LS308 Unit 9

Topics: Criminal law, Law, Jury Pages: 5 (1694 words) Published: July 21, 2014
Unit 9 Assignment
LS 308 Law & Society
July 15, 2014

There are many functions of any court system. The primary function of the criminal courts in society is to help keep domestic peace. Criminal court is one of the major components of the criminal justice system. When an arrest is made it is the judge and prosecutor who are in charge of deciding what punishment will be sufficient as well as if it is necessary to take the case to trial (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 279-280. Pearson Education, Inc. 2009). If everything works as it is intended to work, those who are guilty will be found guilty, those who are innocent will be found innocent, and it will not be determined by the defendant’s social class, race/ethnicity, or gender (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 279-280. Pearson Education, Inc. 2009). Unfortunately, just like most things, the criminal court system is not void of flaws. There are still innocent people that are found guilty and guilty people who are found innocent. There have even been innocent people who have been executed in states the practice the death penalty.

There are different models of criminal courts that help society understand how they should work. These models consist of the adversarial and consensual models. The most familiar model is the adversarial model. This is also called the combat model. “In this model, the prosecutor and defense attorney ‘fight it out’ by vigorously contesting the evidence before a judge acting as a neutral referee over the proceedings” (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 279-280. Pearson Education, Inc. 2009). In most cases, a consensual model is used. This can be done by a good deal of cooperation with the prosecution and the defense. “Fighting it out” is a way to slow down processing of a case, especially when the main goal is to get through most cases as quickly as possible. According to Law and Society, “the adversarial model largely operates for only two types of criminal cases: (1) celebrated cases, in which the crime is particularly grisly and/or the defendant is well-known (for example, O.J. Simpson) or unusual in some other respect and (2) serious felonies, that is, many homicides, robberies, and rapes committed by strangers.

Two more models that compete in the criminal court system are the crime control model and the due process model. The primary goal of the crime control model is to ensure public safety. This model assumes that most criminal suspects are guilty and thus emphasizes the need to expedite their cases through the courts and other branches of the criminal justice system (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 279-280. Pearson Education, Inc. 2009). On the other side of things, the main goal of the due process model is to protect individuals from abuse of power from the government. This model makes the assumption that some suspects and defendants may be innocent even though they are accused of the crimes. In any event, both the innocent and the guilty deserve to have their rights (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 279-280. Pearson Education, Inc. 2009). Herbert Packer wrote that, “the legal process under this model is similar to an obstacle course, as the Constitution and Bill of Rights make it relatively difficult (at least compared to the situation of dictatorships) for the government to arrest, convict, and incarcerate someone accused of a crime” (Steven Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 279-280. Pearson Education, Inc. 2009).

There are many different reasons why a criminal may consider a plea bargain in a criminal case. Many have an opportunity to negotiate a plea bargain, which means prosecutors and judges feel increased pressure to move cases quickly through the system (www.nolo.com). This has to do with the overcrowding in jails and prisons across the country. Many times when a defendant takes a plea bargain, he/she receives a lesser sentence for a...

Cited: "Defendants ' Incentives for Accepting Plea Bargains." Nolo.com. .
Barkan, Law and Society: An Introduction, 279-280. Pearson Education, Inc. 2009
"The Role of the Judge." The Role of the Judge. .
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