Criminal procedure is the branch of law with the mandate of maintaining order in society and protecting the rights of all citizens by ensuring that they live in peace and are free from government interference. This paper will look at the criminal proceedings concerning the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the constitution of the United States. It will also look at the roles, objectives, and challenges of the federal, state, and local laws, and the role of the private security organization. It will conclude by giving some recommendations to the challenges faced by law enforcement agencies.
The 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 12th Amendments to the constitution of the United States
The first amendment states that every person has the freedom of speech, expression, assembly, and religion and no one can be derived from his freedom under any circumstance. The Fourth Amendment to the constitution of the US states that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized” (The Bill of Rights the First Ten Amendments, 2010). This law prohibits the use of any illegally obtained object in a court of law or the use of an object that was obtained without a valid warrant. Every person has a right to be protected against illegal searches or seizures.
The Fifth Amendment to the constitution follows due process. This is a model that holds the society and the judicial system responsible for protecting innocent individuals from being convicted wrongly. The due process model does not support aggressive law enforcement by the police but advocates for fair judgment and reasonable punishment towards the accused. It is aimed at protecting innocent individuals from erroneous convictions. This model is of the view that it is not aggressive punishment that can deter an individual from committing a crime but the way he is convicted. Many are times when we find innocent people being punished aggressively by the police even before they are proven guilty. This does not help in reducing crime; in fact, it creates resentment which may even result in criminal activities.
The 6th Amendment highlights the rights of the accused to have an attorney, a witness, and be informed of the charges he is being accused of. Just like the 4th amendment the 6th amendment does not permit illegal seizures and advocates for speedy and fair trials. It follows the due process model. This model follows the idea that no one can be deprived of his right to life, property, and liberty in the absence of suitable legal processes and protections. Even if a person is convicted (in a court of law), for a felony committed the criminal justice system is expected to shelter the rights of the lawbreaker as per the (due process) model.
The Bill of Rights is employed through 14th Amendment, which is a clause in the (due process) model. The incorporation of the Bill of rights is based on the substantive rights that are contained elsewhere in the constitution. The incorporation is dated back to the late 19th century but accelerated in the 1950s. Presently, the Bill of rights has been fully incorporated and it is the work of the judicial system to ensure that these rights are safeguarded (Amar, 1998:23).
The objectives and challenges facing the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies
Most law enforcement agencies use two models to enforce laws: the due process model and the crime control models. The main purpose of the crime control model is to reduce crime rates within a society by increasing the powers of the police and enhancing prosecutorial procedures. On the other hand, the due process model is aimed at protecting individual liberties and rights by reducing the powers given to the government. Both models are necessary for shaping criminal procedures and for making life more bearable for the citizens. Both models hold that a person can only be prosecuted based on the law that has been broken, that is, an individual cannot be arrested for bad behavior on the basis that his behavior is inconveniencing other members of society. Enough prove must be availed regarding the convicted individual. Both models support that a person can only be arrested by police if he/she violates any written law (Orth, 2003:31).
However, law enforcement agencies face some challenges in enforcing these models. The crime control model is of the idea that a criminal should be punished aggressively as a way of deterring him from committing the crime again while the due process is of the idea that the rights of the accused should be protected regardless of the crime committed. The due process model does not support aggressive law enforcement by the police while the crime control model supports aggressive punishment (Orth, 2003:30). This raises the argument as to whether the due process model aims at protecting the rights of the accused person other than those of the victim.
Roles of the Federal, State, and Local Court Systems Concerning Public Safety and Civil Rights
The police and other law enforcement officials are supposed to enforce all criminal laws and cannot under any circumstance ignore the violation of law made by any individual irrespective of the individual’s status or position. The rights and liberties of individuals in society can only be protected if all lawbreakers are prosecuted as required. No one is above the law and everyone should receive equal treatment in case he/she violates any of the written laws. The federal, state and local courts use the exclusionary rule to protect the rights of the public against illegal searches and seizures and to ensure that they are safe from the police. The exclusionary rule is part of the 5th amendment in the constitution of the United States. For a long time, this rule has been very contentious because many law enforcers hold that the rule is unconstitutional and is not applicable in criminal proceedings. However, others strongly oppose this view and perceive that the exclusionary rule is a good method for dissuading police injustices. Many people understand that they have a right to be protected against illegal searches or seizures although most of them do not understand how the exclusionary rule works. The main purpose of the Exclusionary Rule is to discourage police officers from misconduct. If an individual’s right to warranted searches is abused by a police officer, then the evidence acquired from such searches is to be concealed in court. Many law enforcers argue that the due policy model puts restrictions on their capability to fight against crimes.
Objectives of the Juvenile Justice System
The department of Juvenile Justice is not only responsible for executing the agency but also for administering most of the delinquency services including but not limited to; secure detention and commitment programs. This system is responsible for ensuring children’s fairness in legal justice as well as in other social systems. A juvenile is liable for detention if the administrators feel that there is a need to protect the person in question, his property, or that of other youths. The youth may escape, there is no adequate supervision for the youth and that the youth is not provided with proper care, or the court offers its jurisdiction regarding the youth’s detention. Regardless of the reason for detention, the hearings must be heard within seventy-two hours (Critical Incident Protocol, 2005:12). Secure detention is normally used as a form of approval for probation infringements. All victims of juvenile lawbreakers are given certain rights. They are allowed to submit a statement in a delinquency hearing if the offense in question meets a given decisive factor. The judge or a district attorney may decide to use the victim’s statement to give his jurisdiction over the matter.
The Roles of Private Security Organizations Concerning both Corporate and Public Protection
The role of the private security organizations is to provide expert advice and financial support to the public associations. In most cases, the public and private organizations work together for the general good of the entire public. By working together, the law enforcement agencies can equip private security with the requirements to help in times of emergencies (Critical Incident Protocol, 2005:2).
The role of the law enforcement agencies is to ensure that law and order are maintained and that people live in peace with one another. However, the process of overseeing that this is achieved is normally characterized by many challenges. Some law enforcement agencies prefer the use of some law procedures whereas others have opposing views. To address some of the challenges faced by these agencies, it would be recommendable for all the law systems to work together. For instance, the juvenile justice system is not only concerned with the lives of the young offenders but also that of the entire society. By using private security organizations, law enforcement agencies can carry out their responsibilities more efficiently.
The criminal justice system is aimed at enforcing the law, maintaining peace & order, and protecting its citizens from injustices. For a long period, the laws have been going through amendments and it appears as if they will always be changed because there have been many controversies concerning the punishments imposed on lawbreakers. The 1st amendment gives people equal freedoms of speech, expression, assembly, and religion while the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments pledge the protection of all residents by using the due process model. The 12th amendment is all about the Bill of Rights. According to the Bill of Rights, all people have the right to life, liberty, and property and should be protected from injustices from either the government or law enforcement officials.
Amar, A. R. (1998). The Bill of Rights. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Critical Incident Protocol, (2005). A Public and Private Partnership. Washington: Office for Domestic Preparedness, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Orth, V.J. (2003). Due Process of Law: A Brief History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
The Bill of Rights the First Ten Amendments (2010). U.S. constitution. Web.