Final Project: Murder in the First
CCJS 100/ Introduction to Criminal Justice
March 7, 2015
The United States Criminal Justice System includes step by step processes that must be implemented when dealing with criminal arrest and prosecution. When it comes to murder cases, the criminal justice system has several steps and protocols to ensure a fair trial which upholds constitutional law and provides a guilty or innocent verdict without reasonable doubt. Case: Murder
A man, John Wolf, heard loud screaming and shouting from his neighbor Lucy Lane’s front yard which lasted for several minutes and ended in a terrifying scream. When he looked out of his window, he saw the former resident, James Lane driving away in his white Ford Bronco. Mr. Wolf, seeing a still body lying in the driveway, called 911.
Upon police arrival, police officers discovered Lucy Lane deceased in the driveway, having suffered from multiple stab wounds. On the back deck police also discovered Rodney Hill, the boyfriend of Lucy Lane, also deceased and having suffered multiple stab wounds.
Investigations revealed that the day of Lucy Lane’s death, she had taken a restraining order out against James Lane, who had been violent in the past. Mr. Lane had no alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the murders. Upon a warranted search of Mr. Lane’s residence, investigators found a 6 inch lock-blade knife in his dresser drawer as well as clothing in the basement that were soaked in blood with scientific testing matching those blood stains as well as blood from the knife to both Lucy Lane and Rodney Hill. Based on this evidence, James Lane was arrested and charged with both murders.
Murder and the U.S. Criminal Justice System
Upon being arrested, read his Miranda rights and charged with a double homicide or 2 counts of murder, James Lane would be entered into the American Criminal Justice System, to which he would be the defendant in all further proceedings. Following Mr. Lane’s arrest, Mr. Lane would make his initial appearance before a lower court judge. “At tis stage, defendants are informed of the charges against them, a bail decision is made, representation by a defense attorney is arranged (if applicable), and a date is set for the next stage in the case.”(Lab et el, p. 104, 2013). At this time Mr. Lane, the defendant would be able to give his plea of guilty or not guilty if the crime were a misdemeanor, but since the crime would be a felony, the judge would not accept any pleas at this time. The crime he would be charged with is 2 counts of murder in the first degree, which according to Blinn, first degree murder had three definitions, “The first is where perpetrated by means of poison, or lying in wait, or by torture; the second is where results from the commission of certain specified felonies which are commonly considered felonies of violence—sodomy, rape, mayhem, arson, robbery and burglary; and the third is when it is by any willful, deliberate or premeditated killing.” (p.729). This is also the moment when bail is set, the defendant is released or the judge orders the defendant to be held until the trial. According to Lab et el, “For some oﬀenses, such as ﬁrst-degree murder, bail is denied outright; a defendant has no chance to secure his or her release.” (p. 105). Since Mr. Lane would be charged with 2 counts of murder in the first degree, the Prosecution would ask that the defendant be remanded without bail and the judge would side with the Prosecution and Mr. Lane would be held in custody without bail. The Preliminary Hearing
The next step in James Lane’s case would be the preliminary hearing, in which a different lower court judge would review all the evidence against the defendant and decide if there is enough probable cause to proceed to a trial. Given the amount of substantial evidence against Mr. Lane:...
References: Blinn, Keith W. (1950). FIRST DEGREE MURDER--A WORKABLE DEFINITION. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 40 (6), 729. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=1cf19b38-4540-44d6-9c9f-1456c13438df%40sessionmgr4004&vid=10&hid=4211
Chang, YuFang, & Chamberlain, John. (2013). Burden of Proof in a Retrospective Competency to Stand Trial Hearing. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 41(4), 600. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/eds/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=1cf19b38-4540-44d6-9c9f-1456c13438df%40sessionmgr4004&hid=4211&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#db=psyh&AN=2014-00806-026
Hessick, Carissa Byrne, & Hessick, F. Andrew. (2011). Recognizing Constitutional Rights at Sentencing. California Law Review. 99 (1), 52. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umuc.edu/eds/detail/detail?vid=23&sid=bdf0cbb4-5b82-4a79-b4c2-d5a6849dcbbe%40sessionmgr114&hid=104&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=60003148
Lab, S., Williams, M., Holcomb, J., Burek, M., King, W, & Buerger, M. (2013). Criminal Justice: The Essentials (3nd ed., pp. 104, 105, and 106).Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.
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