Legal Rights Afforded to the Accused

677 words | 3 page(s)

The legal process of the US is systematic, specific, and particular. A certain action or word can change the entire outcome of a case. Plaintiffs can become defendants and vice versa because of certain utterances or actions. An innocent suspect can incriminate themselves during a legal process as well. To avoid any unintentional use of certain legal structures for self-incrimination, there are specific procedures outlined within the judicial system that guide law enforcers, suspects, plaintiffs, defendants, lawyers, attorneys, and judges on their code of conduct to ensure justice is administered adequately to everyone.

When John started the act of self-incrimination, two things could have been involved. One is that he was not aware of his Miranda rights, and secondly, he decided to ignore the rights. For the first case, the right procedure for the officers was to let him know his right to remain silent and that whatever he said could and would be used against him in a court of law (Neubauer & Meinhold, 2016). However, regarding the same element, some law practitioners argue that police officers are not obliged to let one know his or her Miranda rights as long as they have stated the reason for arresting a suspect. For the second case, the officers would inform John of his Miranda rights, and if he continued to self-incriminate himself, the police would be obliged to present that evidence in court.

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After John’s arrest and interview at the police station, the officers can present him for DNA samples to be taken. Afterward, three steps can be made by the officers, which primarily depend on the outcome of the interview at the police station. One is that John can be given bail and informed to report back at a future date. Secondly, the charges could be dropped and John released for that case. The last scenario has the highest probability of occurring. Charges would be pressed and the officers would put John in a cell as he awaits a court bail hearing. The third scenario is highly likely due to the nature of John’s crime, his improper documentation as an immigrant, and the absence of family or close people that could post his bail.

One similarity between preliminary hearings and a grand jury proceedings is that both systems usually aim at reaching a verdict regarding a case. In addition, a judge is present in the two systems. During preliminary hearings and jury proceedings, both the prosecution and defense are given opportunities to make their claims and arguments. Regarding the differences, during preliminary hearings, the verdict is made by the judge while in jury proceedings, the jury makes the determination (Welch & Fuller, 2013). Another difference is that jury proceedings are mainly for more serious crimes as compared to preliminary hearings. Jury cases also take longer than preliminary cases before a verdict is ruled. Finally, the verdict in jury proceedings is a consensus process which involves voting while in preliminary proceedings, it is purely made by the judge with the consultation of the legal and judicial structures.

One aspect of consideration when setting bail for John would be his risk of flight or disappearing. The other element would be the nature of John’s crime and the danger he poses to the public once he is released. The judge would also factor in the probability of John threatening or intimidating the witnesses involved in his case.

An arraignment is the court process where a suspect is officially charged with committing a particular crime. This occurs after the District Attorney files a criminal complaint against a suspect. During an arraignment, the court usually outlines the crime(s) that the suspect is being charged with. Afterward, the court then lets the suspect be aware of their right to a lawyer. The suspect then pleads innocent or guilty after which the judge can decide whether to grant bail.

  • Neubauer, D. W. & Meinhold, S. S. (2016). Judicial Process: Law, Courts, and Politics in the United States. Cengage Learning.
  • Welch, C. & Fuller, J. R. (2013). American Criminal Courts: Legal Process and Social Context. Routledge Publishers.

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