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NCJ Number: 50092 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: PROMPT TRIAL CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS - FAIRNESS IS THE FIRST CONSIDERATION (FROM CRIMINAL JUSTICE ISSUES PROMPT TRIAL, 1978, SEE NCJ-50090)
Author(s): J J CLEARY
Corporate Author: Citizens Research Council of Michigan
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Citizens Research Council of Michigan
Detroit, MI 48226
National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE OPERATION OF CRIMINAL COURTS IS EXAMINED IN TERMS OF CONCERN OVER DELAY IN THE SPEEDY PROCESSING OF CRIMINAL CASES, WITH FAIRNESS NOTED AS A PARAMOUNT CONSIDERATION.
Abstract: THE DESIRE FOR SPEEDY JUSTICE, IF IT IS NOTHING MORE THAN RATIONALIZATION OF AN EMOTIONAL NEED TO HAVE INSTANTANEOUS PUNISHMENT FOR WHAT IS BELIEVED TO BE A SERIOUS CRIME, MAY NOT ALWAYS BE ENTIRELY FAIR TO THE VICTIMS. THE PUNISHMENT AND SANCTION OF PROSCRIBED BEHAVIOR BY THE COURTS IS A TWO-STEP PROCEDURE: (1) A DETERMINATION OF CRIMINAL CULPABILITY IS MADE; AND (2) SOCIETY HAS A RIGHT TO IMPOSE A SANCTION. IN SOME CASES, PARTICULARLY WHEN THE CRIME IS HEINOUS, THE TWO PROCEDURES ARE CONFUSED. WHEN A CRIMINAL CHARGE IS FILED THE COURT PROCESS IS INITIATED THROUGH ISSUANCE OF AN ARREST WARRANT AFTER THE FILING OF A COMPLAINT UNLESS THE OFFENSE IS RELATIVELY MINOR. ONE OF THE CLASSIC DILEMMAS IN LAW IS THAT, DURING THE TIME A DEFENDANT IS PRESUMED TO BE INNOCENT BEFORE THE FINDING OF A COURT OR VERDICT OF A JURY, HE OR SHE IS IN CONFINEMENT EVEN THOUGH AFTER CONVICTION THE SENTENCE MAY BE TIME SERVED. PRETRIAL CONFINEMENT IS USED TO SECURE PLEAS OF GUILTY SO THAT COURTS MAY DISPOSE OF CASES. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FORMAL CHARGE AND ACTUAL MISCONDUCT SHOULD BE CAREFULLY SCRUTINIZED TO DETERMINE AN ANTICIPATED SENTENCE. A CONVICTION SHOULD ONLY BE OBTAINED IF THE EVIDENCE TO BE USED AGAINST AN ACCUSED IS ADMISSIBLE. WHATEVER LAWS ARE ESTABLISHED FOR THE PROCESSING OF CRIMINAL CASES, THEY SHOULD NOT BE DESIGNED SO AS TO PRECLUDE THE ASSERTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL CLAIMS. THE PROSECUTOR HAS TOTAL DISCRETION IN DETERMINING WHAT CHARGES TO BRING AND WHEN TO FILE THEM. IF A DEFENDANT HAS BEEN DENIED A SPEEDY TRIAL, DISMISSAL IS THE ONLY REMEDY. A PERSON SERVING A SUBSTANTIAL TERM OF PUNISHMENT MAY HAVE OTHER CHARGES PENDING AGAINST HIM OR HER. IN THE INTEREST OF FAIR PUNISHMENT AND TO ENCOURAGE REHABILITATION, OUTSTANDING CHARGES AGAINST A PRISONER SHOULD BE RESOLVED PROMPTLY. EXISTING CONTROLS IN THE COURT STRUCTURE CAN INSURE PROMPT TRIALS, BUT THE SYSTEM SHOULD NOT BE DISTORTED IN A WAY THAT WOULD DENY FAIR TRIALS. CASE LAW AND FOOTNOTES ARE CITED. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Criminal proceedings; Defendants; Right to fair trial; Right to speedy trial
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50092

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