The criminal justice system in the United States is aimed at enforcing the law, maintaining peace and order, and protecting its citizens from injustices. For a long period of time, 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. There are two models which have been agreed upon after many Amendments and they might be of importance in addressing the issue of punishments; these are the due process model and the crime control models. The due process and the crime control process are two models that have opposing functions.
The due process 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. On the other hand, the crime control model assumes that arrestees are already guilty by relying on the police facts. This paper looks into the role of the due process model as well as that of the crime control model in criminal policy procedures determination.
The study of criminal procedure can not be complete without reviewing the fourth, fifth, sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the constitution of the United States. Criminal procedure is a 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. 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 the criminal procedures and for making life more bearable for the citizens (Amar, 2005).
The two models are comparable in many ways although their importance in shaping criminal policies differs a lot. Both models hold that a person can only be prosecuted based on the law that has been broken. That is an individual can not 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.
Another similarity between both laws is that the police and other law enforcement officials are supposed to enforce all criminal laws and can not under any circumstance ignore the violation of law made by any individual irrespective of the individual’s status or position (Pelovangu, 2010). 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 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 but advocates for fair judgment and reasonable punishment towards the accused. Due process (model) is aimed at protecting innocent individual’s erroneous conviction.
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 the times when we find innocent people being punished aggressively by the police even before they are proven guilty. This does help in reducing crime; in fact it creates resentment which may even results in criminal activities. The due process model holds the society and the judicial system responsible for protecting innocent individuals from being convicted wrongly. 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 (Pelovangu, 2010).
The 5th model states that, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on the presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces…” (The Bill of Rights the First Ten Amendments, 2010). This amendment protects an accused from being punished twice for the same offence and from self-incrimination, and assures him of a trial by jury.
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 of 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). Many law enforcers argue that, the due policy model puts restrictions on their capability to fight against crimes, which is not the case.
The crime control model is aimed at protecting only the victims while the due process model protects all citizens including the lawbreakers. Many courts prefer to use the crime control model. They assume that the accused person is guilty and should be treated as so even before hi is proved guilty (John, 2003). They emphasize that the accused should first be arrested, then prosecuted, and convicted for the crime committed. The due process (model) pledges the protection of all residents (as stipulated in the 4th and 6th amendment of the constitution). 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.
It does not permit illegal seizures and advocates for speedy and fair trials. On the other hand, the crime control model does not pay attention to the protection of human rights. All it tries to do is to dissuade people from committing crimes and does not take into account the fact that innocent people may be judged wrongly. It takes the assumption that, there are times when one has to give up his/her individual rights for the good of the entire society.
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). 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.
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Amar, A. R. (1998). The Bill of Rights. New Haven: Yale University Press.
John V. O. (2003). Due Process of Law: A Brief History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 30-31.
Pelovangu, R. (2010). The crime control and due process models. Web.
The Bill of Rights the First Ten Amendments (2010). U.S. constitution. Web.