Prosecutorial Discretion As an elected or appointed official, the prosecutor is the most powerful official in the criminal justice system. There is a middle path. Beccaria believed the punishment should be severe enough to outweigh the personal benefits derived from committing the crime. An example of a proper exercise of legislative discretion is to make stalking a crime and to make that crime punishable by fines or imprisonment. Looking for a flexible role? 1 Roscoe Pound, "Discretion, dispensation and mitigation: The Very few crimes are under exclusive Federal jurisdiction. Discretion is defined as the power or right to decide or act according to one’s own judgment. As with adults, law enforcement serves as the gatekeeper to the justice system. Durkheim viewed the function of punishment as a “passionate reaction” to crime. Law enforcement officers start the discretionary process. This theory closely resembles today’s proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Judges are responsible for issuing warrants, supervising pretrial activity, presiding over hearings and trial, deciding guilt or innocence in some cases, and passing sentence on those convicted. Furthermore, correctional officers may use discretion when choosing whether and inmate should be part of a general prison population, or recommended for solitary confinement due to behavioral issues. Punishment should be a deterrent imposed to prevent recidivism, not an act of retribution. As substantive law, criminal law establishes what conduct is prohibited and the type of punishment a violator would be subject. Concerning crime and justice, legislative bodies have recognized that The victim, has the discretion to use self defense and to report the crime given the opportunity. In recent news, the Arizona Senate Bill 1070, has made it possible for law enforcement to stop any suspected illegal immigrants and to demand the proper registration documents. The purpose of this publication was to communicate his observations on the laws and justice system of his time. Perhaps the most influential decision under the Fifth Amendment was Miranda v. Arizona (1966). Procedural law compromises the means by which substantive law is administered. Discretion is "an authority conferred by law to act in certain conditions The provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment including the Due Process Clause will raise questions on Bill 1070’s affirmation. Discretion in policing and the court system is a necessary and unavoidable facet of criminal justice work, yet it is still very controversial. Criminal Justice Reform: Judge’s Discretion in Sentencing Is Far Broader Than What Most Think – and Reeks of Lack of Due Process! The departmental style influences every aspect of police work in that jurisdiction, ranging from hiring and promotional decisions, everyday police-community interactions, and budget decisions and resource allocation to police strategies and identification of crime problems within the jurisdiction. The Substantive law is written or statutory law that defines rights and obligations of those subject to the law. Unfairness that may exist is rare and aberrant, not a systematic feature of the criminal justice system. The process begins with the decision to arrest by a law enforcement officer in the field. Beccaria, Lombroso, and Durkheim each contributed to the field of criminology. He conducted work using bodies of deceased criminals. He theorized that society formed a “conscience collective” and believed crimes violate that conscience collective to form a punitive reaction by the particular society. Registered Data Controller No: Z1821391. Procedural law therefore drastically effects how substantive law is enforced. Although their theories are well over 100 years old, they can be compared and contrasted to current criminological thought. Instructor: Melanie Norwood Melanie has taught several criminal justice courses, holds an MS in Sociology concentrating in Criminal Justice & is completing her Ph.D. in Criminology, Law & Justice. Lombroso claimed criminaloids, or occasional criminals, were drawn into crime by environmental influences and only exhibited some degree of atavism. He opposed the death penalty in most instances and condemned the torture of suspects. Lombroso coined the term atavism and believed criminality was a result of primitive urges that survived the evolutionary process. His Essay on Crimes and Punishment further distinguished between his two types of proof: perfect proof and imperfect proof. Sociologist Emile Durkheim explored the idea of a community as a functional whole that translates the quality of life for its members. Company Registration No: 4964706. Supreme Court Justice Black argued that the entire Bill of Rights is incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment and therefore may be asserted by defendants in state and federal court. Discretion in Criminal Justice Systems. Most justice personnel are they cannot anticipate the range of circumstances surrounding each crime, As a recent development in criminal justice scholarship, researchers have begun to focus on the level of discretion that police officers have in enforcing the law. Durkheim’s theory can be compared to today’s call for getting tough on crime. They must decide guilt or innocence and issue sentencing based on judicial discretion or sentencing guidelines. You can view samples of our professional work here. The fact that a person comes from a good family, is wealthy, or is a promising athlete does not diminish the seriousness of their offense and it certainly should not lessen the sentence. Discretion exists when courtroom actors (police officers, attorneys, judges) have the flexibility to choose an appropriate response to a situation. Although Lombroso’s biological studies on atavism have been discredited by many in the field, perhaps enhanced scientific methods of studying brain behavior can attribute criminal behavior to certain physiological traits. Substantive law defines the legal pertinence between two parties such as person vs. person or person vs. state. Verified writer. The most widely cited studyon police departmental styles was conducted by James Q. Wilson (1968). Prior to the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Bill of Rights Amendments were interpreted as restricting the authority of the national government. His ideas were considered progressive in his time. Basically, they must decide -. Procedural law is designed to ensure fairness in the application of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. primarily a function of State governments. Officers are obligated to follow state statute and agency policy and procedure when making these decisions. Discretion is more formally defined as “the authority to make a decision between two or more choices” (Pollock, 2014, p. 2). Discretion is exercised throughout all levels of policing. Cesare Beccaria, Cesar Lombroso, and Emile Durkheim developed their own theories of criminological behavior during specific time periods. sentence they may impose. general terms, criminal … Within the highest levels in the chain of command, the police discretion is used for example in deciding to target certain areas of crime with the use of initiatives or policies, possibly through the … Utilities, railroads, and highways formed our nation and were a direct result of the affirmation of the Fifth Amendment and eminent domain. Furthermore, the individuals within an institution must have lawful authority to make the decisions and must operate under the constraints acceptable to others within the organization or profession. Discretion provides freedom to make decisions, specifically it is the power to make decisions on issues within legal guidelines. Born from the Classical School of crimin… In the State of Florida, substantial assistance is an agreement between the State, the defendant, the judge, and the assigned law enforcement officer to provide assistance with criminal information in lieu of a prison sentence. protection is primarily a function of cities and towns. VAT Registration No: 842417633. Parole officers face similar discretionary decisions when recommending or denying incarcerated defendants early release or violating there conditional release agreements. Elements of the criminal justice system such as law enforcement officers, prosecuting attorneys, judges, correction officers and probation officers are faced with discretionary decision making throughout the criminal justice process. To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below: If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on LawTeacher.net then please: Our academic writing and marking services can help you! Discretion of this sort is frequently vilified as the For instance, criminal law defines what constitutes a crime. Beccaria further distinguished between three types of crimes: those that threaten state security, those that injure citizens and property, and those that run contrary to the social order. Officers must use discretion when deciding to enforce the law when certain situations arise. Substantive law dictates that a driver must come to a complete stop at a red light, while procedural law dictates that an officer has probable cause to now conduct a traffic stop. As with adults, law enforcement serves as the gatekeeper to the justice system. It defines the procedures necessary to bring criminals to justice, starting with police investigation and continuing throughout the criminal proceedings. Prosecutorial discretion is an important and valuable part of our criminal justice system. For instance, a person arrested for driving on a suspended license, may not have their vehicle subjected to a search. However, the punishment exercised on criminals cannot vary from the standards established by the United States. Prosecutorial discretion is an important part of the criminal justice process because: it causes the system to move more slowly, but more fairly. He concluded that the majority of offenders, 90%, had committed crimes due to atavistic influences. Beccaria’s ideas were developed during the Classical School; Lombroso’s theories were developed during the Positivist School of thought while Durkheim’s were developed through sociology idealisms. The limits of discretion vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. This was in sharp contrast to New York v. Belton (1981) that allowed officers to search every vehicle incident to arrest. (1960) 35:925, 926. A recent United States Supreme Court decision concerning procedural law drastically affected law enforcement procedures. In fact discretion can be found in all stages of the criminal justice system. 3rd Jul 2019 Criminal procedure, or procedural law, puts substantive criminal law in motion. Discretion is a key part in the criminal justice process. As one of the five rights afforded by the Due Process Clause, the prohibition of the taking of property without just compensation has had profound affects on our nation’s infrastructure. is often delegated to professionals. Take a look at some weird laws from around the world! Do you have a 2:1 degree or higher? This ensured suspects that once custodial questioning began, they were informed of their rights, and subsequently had the right to silence and counsel to protect themselves against self-incrimination. Disparity in the Criminal Justice System. to respond to most crime rests with State and local governments. Top writers. The Miranda case was decided under the Fifth Amendment which is applicable to the states under the Fourteenth Amendment. Therefore, the introduction of the Fourteenth Amendment required the states to afford due process whenever depriving a person of life, liberty, or property. These components of the judicial system do not have total discretion; they must act within the admittedly very broad boundaries of the principle of legality. Get Your Custom Essay on Discretion in the Criminal Justice System Just from $13,9/Page Get custom paper Although it is common throughout the criminal justice system, some authoritative figures don’t use discretion in a way to guide punishments; they stay in accordance with established guidelines. The professionalism of policing is due largely to the desire to According to McGregor (Kleinig,1996), discretion can only be interpreted as those decisions that are made with lawful authority rather than decisions made for illegal reasons. Examples of selective observation in criminal justice Pages: 5 (1132 words) The Differences Between Criminology and Criminal Justice Pages: 2 (353 words) Give an example of a contemporary issue currently facing the criminal justice system Pages: 2 (358 words) Free resources to assist you with your legal studies! custody (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1964), p. 63-184. The punishment should closely follow the commission of a crime so the offender connects the punishment with the wrongfulness of the crime. the judges discretion in sentencing by passing mandatory sentencing laws First, there needs to be far greater clarity about what fairness means in the criminal justice system and a … Durkheim’s values are promoted in today’s “getting tough on crimes” outcry. Serving as an "interim report" on what does and does not work in the system, Taming the System concludes that not only has the effort to control discretion been a unifying theme in criminal justice history, but that there have actually been some successes, resulting … It is a part of decisionmaking in all government These boundaries include the U.S. and state constitutions, yet ambiguity in words of these laws often lead to discretion. Prosecutors exercise unfettered discretion, deciding who to charge with a crime, what charges to file, when to drop the charges, whether or not to plea bargain, and how to allocate prosecutorial resources. 1 Discretion is exercised throughout the government. decisions. Throughout the criminal process discretion is evident, from the police to the regulatory agencies right through to the Crown Prosecution Service. He firmly believed criminals control their own behavior and that punishment is necessary as a deterrent. Vorenberg, "Some abstract notes on the issue of discretion. 2 Wayne R. LaFave, Arrest: The decision to take a suspect into limits of discretion vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Durkheim argued that people behave according to social rules, customs and traditions that collectively form a particular society. The effects of zoning regulations and eminent domain have been drastic and helped shape our society. "1 Discretion is exercised The limits of discretion vary from State to State and locality to it prevents rigid implementation of criminal law. Beccaria’s principles have been incorporated into the French penal code of 1791 and influences leaders such as Catherine the Great and Frederick the Great. States, however, are free to abolish grand juries and may use preliminary hearings as a substitute. He found th… The role of discretion in the criminal justice system outlines what may form an aggravating or mitigating situation. This definition is useful as it allows discretion to be considered in a legal context rather than only when police officers operate illegal… Lombroso’s theories have been challenged by several theorists including Charles Goring and Earnest Hooton. And, nothing is perfect. Criminal justice agencies were clearly impacted by this decision. Furthermore, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides that no state shall deny a person the equal protection of the law. Prof Evander. For example, procedural law incorporates the following questions: the conditions a person may be arrested, when the police can search, when does the accused have the chance to assert a defense, and how long before the accused is granted a trial. ensure the proper exercise of police discretion. Lombroso was a strict positivist who explained criminological phenomena in quantitative terms that could be measured and ultimately controlled. Once the case is forwarded to the prosecuting attorney, multifarious avenues of discretionary decisions are available to resolve a case. Registered office: Venture House, Cross Street, Arnold, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG5 7PJ. “The essence of monocracy, the rule of law, is limitation of the discretion of officials, and providing a process by which errors or abuse of discretion can be corrected.” (www.constitution.org). The application of discretion is evident throughout the criminal justice field. it keeps the judiciary and defense attorneys from becoming corrupt. Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a law student. The Role of Discretion in the Criminal Justice System 257 discretion can enable judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and/or juries to implement sentencing policies in line with their own views, even if these policies conflict with formal law. But the answer is not to dismantle prosecutorial discretion – that would, to use the old expression, “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” A crime is classified as an act that violates the federal laws of America. Beccaria believed the jury should be compromised of peers of the victim and of the accused. For instance, since crimina I conduct is described in . Police departments have their own styles thatreflect the organizational culture of the department. Once an agreement has been made between prosecuting attorneys and defense attorneys, the judge may use his discretion by approving the state recommended solution, or amending the agreement. The five rights that have been applicable to the states by means of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment are: indictment by a grand jury for a capital or major crime, prohibition of double jeopardy, prohibition on self-incrimination, a person cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property, and prohibition on the taking of private property by the government without just compensation. Because of the power that police have to deprive citizens of their life and liberties, the role of discretion in policing is of great concern to scholars and th… In “perfect proof” there was no possibility of innocence while some chance of innocence remained in imperfect proof. Although discretion is a key component to law enforcement, most discretionary decisions are based on misdemeanor or traffic enforcement. The Miranda decision made the reading of “Miranda Rights” a part of routine police procedure to ensure suspects were informed of their rights. Discretion exists when courtroom actors (police officers, attorneys, judges) have the flexibility to choose an appropriate response to a situation. January 15, 2020 I always find it interesting when people express their displeasure over some aspect of the U.S. criminal justice system – or its judicial system – that they think is inappropriate or unfair. Criminal Justice System Criminal Justice System Introduction Criminal justice changes in rules, procedures, and terms from state to state. anticipate local mores, and enact laws that clearly encompass all conduct judgment within limits set by law. The penalty known as \”no conviction recorded\” is an example of a judge\’s use of discretion in sentencing. problem of the individual special case," New York University Law Review Discretion, in its simplest terms, is when one makes an informed choice between more than two options. Professionalism requires a minimum For example, some State judges have wide discretion in the type of That means that fundamental rights provided by the Bill of Rights were only guaranteed to those prosecuted in a federal court. Words are not perfect as numbers; they can often be interpreted to have more than one meaning. Points of view in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. The five rights are derived from the Fifth Amendment and were therefore only applicable to the federal government. Lombroso claimed to have found a variety of bodily features predictive of criminal behavior. *You can also browse our support articles here >. employed at the local level. level of training and orientation, which guide officials in making Beccaria believed torture would subject potentially weak suspects to incriminate themselves before they could be brought before a court of law. I Department of Justice. Beccaria’s ideas were developed during the Classical School; Lombroso’s theories were developed during the Positivist School of thought while Durkheim’s were developed through sociology idealisms. Procedural law establishes the methods used to enforce legal rights and obligations in civil lawsuits, criminal, and administrative proceedings. With the liberal movement, Beccaria’s theories may be sharply criticized by different groups that may consider certain criminal offenses to be less severe than another particular group’s opinion of the offense. He theorized, “A criminal is an atavistic being who reproduces the ferocious instincts of primitive humanity.” This theory was outlined in his classic 1876 work, L’uomo Delinguente. The defendant will often plea to the highest charge and maximum sentence in exchange for full cooperation with providing law enforcement with criminal information. Correctional officers give recommendations to parole officers when a parole hearing arises. Arizona v. Gant (2009) held that police may search a vehicle if it contains evidence of the offense of arrest. Most state legislatures are empowered by similar language from their state constitution. Administrative Law Probation officers may use discretion when imposing a violation or recommending early release. For instance, a vehicle fails to stop at a red light and a police officer initiates a traffic stop. “The police are typically the first contact that young victims and delinquents have with the juvenile justice system. In recent years other States have sought to limit or situations in accordance with an official's or an official agency's own The debate, however, surrounds the relative limits to this discretion. The prosecutor’s job is to seek justice, not conviction. Beccaria believed crime prevention was more important than revenge. that require prison sentences for certain offenses. Studies in this literature generally hypothesize that discretion plays one of two roles: either it serves as the means by which changing broad social norms against crime causes changes in sentencing patterns, or it serves as the means by which internal social norms of the criminal justice system prevent the implementation of formal changes in laws. throughout the government. 3 Memorandum of June 21, 1977, from Mark Moore to James He believed the modern criminal was incapable of conforming to rules and expectations of society due to an undeveloped brain. Cesare Beccaria, Cesar Lombroso, and Emile Durkheim developed their own theories of criminological behavior during specific time periods. ", To Criminal Justice System flowchart & table of contents. Beccaria stated, “Punishment should fit the crime.” He believed theft should be punished with fines, personal injury with physical punishment, and serious crimes against the state with the death penalty. Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. In misdemeanor cases, judges are often the intermediate between the prosecutor and state attorney. Beccaria stated, “Laws are the conditions under which independent and isolated men unite to form a society.” He believed criminals should be punished based on the amount of injury they cause, not their criminal intent. The discretion of legislatures is also limited by the U. S. and state constitutions. For instance, possession of oxycodone is a felony in the State of Florida, yet a prosecutor may change the charge to possession of a prescription medication without a prescription, a misdemeanor. This report has not been published by the Department. For example, a traffic violation, the police officer may simply issue a warning. The responsibility Born from the Classical School of criminological though was Italian Cesare Beccaria who first published his Essay on Crimes and Punishment in 1764. The type of information and future cases brought to the State Attorney as a result of the investigation will determine if the substantial assistance requirement has been fulfilled. This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. His Essay on Crimes and Punishment is claimed to have influenced the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. An effective and workable criminal justice system relies on police discretion. -File charges or petitions for adjudication, where the situation fits in the scheme of law, rules, and precedent. considered judgment and conscience. To ensure that discretion is exercised responsibly, government authority Law enforcement, out of necessity, must engage in selective enforcement regarding the enforcement of laws and must choose from a variety of alternative actions in order to resolve the situation. 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