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The Criminal Justice System
Jackie Powers University of Phoenix Sara Burnette, J.P. CJS/200 December 6th, 2012
The Criminal Justice System

Components of the Criminal Justice System There are three basic components of the criminal justice system, the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches of the government.

The Legislature Legislature, both federal and state has the responsibility of defining the crimes and fixing the sentences for crimes. The legislature is also responsible for providing funds to the agencies dealing with the criminal justice (Walklate, 1989).

The Judiciary The second component of the criminal justice system is the judiciary. Judiciary is formed by the trial courts and the appellate courts. The trial courts are responsible for making the judgments and pronouncing the guilt of the people charged with crimes. The appellate court is responsible for interpreting the law in accordance with the Constitutional principles. The federal, as well as the appellate court also review the legal decisions and decide if they fall under the jurisdiction of law and the Constitution. If a law does not meet the requirements and does not fall under the Constitution, the appellate court has the power to strike down the law.

The Executive Branch The executive power rests with the mayors, the governors and the president. They are authorized to appoint the heads of agencies and the judges. They can appoint the chiefs of police and the directors of other criminal justice organizations. The executive branch is like the head of all the components of the criminal justice system. (Walklate, 1989).

Criminal Justice Process The criminal justice process has the following major steps.

Investigation The first step is the investigation by the police of the crime. This is done to collect evidence of the crime and identify the culprit and the suspects.

Arrest The second step in the criminal justice process arresting the culprit. This is also done by the police department. This involves taking the suspect or the culprit into custody untill he appears before the court for further proceedings (Roleff, 2003).

Prosecution The third step is prosecution of the criminal defendant. This is done by the district attorney. The prosecutor looks into a number of factors and weighs them before charging a suspect with crime. The strength of the gathered evidence, as well as the seriousness of the offense is taken into account before pronouncing a suspect as criminal.

Indictment The next step in the process of criminal justice is when the prosecutor files and information or when a grand jury indicts the crime and the criminal. Indictment is compulsory under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, when a capital offense