the story. Such thing as the plea bargain between defense attorneys and prosecutors is very important part of criminal process It allows a prosecutor to make a concession to a defendant, if he pleads guilty. Pretrial detainees are usually held in a county jail overnight, where they are interrogated. Pretrial officers collect information relating to telephone, employment, charges, education, criminal background and probation parole. The arrestee may contact friends or next of kin upon completing the interviews at the county jail. Pretrial negotiations and review determine trial parameters in concert with mandatory sentencing guidelines, etc.

The trial process includes the trial itself, sentencing, alternative sentencing, and appeals. Federal and state mandatory sentencing and handling guidelines under the war on drugs and war on terror have complicated the issue. They may tie the hands of judges and attorneys who have to comply with mandatory sentencing guidelines or may turn back the detainee for processing and trial to state or federal trial. They remove flexibility from the pretrial and trial process by largely removing due process, especially when classified sources and information are involved, information that may be kept out of court during pretrial, trial, sentencing and appeal process. Drug arrests may involve the seizure of assets without due process. That's why, we can see that the prosecutor may have the least discretion in the process.

Based upon the above research, this author suggests that the prosecutor should have more leeway in sentencing. His hands are often tied by sentencing guidelines. This also refers to the judge. In this author's opinion, the law enforcement officer has the most arbitrary use discretion. Their hands are less tied by guide.

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