Criminal justice

The two models -crime control and due process- put forward by Hebert Parker have a major bearing on the criminal justice system greatly.

The models have been useful in helping to deal with the complexities in the criminal process. The models make it easier to understand the workings of the justice system by simplifying the values underlying the process. The two modes have both similar and different values but the major difference between the two is that the due process model concerns itself with the protection of individual rights while the rime control model advocates for societal security as well as order. The focus of the paper will be on the overview and analysis of the two models. In addition, it shall look at which model serves American citizens better.

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Parker’s crime control model

The crime control model has the following main assertions. The fundamental goal of the criminal process should be to repress crime.

The police should have the authority to conduct arrests and do fact- finding. Suspects are guilty until proven otherwise. The mode suggests that the main aim of the justice system is protecting the rights of victims and not making the defendants and their rights a priority. The criminal process should operate smoothly and swiftly and the main goal of the criminal justice process should be uncovering the truth and establishing factual guilt of the arrestees (Packer, 1968). The main assumption of the crime control model is to repress crime in the criminal process.

The model draws it authority from the legislature and not the courts. Crime control guarantees social freedom and helps to maintain law and order in the society. Applying the model helps to protect the people together with their property from harm. The model asserts that lack of proper law enforcement is tantamount to breakdown in the public order and consequently the loss of human freedom. If the laws are not reinforced and leads to a perception that there is a failure in apprehending and convicting criminals in the criminal process. Consequently, a disregard for legal control sets in and innocent citizens become victims of unwarranted invasions to their interests. The increased rate of crimes hinders the members of the society from enjoying their freedom thus limiting their liberty.

The model fundamental value is guaranteeing social freedom to the members of the society through the criminal process (Packer, 1968). To guarantee social freedom the crime control model advocates for efficiency within the criminal process to identify criminal suspects, determine their guilt and take appropriate actions in terms of convictions. Packer was of the opinion that a strong police force could contain crime for the known crimes (1968). However, it is important to note that many numbers of crimes go unreported and thus the efficiency of the model in crime suppression is questionable. For the model to be considered successful, the rate of catching criminals and bringing them to convictions must be high. For this reason, the model relies heavily on legislature instead of the courts to speed up the process as cases in courts may take a very long time before their conclusion. To achieve speed and finality in the criminal process, the process must be efficient and allow the cases to proceed without undue delays.

The speedy progress in the crime control model happens because the methods used are informal hence reducing chances of delaying cases by following the formal methods that might be challenged and waste time trying to prove the challenges. The typical formal processes of cases should be removed because they slow down the speed of cases. The process can be made simple and fast by interrogating suspects at the police stations instead of taking them to court where they go through the formal process that involves time-consuming examinations and cross-examinations (Packer, 1968). The model advocates for an extrajudicial process to a judicial process. Informal operations should be employed in the criminal process, as they are faster unlike the formal operations that follow many rituals. The assumption of the model is operating, as managerial models where different activities go on from one-step to another seamlessly just like a conveyer belt.

In other words, the crime control mode is perceived as a screening process where each stage leads to a successful finality. To achieve the successful convictions the model screens cases at the initial stage and using expertise it can be determined which suspects are likely to be guilty or not. Those who have a high likelihood of being guilty are taken through the successive process expeditiously and a conclusion arrived at sooner. On the other hand, those cases that have minimal or no likelihood of being found guilty are thrown out of the process. The police perform the task of fact finding in stations or in the streets and do not rely on judges and lawyers in courts. The crime control model relies on factual guilt, which is brought by the police through their fact find and used as evidence to prove that a suspect is guilty without a doubt (Roach, 1999). The basis for screening the cases is the guilty assumption. The arrestees are guilty according to this model until their innocence can be proved.

Thus, according to the model, arrestees are considered guilty and hence the government has the responsibility of punishing them. Moreover, law enforcement agencies prefer this model because they treat the suspects as if guilty and thus should be arrested, prosecuted and convicted for breaking the law. In this case, the police have powers to make arrests and establish whether arrestees are factually guilty (Roach 1999). However, some limitations are set on the interrogation methods to ensure their reliability by the police because coerced confessions would lead to incarceration of innocent people. The arrestees are barred from contacting their lawyers as this would only lead to delays and those who are guilty might get off the hook by following their lawyers advice.

They say that a lawyer should not come to the station as his or her place is reserved in the courtroom. Moreover, the police should have the authority to conduct arbitrarily searches on suspects because only the guilty would have anything to hide. The evidence obtained illegally should be acceptable during trial because evidence such as drugs or stolen property is a proof of crime regardless of the methods used to obtain them (Roach 1999).

Packer’s due process model

The due process works on the following assumptions. Reduce the power of the police to prevent them from abusing innocent people. Suspects are innocent until proven otherwise. Protect the rights of the defendants in the criminal justice process. The constitutional rights of every individual should be upheld by the criminal justice authorities for instance, the fourth amendment, which prohibits arbitrary searches.

The criminal process should have obstacles that safeguard the defendant from until proven factually guilty. The government should refrain from considering people guilty based on facts until they go through legal procedures to prove their guilt. Unlike the crime control model that resembles a conveyer belt in its smooth operations, the due process model is an obstacle belt. It has stages designed in such a way that they impede the case from going up further through the process. The model relies on the Supreme Court to validate its operations as well as on courts restrictions in the criminal process (Roach, 1999). The aim of the due processes is to ensure that defendants are treated fairly by the criminal justice system by relying less on efficiency unlike the crime control model. The due process lays emphasis on equal treatment of defendants or suspects in spite of their social or economic class. For instance, all have a right for counsel representation.

Thus, those people who are arrested are allowed to call their lawyers. The suspects who cannot afford a lawyer, the government appoints one on their behalf because the due process objective is to accord equal protection even to the disadvantaged members of the society. The due process does not allow police to find facts in stations and in the streets to convict the arrestees. The suspects are treated fairly and Miranda rights made known to them during their arrest. This will prevent them from giving information to the police that is self-incriminatory and can be used against them in trial.

The police should not take advantage of a suspect to get a confession to build a case against them. This step is taken to reduce the instances when police arrest people and sentence them before taking them through the legal criminal process. The police do not have the right to detain people as they do their fact-finding, they can find the facts then make the arrest unless when there is reason to believe that they will not attend trial (Roach, 1999).

The due process does not rely solely on the ability of the police of conducting investigations because the process can be faulty as it is not error-proof. Packer says that people are poor in observing disturbing events and their recollection of the events maybe incorrect and the confessions that arrestees make in stations maybe because of coercion and the police may end up listening to what they may want to hear instead of seeing the truth (1968). The witnesses of the criminal events maybe biased and against the accused and the police would not work towards finding the truth to its logical conclusion because protecting them is not their primary responsibility.

Hence, the due process rejects the informal processes of fact-finding. The model insists on formal fact-finding processes where an impartial tribunal listens to a case. Moreover, the model provides an opportunity for defendants to bring civil actions against police abuse or violation of their rights. The model also gives the defendant an opportunity to discredit the case set before them before making its ruling. The model also recognizes that there is a possibility of making an error during the criminal process and allows further scrutiny of facts in case the truth was overlooked in the proceedings.

As long as the defendant can prove that an error was made during, the criminal process scrutiny can be allowed. The due process model does not demand finality like the crime control does because the aim is not to conclude cases but ensure that the process is fair as possible to the defendant (Packer, 1968). The arrestees are innocent until their guilt is proven according to this model. It therefore follows that a criminal process should be conducted in such a way that the defendant is proved either innocent or guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.

The prosecutor and the judges should not encourage the defendants to enter guilty pleas during pre-trials by offering them deals. The criminal process should not be looked at as a burden that has to be done away with by entering pleas rather as a proper way process in the criminal justice system. The due process recommends that the criminal trial establish that a defendant is legally guilty beyond any shadow of doubt instead of proving factual guilt (Packer, 1968). The model urges that the police cannot do this but only judges and defense lawyers in a court of law can (Roach, 1999; Packer, 1968).

Best model for Americans interest

The American citizens ought to have an effective justice system. The strategy for ensuring that the justice system is effective has been debated for many years.

The two criminal processes modes proposed by Herbert Packer have been debated for long because they represent two philosophies- conservative and liberal. The crime control model advocates for a safe society where there is law and order and its philosophy is conservative. On the other hand, there is the due process model that advocates for the protection of the rights of people from any form of injustice and this perspective is liberal in nature. The political climate determines which model is favored by the society at a particular time. The two positions are in conflict and the justice system has had to choose one over the other over time. However, choosing one model to follow is not easy because various people have different opinions. The due process appears to be the best model for the American citizens. Some propose the due process model that seeks to protect individual freedoms.

In this process, the arrestees do not lose their right to be treated well as they are taken to be innocent. The law enforcers uphold the constitutional guarantees of the individuals and thus protect innocent people from being convicted wrongfully. The mode is good because many people have been convicted wrongful and served behind bars for crimes they did not commit. For example, Cornelius Dupree was exonerated after serving thirty years behind bars in Texas following a DNA exam. The due process for allowing the contest of the rulings against defendants gives them an opportunity to make appeals that may actually result in their exoneration. Moreover, this provision makes the American people feel that the justice system is fair in its treatment of all citizens because the constitution protects all American citizens regardless of their race and ethnicity. Therefore, the American citizens are protected against racial profiling even though this may not be the case on the ground.

Through the due process, the justice system puts checks and balances upon itself to prevent the government from treating the citizens arbitrarily. Those who oppose the due process say that it puts the rights of the defendants and completely ignores the victims of crimes. Moreover, the law enforcers say that the Fourth Amendment in the constitution makes it hard for them to carry out their activities of crime prevention as it limits them from conducting raids and searches.

The limitations arise from the various interpretations of the Fourth Amendment by the courts. The interpretations change over time making the work of the law enforcers hard because of the confusion that ensues thereof. Not only do the police have to consider the fourth amendment, but also the individual rights outlined in the bill of rights such as right to an attorney, assume an individual innocent until proven otherwise amongst others. In addition, the due process limits how far the government can go in treating and individual because the constitution allows individual a right to privacy. On the contrary, the due process follows the criminal process formally thus giving any American arrestee an opportunity to go through the process and through their legal counsel present evidence to the court that may prevent them from going to jail. Moreover, the obstacles in the process ensure that they are not sentenced prematurely before the cases are exhausted completely before they are either found to be innocent or guilty. The due process model unlike the crime control model which advocates for speedy prosecutions and convictions and relies heavily of the evidence of the police through their fact-finding acknowledges that the police can be wrong and thus does not rely on factual guilt but legal guilt proved in a court of law. The due process is far more realistic than the crime control model, which seems to infringe upon the ideals contained in the declaration of independence and ideals held dear by the American citizens.

Reference List

Packer, H. (1968). The limits of criminal sanctions. New York: University of Stanford Press. Roach, K. (1999). Four Models of the criminal process.

Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 89 (2), p 671.


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