The Justice System of the United States of America is comprised of 3 Federal Agencies responsible for varying responsibilities concerning both the upholding of justice, as well as its review, analysis, and application legislation: The Executive Justice System of the United States of America
How Does the Criminal Justice System Work?
The criminal justice system is comprised of three major institutions which process a case from inception, through trial, to punishment. A case begins with law enforcement officials, who investigate a crime and gather evidence to identify and use against the presumed perpetrator. The case continues with the court system, which weighs the evidence to determine if the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If so, the corrections system will use the means at their disposal, namely incarceration and probation, to punish and correct the behavior of the offender.
Throughout each stage of the process, constitutional protections exist to ensure that the rights of the accused and convicted are respected. These protections balance the need of the criminal justice system to investigate and prosecute criminals with the fundamental rights of the accused (who are presumed innocent).
Criminal Justice System: Law Enforcement
Though a number of rights derived from the Constitution protect the accused from abuses and overreaching from law enforcement officers, the arguably most important of these rights are the Miranda advisement and the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Miranda rights are the familiar refrain of police dramas. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” Though we’re all familiar with these rights, officers are nevertheless required to remind arrestees of these rights before they are questioned.
The other major restriction on the investigative stage of a case is the prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. This prevents officers from searching a suspect or his home without a warrant. There are exceptions for extenuating circumstances, such as when an officer is in “hot pursuit” of a suspect or where evidence might be destroyed, such as when a suspected drug dealer runs into a restroom.