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Criminal Procedure Policy

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Criminal procedure has been defined as a section of constitutional law in the United States that puts more emphasis on the powers of the state in maintaining order among people while ensuring that the government does not withhold the rights and freedoms of their citizens (Zalman, 2011). Two common models are referred to the issue of developing a criminal procedure policy. These two models are due process and crime control that come into conflict with each other from time to time. Herbert Packer, who was a professor in Stanford, is widely considered as the father of the two models.

Despite the existence of the two models, political environment seems to have taken an upper hand in determining which model will give effect to the policy on criminal justice and at what time.  In the 60’s, due process became dominant in criminal procedure, though this dominance started waning from 70’s till presently when crime control seems to have taken over and become the dominant controlling force. The Amendments done in the United States Constitution have also been influential. These Amendments include the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and the fourteenth amendments.  The Amendments have been put to give protection to the people and their individual rights as American citizens.

Two models given above have control over the criminal procedure policy in different perspectives. In the analysis, a focus is placed on each of these perspectives to show where they coincide or differ from each other. First, the crime control asserts that suppressing a criminal activity should be more prioritized while dealing with criminal justice as orderliness is a basic necessity in a free community. However, due process disputes this and indicates that more priority issue is provision of basically fair treatment of all persons in a society under the rule of law. The Bill of rights and amendments to the Constitution have given the basics of how persons should be handled. 

Secondly, crime control considers that criminal justice needs to commit more to ensure the victim’s rights are preserved as opposed to the rights of the defender. Contrary to that view, due process observes that criminal justice should take more interest in defendant’s rights as opposed to those of the victim. In due process model, an argument is put forward that the Bill of rights and especially the Amendments are more devised to protect the defendant’s rights. According to the sixth and the fourteenth Amendment, all people are treated equally and remain equal in the eyes of the law. Both the rights of the victim and the defendant are equally important and should not be denied.

Thirdly, criminal control has argued that law enforcement agencies should have their powers increased to allow them carry on proper investigations, search for evidence, seize any tangible evidence found, arrest the suspect, as well as convict the criminals. However, this is strongly opposed by due process model which advocates for minor powers being given to the law enforcement agencies. It argues that with more powers being given to the police, there is a higher probability that the government will take measure that violates the rights of the citizens under a legal platform. This view is widely supported by the Fourth Amendment which requires that the police obtain a search warrant from the court of law before the search begins. In fact, it states that the search warrant should be inter alia. It should give a full description of the place that the search is intended to be done and the individual or property that is targeted for seizing. The provisions of this part of the Fourth Amendment are to evade a general search conducted on personal belongings (Hall, 1992).

 Another assertion by the crime control is that all legal technicalities that do not allow police officers to perform efficiently should be removed. On its part, due process expresses a contrary opinion with a view that constitutional rights of the citizens are not technicalities and, therefore, authorities operating under the criminal justice should act within set procedures, guidelines as well as the rule of law to provide a fair and consistent justice process. In a wider scale, authorities should desist from coercing individuals to give incriminating evidence against them. In this regard, the Fifth Amendment strongly condemns such violations and makes it clear that it is illegal. The Fifth Amendment helps protect defendants from being forced to accept a criminal responsibility and especially through coercion.

Crime control indicates that a criminal justice system should allow cases to be taken though their own disposition.  This means no obstacles should be put on the way during the process. Conversely, this is highly contested by the due process which calls for impediments that will allow some kind of procedural safeguard to offer protection to those who are innocent in fact and convict those who are found to be guilty of the crime. For every case to be fair, the process must be known and followed by all the parties. According to the Fourteenth Amendment all individuals have a right for a fair hearing.

In addition, in the crime control model, the bottom line is to punish the accused criminals for their crime at any cost. However, this is vehemently opposed by the due process model which argues that the accused must be made aware of the charges. This is to ensure that they are not caught off guard and defenceless when they are brought before a court of law to answer their charges.  The Sixth Amendment has provided legal protection against such treatment. The amendment guarantees the defendants their preserved rights to get to know the nature of accusations so as to instruct their defence team and plan a strong defence.  

Finally, crime control model indicates that where police have made an arrest, and criminal charges are preferred by the prosecutor against the defendant, the accused need be treated as guilty since the fact-finding process by police and prosecution can highly be reliable. Nevertheless, due process provides that the right procedure must be followed at all times and one is presumed innocent until his guilty is proven by a court of law and not merely by the facts presented by the police officers. In regard to this assertion, the Fourteenth Amendment has guaranteed legal protection. The amendment argues that no individual should be denied equal protection as indicated by the law.  It goes ahead and states that the right to life, liberty, and property are all guaranteed to an individual and can only be denied under due legal process. It means that no one should either be put in detention or sentenced without hearing them out.

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