Essay: United States Criminal Justice Policies

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Essay: United States Criminal Justice Policies

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A. United States Criminal Justice Policies

The United States promotes the right to a fair trial of persons accused of a crime through criminal justice policies that embody an adversarial system designed to promote basic human rights. Lynch (1997-1998, p. 2118) describes the adversarial system of the United States as one that involves the following procedure:

  • A penal code defines a crime.
  • A grand jury accuses a person of the commission of a crime.
  • Motion practice sharpens the issues for trial.
  • The prosecution endeavors to prove the accused person’s guilt.
  • The defense counsel endeavors to do the opposite.
  • The jury decides guilt or innocence.
  • A sentence is imposed taking into account the circumstances of the case and the persons involved.

Different aspects of the adversarial system of the United States make possible the protection of human rights.  These aspects include the equality in the law of the prosecution and the accused person, the active role of the defense counsel, the determination of guilt by a lay jury instead of professional judges who are instruments of the state and the use of confrontation and cross-examination (Lynch, 1997-1998, p. 2119).

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