CRIM 130: Intro to Corrections
Professor: Joseph M. Jacobs
May 9, 2014
The first phase of the criminal process is the crime. Once a crime is committed law enforcement official decided the type of offense committed which can be categorized into two types of offense (any violation of the criminal law). Felony: The more serious of the two types of offense, bearing a possible penalty of 1 year or more in prison. Misdemeanor: Lesser of the two basic types of crime, usually bearing a possible penalty of no more than 1 year in jail. The most common misdemeanors include public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, assault, and theft (Neubauer, 2014). The second phase of the criminal process is after the arrest is made taking the suspected offender into custody. The third phase of the criminal process is the Initial appearance. The initial appearance is where the accused is told of the charges advised of rights, bail is set, and a date for the preliminary hearing is set (Neubauer, 2014). This usually occurs in lower courts where many misdemeanor defendants plead guilty. The fourth phase of the criminal process is charging. Recognizing criminal charges against the defendant occurs during this stage, stating which criminal law was violated. Also during this stage Information is communicated: Formal accusation of a crime made by the prosecutor, Complaint: Formal accusation of a crime supported by oath or affirmation of the victim. If the judge does finds that the suspect is guilty of the crime a arrest warrant is issued. An arrest warrant is an official document, signed by a judge, accusing an individual of a crime and authorizing law enforcement personnel to take the person into custody. The fifth phase of the criminal process is the preliminary hearing. A pretrial hearing determines whether probable cause exists or not to hold the accused for additional proceedings (Neubauer, 2014). The sixth phase of the criminal process is the grand jury. If and when a person is required to appear before the grand jury a subpoena will be issued which is a document created by the courts that requires a person to appear before the grand jury and/or produce documents. Grand juries make accusations; trial juries decide guilt or innocence (Neubauser, 2014). The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, states that “no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or felonies, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury.” In Hurtado v. California (1884), the Supreme Court held that states have the option of using either an indictment or an information. An indictment is the formal accusation of a crime, made against a person by a grand jury, upon the request of the prosecutor (Neubauer, 2014). In 19 states, the grand jury is the exclusive means of initiating prosecution for all felonies. A few states require it only for capital offenses. In the remainder, the grand jury is an optional investigative body (Neubauer, 2014). In Indiana the grand jury indictment is optional for all felonies. Grand juries have extensive powers, not possessed by law enforcement, to investigate crimes. Many legal protections found elsewhere in the criminal court process are not applicable at the grand jury stage. One unique aspect of the grand jury is secrecy (Neubauer, 2014). Because the grand jury may find insufficient evidence to indict, it works in secret to cover for those simply under investigation from adverse publicity. By contrast, the rest of the criminal court process is required to be public (Neubauer, 2014).The seventh and final stage of the criminal process is the arraignment. During this stage of the criminal process defendant are formally informed of the charges pending and must enter a plea. This is a significant milestone in the criminal court process because it indicates that the evidence against the defendant is strong and a conviction is likely (Neubauer, 2014).
In the United States, once a person has been charged with