Review the current organization and administration of the three components of the U.S. justice system: the police, the courts, and corrections. This review should consists of a summary of each component system, standard organizational structures of each component system, and a thorough examination of the pressing issues and challenges faced by each component system, including ethical considerations.
The three parts of the U.S. justice system include: law enforcement, the judiciary and corrections. These different pieces work together, to address various problems involving a host of laws and regulations. Once this takes place, it is providing a way of dealing with various challenges. (Garner, 2011)
Law enforcement is the branch of the criminal justice system that deals with enforcing the various laws and regulations. They are the first contact that an individual will have with the criminal justice system. In the U.S., there are three different levels of law enforcement agencies to include: federal, state and local officials. They have the responsibility of building a case for the prosecutors. This is a part of enforcing the law that involves prosecuting those individuals who are breaking various directives. Both the police and prosecutors will work together to investigate and arraign those crimes that they believe the individual is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. During a criminal proceeding, law enforcement has the responsibility for: representing the interests of the state and presenting facts to show the proof of guilt of the suspect. They will work against the defense surrounding how: the laws are enforced by the police and the actions taken by them. (Garner, 2011)
The most pressing issues facing law enforcement is how aggressively they are enforcing the law. This can be problematic, because the Constitution specifically states that any suspect who is accused of committing a crime has a number of different rights. A few of the most notable include: the right to a speedy trial, to challenge their accusers, legal representation, to remain silent and the right to have their case heard by a jury. However, during the course of enforcing the law the police or prosecutors could violate key Constitutional provisions. When these kinds of issues are discovered, an ethical situation could exist. Where, they have not exhausted every possible avenue to allow someone to prove their innocence. Instead, they are convicted based on circumstantial evidence that someone is guilty. In the future, new information could emerge that they are innocent. This is significant, because the silence of law enforcement officials is an ethical challenge. As no innocent person, should be forced to go to jail for a crime they did not commit. Yet, when you look beneath the surface the silence (of law enforcement) and the fact that they are not willing to admit that could have made a mistake is a major issue. (Anderson, 2006, pp. 198 -- 209)
The judiciary has the responsibility for ensuring that the defendant receives a fair trial and interpreting the evidence based upon the Constitution. At the same time, the judicial system will allow judges large discretionary powers in making decisions including: guilty pleas, sentencing, appeals and determining what evidence will be admitted during a trial. The way that judicial system is divided is based upon a similar structure as law enforcement through: the federal, state and local levels. However, within this basic structure the judiciary will subdivide. This is accomplished by having different levels in the court system that will provide select services at certain times to include: the municipal, county, district, appellate and the supreme courts. (Garner, 2011)
The most pressing issues are how to ensure that justice is delivered fairly. This can be problematic, as certain ethnic groups will receive sentences that are much more stringent than others. Evidence of this, can be seen with various studies that were reviewed by Anderson (2006). She found that blacks and Latinos will receive higher amounts for bail. At the same time, most judges will limit: the flexibility that these defendants have in plea bargains and they are less likely to receive probation. This is troubling, because these kinds of facts are highlighting how there are some forms of indirect system wide discrimination occurring. As a result, the criminal justice system must find a way to address issues such as this. (Anderson, 2006, pp. 198 -- 209)
Corrections is when the defendant has been sentenced for the crime that they have committed. This could occur through: them being found guilty in a trial or they could have made some kind of plea bargaining. During this part of the process there are a number of different options that are considered to be a part of the corrections to include: jail / prison, parole, probation, community service and fines. Like with the other two elements of the criminal justice system this part is divided along: federal, state and local levels. (Garner, 2011)
The basic problems that have been facing this aspect of the criminal justice system are: prison and jail overcrowding. This is problematic, because it specifically states that all defendants have the right not to be subjected to: cruel and unusual punishment in the Constitution. Yet, beneath the surface the consistent amounts of jail overcrowding are bringing into question the kind of sentences that wide variety of individuals are dealing with. As, they are forced to: endure harsh and dangerous conditions from the prison overcrowding, but have no way to speak out against these issues. This is because they are a convicted felon. These people are more than likely subject to various forms of mandatory sentencing guidelines (especially in drug cases). In most situations, these kinds of issues are often overlooked, based upon the fact that the individual is serving their sentence for a crime they committed. This is troubling, because it represents an ethical challenge between: respecting the rights of the individual. While, making certain that they are held accountable for their actions and the crimes they have carried out. The real problem is balancing the needs of the prisoners with that of the criminal justice system. (Anderson, 2006, pp. 198 -- 209)
Based on the information gathered in phase 1 of the study, purpose a model criminal justice system designed to address the organizational and administrative challenges of each component of the U.S. Justice system: the police, he courts, and corrections. The recommendations made during this phase of study must include identifiable justifications that thoroughly explain how the model system will address any existing issues.
To address the various issues facing the aggressive use of law enforcement tactics defendants could have a way of challenge the evidence against them. This can be accomplished by giving the defendant the right to challenge the quality of evidence (based upon the kinds of tactics that are used by the police). The way that this could be accomplished is by giving the defendant the right to file a motion questioning the entire investigation. Where, if they could show that they are a victim of aggressive prosecution or they are innocent. Then, the judge could decide that the prosecution does not have enough evidence for trail and they can rule that the defendant must be released. In the event that there is evidence against the defendant, this procedure could not be utilized (as it could be considered to be an intentional delay). The way that this can be enforced is by placing serve punitive actions on defense attorney who are trying to use this procedure and fail. In this case, they could be fined by the court for failed attempts to show that their client is being discriminated against. When in reality the evidence is overwhelming of their involvement. This will prevent defendants from abusing this tactic, while ensuring that there is an approach that will effectively address the issues of possible discrimination by: law enforcement or prosecutors. The way that this will tackle the ethical issues facing law enforcement is through taking a balanced approach. As, the police and prosecutors do not have unlimited authority to: directly or indirectly discriminate against defendants (if there is no evidence to support these views). While at the same time, it is preventing defendants from abusing this process. Over the course of time, this will ensure that the actions of both sides in a criminal case face equal amounts of scrutiny.
One possible strategy for dealing with discrimination in the legal system is to hold judges accountable for the kinds of rulings that they make.
This is important, because most judges can serve for life on the bench. Over the course of time, this will raise a number of different issues that could have a direct impact on the kinds of case precedent they are setting. This can create even more confusion about: how various rulings should apply and to what extent. Once this occurs, it gives judges greater amounts of authority in a host of different decisions ranging from: bail to appeals.