The processes involved while handling felony criminals is a safe guard against the criminals, and the processes also helps with willful treatment of the suspected criminals. The processes are specifically designed to impose the constitutional rights of the suspected criminals and the defendants. The process starts from the police contact with the suspected criminal, arrest of the suspected criminal, investigating the crime, trial of the suspected criminal, sentencing and finally the appeal. The major constitutional provisions that regard the criminal procedures are found in the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth amendment of United States’ constitution (Scheb & Scheb, 2013).
The fourth amendment protects the suspected criminals from perverse searches and arrests. Fifth Amendment gives the suspected criminal a right to life, liberty and protects the criminal from multiple trials. Sixth amendment ensures that a criminal is given the right sentence according to the crime committed and that all the necessary requirements during trial are considered. The eighth amendment protects the criminal from excessive bail, excessive fines and unusual and cruel punishments. Federal courts of the U. S must always obey all the criminal processes that have been listed in the constitution’s amendments. The U. S supreme courts have also adopted an approach for the state courts to determine a precise process for criminal defendant. The approach adopted by the supreme courts ensures that only basic rights of the criminals are protected.
Stages of Criminal Prosecution
Criminal prosecution always starts with an arrest. Arrest can be the culmination of police, investigation in some cases while in other cases; arrest can arise with least police search. Criminals are always advised on their ‘ Marinda’ rights during an arrest. The Marinda rights include: the right to have an attorney and the right to stay silent. Once the criminal has been arrested, a quick search for arms and counter brand is done. After the search, the suspect is then taken to the nearest police station for booking. During the booking, the suspect is photographed and fingerprinted, then the arrest is written in the police log. The suspect is then informed of his or her charges and at the same time, the suspect is allowed to make phone calls. Once all these are done, the suspect is held in a cell where he or she awaits the presentation before a magistrate. Suspects with misdemeanors; cases which are less serious, may be released on bond with a promise to appear in court before the magistrate. While suspect awaits his or her first appearance in court, the police write a grievance against the suspect.
The grievance is a written document also known as complaint that describes the supposed crime. The complaint is screened by the prosecutor and then the prosecutor gives it to the court. The complaint is viewed by to see whether the suspect is being held on legal basis. Should the court find that the suspect is not being held on legal basis, the court dismisses the person and orders for immediate release of the suspect from custody. Finding of probable courses by the magistrate, then the magistrate sets a security, also known as a bail, in the first hearing of the suspect. The bail consists of the conditions that the suspect will have to meet to be released from charge. Bails that are mostly accepted in courts are money though other liquid assets can be used. The bail is intended to give an assurance of the suspect’s reappearance in court for trial. The suspects who might be a risk to the society or a suspect that may attempt to run away may not be bailed and should stay in court awaiting the case to be solved (McNair, 2009). The first hearing of a felony case is preceded by a preface hearing. The preface hearing is done by the magistrate to tell whether the prosecution has enough evidence to continue with the prosecution. Following the preliminary hearings, the court may dismiss the hearings if they do not have enough evidence.
The cross references
This is where the suspect is cross examined to see whether the crime mentioned about him are true or false. Should the evidences be unclear, then the suspect is released and the police officers work is considered as wasted. During the cross reference time, the suspect should report any violation against him by the officer and such violation can also see the suspect being released.
Police officer must always obtain an arrest warrant in order to arrest a suspect. a police may also arrest one if sure that the person truly committed the crime. Arrest can also be done if the crime is committed in the presence of the police officer. The arresting officer must always read the Miranda rules to the person being arrested. The Miranda rules are the right to attorney and right to remain silent (Lippman, 2011).
Criminal has several constitution rights at trial time. the rights that the criminal has are: right to public trial, right to trial by jury, right to counsel, right to fair and impartial trial, right to obtain witnesses, right to confront witnesses at the court and the privilege against self incrimination. Violation of the rights may lead to reverse or vacation of sincerity on petition. The court appoints an attorney for the suspect if he or she cannot afford an attorney. This right is only done to felony crimes as felony may lead to imprisonment. The Attorney is present from the first stage of the hearing till the end of the hearing. Attorneys always consult with their clients so as to be competent during the trial time. Proving whether a suspect is guilty or not guilty is the duty of the prosecutor. Once the court has proven the suspect guilty, the case cannot be revoked. Suspect cannot face both federal and state prosecutions for the same offenses.
After a defendant has been convicted, he or she is allowed to remain free until the sentencing day. The decision on sentencing is made by the court. The sentencing depends on the nature of the conviction and the nature of the suspect’s supposed character. For example, a court does not allow a rapist or murderer to remain free until sentencing while on the other hand; a court can allow a non violent convict to remain free until sentencing by posting a bond. Sentencing for felony convicts is always heard separately and such sentences are held numerous weeks after the passing of the verdict. During the felony sentencing hearing, the prosecution recommends punishments whereas the defendants argue for leniency. Offenses that are considered less, verdict are immediately followed by sentencing. Combination of sentencing includes: community services, incarceration and forfeiture of one’s property. Courts can also exercise their discretion and order probation term. Defendants that have been put on probation are released into the community and are usually supervised by probation officer (McNair, 2009). Probation is normally done to first time offenders to make them reform and rehabilitate. The probationer will be summoned back to the court and be sentenced to a term in prison if he or she breaks the probation rules.
The U. S constitution does not provide the right to appeal a criminal conviction though most states do provide the right to appeal a criminal conviction so as to protect an individual from court errors. Appeal allows an individual to prove that an error occurred during trial and that the evidence provided was insufficient (Lippman, 2011, p. 619).
– Habeas Corpus Petitions
This is a writ of Habeas Corpus that an individual files after unsuccessful appeal. The writ of Habeas Corpus is a suit against the prison warden that challenges the constitutionality of incarnation. The basis for a writ of Habeas Corpus is to help an individual fight against deprivation of constitutional right.
Parole is the conditional release of a criminal who accepts to comply with certain terms and conditions before the prisoner completes the maximum sentence time or period. One who is released on parole should not violate the terms and conditions of the parole and should he or she violate the terms of the parole, then he or she should attend a court hearing so that the court determines whether the parole will be revoked (Garton, 2003).
The judicial explanation of the basic human rights has allowed states to have considerable freedom of shaping their own criminal processes. The practical rules and statutes are the same in many respects but the central and state government is responsible for their own criminal procedures. The criminal procedures vary from state to state. State and the central government do not have the power to ease the protections assured by the constitution but can increase or expand the protections assured by the constitution.
Analysis and Conclusion
In the light of analyzing the process of conviction to issuing of parole in the State of Georgia, we finally analyze an infamous case where several attempts were made to secure a parole sentence for an inmate. Troy Davis case was subject that attracted international media attention. Troy Anthony Davis, an African-American was convicted for murder in the year 1991 based on eye witness accounts despite lack of neither DNA nor physical evidence (Scheb & Scheb, 2013). The Georgia state Board of Pardons and Paroles stayed Davis’s scheduled execution on two occasions, July 2007 and September 2008. The latter stay was issued pending a decision following Davis’s federal habeas corpus petition.
In the final analysis, the paper has stated the procedure from arrest, conviction, and lastly the issue of parole. The Georgia state board of Pardons and Paroles serves an important role in criminal justice as individuals who are sentenced to life imprisonment can become eligible for parole after serving significant years of imprisonment, and having shown signs of reform. Furthermore, the board is in a position to grant individuals who were wrongfully convicted parole if new evidence suffices, proving their innocence.
Garton, S. (2003). MANAGING MERCY: AFRICAN AMERICANS, PAROLE AND PATERNALISM IN THE GEORGIA PRISON SYSTEM 1919-1945. Journal of Social History, 36(3), 675-699.
Lippman, M. R. (2011). Criminal procedure. Los Angeles: Sage.
McNair, G. (2009). Criminal injustice: Slaves and free Blacks in Georgia’s criminal justice system. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.
Scheb, J. M., & Scheb, J. M. (2013). Criminal law and procedure. Belmont, CA : Wadsworth Cengage Learning