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Introduction To Criminal Justice

Describe the process that the offender would go through in the criminal justice system, beginning with arrest. For purposes of this assignment you are to assume that the offender will be eventually convicted, thus your paper should also include all stages in the criminal justice process subsequent to conviction. Upon conviction, you must also determine the probable sentence the offender will receive, (institutionalization or community-based supervision); explain why the sentence you have chosen would most likely occur, and what the offender can expect in light of this sentence. Students who exhibit mastery of this project and how the system works will also provide a probable alternative to the selected sentence, fully explaining “why” this alternative could also occur. In essence, this paper will track the offender from removal from the community by police, to return to the community free of imposed supervision.

Case Study 1 - Child abuse

Watch the following YouTube video.

Following an introductory paragraph, your project assignment should start with the arrest of Melissa Chambers OR Travis Darrah.


Sample Answer

In essence, there have been varied opinions on the issue surrounding child abuse particularly in the contemporary society given the increased cases of children being molested across the globe. While some victims of the same have been denied the chance to report what they are forced to undergo, some eventually find their death as a result of the child abuse. Regrettably, most children are abused by their parents and in this regards some stories never reach the necessary authority for a probable action. Melissa Chambers and her boyfriend Travis Darrah were reported to have abused her 4 years old boy who was rushed to the hospital for a broken femur. Initially, they told the police that the boy had fallen from a bunk bed. However, when the police went to the house, they discovered that the house had no bunk bed, therefore, inviting more investigation into the matter. Police revealed through text messages sent to Melissa, that Travis was after her son for eating his sister’s cheese. Another message suggested that Melissa should tell her son to lie to the police with an aim of protecting himself from arrest. For any crime involving an adult in the United States whose investigation is complete, the suspected criminals are always arrested, prosecuted, indicted, arraigned in court, taken through a pretrial detention, the suspect allowed to plea for a bargaining, trial allowed to go on, sentencing follows, appeals and finally punishment of the same amount. In regards to Travis’s case, the weakest link to the matter is the fact that the son might have actually fallen from the bunk bed while the strongest links are the messages he sent to Melissa not to reveal the matter. For a successful conviction of Travis, the following steps will be considered.


Stages in the Criminal Justice Process Subsequent To Conviction of Travis

It is no doubt that all criminal matters require an extensive investigation by the federal police before any action is undertaken. Apparently, the main purpose of an investigation is to look for a rather enough evidence that identifies a suspect and therefore support an arrest in the long run. Certain investigation often requires a thorough search, an exploration kind of inspection of a particular person’s property (Sikkink & Lutz, 2017). For the police to gather concrete information concerning a case then a viable investigation is paramount. For the case of Travis, the police investigated and found out that the boy was not injured through bank bed. In fact, the police found out that Travis had sent Melissa some messages trying to cover up the matter.

After a proper investigation by the federal police and satisfying evidence is arrived at, the police make an arrest of the suspect. Apparently, most of the times an arrest involves taking a particular person to the custody. This is done for the purpose of holding the suspect until a court hearing. The main legal requirements for any arrest often require a probable cause (Cole, Smith, & DeJong, 2018). This, therefore, means that there is an adequate as well as a reasonable link between a particular person and a certain crime. In relation to the current case study, Travis is attached to the case considering the fact that he had initially said that he had gotten rid of the bunk bed while the bed was not actually there. In fact, the messages he sent to Melissa were enough to confiscate him bearing in mind that he wanted to cover up the incident. This suggests that the police had enough reasons to arrest Travis.

This process often involves a district attorney prosecuting a particular criminal defendant. Apparently, prosecutors have to weigh various factors such as the level of seriousness of the offense as well as the strength of a set of evidence before deciding whether to charge an individual. In the case of Travis, the district attorney will highly rely on the pieces of evidence and the seriousness of the gathered information particularly from the messages to Melissa when deciding if he or she can prosecute him (Roberts, 2018).

In essence, this process is often undertaken by the grand jury where filling of information is viable by a particular prosecutor. In most instances, an indictment occurs when there is a prosecution of capital offenses as defined by the federal rules of criminal procedure.in this regards, the prosecutor has the option of an indictment or a rather relevant information in a certain case that involves crimes that are punishable by imprisonment. In most states in the United States nearly a half, a grand jury hugely decides on whether to bring a particular charge against an individual in a rather closed hearing where the prosecutor is the only person allowed to present evidence (Dobbie, Goldin, & Yang, 2018). In this matter, a defendant has no right to be available especially at the grand jury proceedings as well as having a defense attorney present a defendant before a particular grand jury.  Nonetheless, the defendant can be allowed to be present during the hearing in case he or she intends to dispute the charges.

In most instances, this is done by the judge on a criminal hearing. The defendant in this case Travis appears is required to appear in the court specifically to enter a plea before the actual trial. Most of the common plea request presented by the defendant is that of guilty and not guilty (Emerson, 2017). Apparently, Travis has to visit the court before the hearing begins and as well request for a plea of the same.

Pretrial Detention And/Or Bail
Prior to the trial, a defendant is taken to a temporary custody where he or she is held for a specific period of time. Essentially, he or she can as well be allowed a bail of a certain amount to before the actual hearing of the case. In the matter attaching Travis to the case of child abuse, he is as well allowed to take a bail depending on the grand jury for that matter (Campbell, Slack, & Diedrich, 2017).

Plea Bargaining
This is a process where there is a plea between the defense attorney and the prosecutor. In most cases, the plea bargaining allows the rather reduction in the defendant to plead guilty in exchange for a reduction of a charge or a reduced sentence. In this case, Travis is allowed to decide whether to plead guilty for a reduction of the child abuse charge or not (Denver, Siwach, & Bushway, 2017).

Trial/Adjudication Of Guilt
This process is normally undertaken by a jury often with a prosecutor as well as defense attorney participation. A trial is normally held before a judge or rather a jury; in this case, Travis has to appear before a judge to plead not guilty or the charges of child abuse. In essence, the standard of a particular evidence for a particular criminal sentence is often guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Noteworthy, less than a hundred percent of this scenario is certain although it is often more than a half (Curtis, 2017). Additionally, if an accused is allowed to be acquitted in case there is a doubt based on reason.

Sentencing is often done by a judge and is viable if the accused is found guilty of the charges. In the United States, child abuse is taken as either a felony or a rather serious offense and therefore depend on the on the seriousness of a particular circumstance. On the matter surrounding Melissa’s son, the extent of the charges was serious and therefore there is a chance the defendant would receive a tough punishment. Apparently, there is a high likelihood that Travis will be imprisoned for at least four years or even more (Pakes, 2017).  There is a high chance that the sentencing of this nature will occur given the fact that there have been such instances in the past where children have lost their lives because of child abuse. In this light, the judge can use the past information on such incidents to deliver such punishment in the process. An alternative, Travis could receive probation sentencing where he is restricted to certain freedoms. Essentially the alternative is possible given the fact that the judge may consider that the defendant had no criminal history.

Most of the appeals are filed by an attorney specifically in the appellate courts. The appellate judges are then allowed to make decisions and make a judgment.  In case there is a reversal of a case, the case is then returned to trial court for an apparent retrial. In case there is a reversal of a case, the original case is often treated as moot. In this regard, a prosecutor might decide to either re-file or rather drop the charges (Messerschmidt & Tomsen, 2018).

Punishment And Or Rehabilitation
These practices are normally administered by a federal correctional authority, locally, or rather the state. In most instances, inmates do not serve a complete sentence and are therefore released to the community (Neubauer & Fradella, 2018). For instance, the release of charged persons such as Travis can be through a complete service of the sentence or by a release mechanism of the form of parole or pardon.


Stages in the Criminal Justice Process Subsequent To Conviction of a suspect


Primarily, it is paramount that a suspect of a particular crime be taken through the process of justice to determine whether he or she is guilty of the same. For instance, there is a need for a close judgment on the case attaching Travis to the issue of child abuse regarding Melissa’s son. Noteworthy, the weakest link between Travis and the charge of the child abuse is the fact that the boy might have fallen from the bank bed. Additionally, the strongest link is the fact that there were messages sent by Travis to Melissa telling her to tell the boy to lie to the police. This indicates that indeed Travis is involved in the abuse issue.

Campbell, H., Slack, J., & Diedrich, B. (2017). Mexican Immigrants, Anthropology, and United States Law: Pragmatics, Dilemmas, and Ethics of Expert Witness Testimony. Human Organization, 76(4), 326-335.

Cole, G. F., Smith, C. E., & DeJong, C. (2018). The American system of criminal justice. Cengage Learning.

Curtis, M. (2017). Mass atrocity, collective memory, and the law. Routledge.

Denver, M., Siwach, G., & Bushway, S. D. (2017). A new look at the employment and recidivism relationship through the lens of a criminal background check. Criminology, 55(1), 174-204.

Dobbie, W., Goldin, J., & Yang, C. S. (2018). The Effects of Pretrial Detention on Conviction, Future Crime, and Employment: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Judges. American Economic Review, 108(2), 201-40.

Emerson, R. M. (2017). Judging delinquents: Context and process in juvenile court. Routledge.

Messerschmidt, J. W., & Tomsen, S. (2018). Masculinities and crime. In Routledge Handbook of Critical Criminology (pp. 83-95). Routledge.

Neubauer, D. W., & Fradella, H. F. (2018). America's courts and the criminal justice system. Cengage Learning.

Pakes, F. (2017). Comparative criminal justice. Routledge.

Rafter, N. (2017). Partial justice: Women, prisons and social control. Routledge.

Roberts, J. (2018). Public opinion, crime, and criminal justice. Routledge.

Sikkink, K., & Lutz, E. (2017). The justice cascade: the evolution and impact of foreign human rights trials in Latin America. In International Law and Society (pp. 319-351). Routledge.


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