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The purpose of an original oratory is to present a point or side persuasively. This work may not be used without permission from Brendon Collier.



Have you ever wondered what happens after a crime is committed? The law enforcement agencies investigate and hopefully find the criminal. For example, think of the O.J. Simpson trial. Some people say that Mr. Simpson is guilty. They say that a fair trial was not obtained. Today I am going to cover the major aspects of the criminal justice system and why the justice system is fair. The Justice System is divided into two major parts, the Federal and State courts. Federal and State courts are fairly similar but there are several differences. The Federal Courts have three major sectors. The major courts are courts of general jurisdiction. These courts are the first to hear about offenses to Federal law or violations to the Constitution. These cases are decided by a judge or a jury. If the defendant loses he or she may go to appellate courts. These are the courts that handle the appeals. If the prosecution loses, however, they may not appeal and try the person again. This would be what is called "double jeopardy", which is prohibited by the Constitution. If the defendant loses in appellate court they may appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. This is the nation's highest court. The Supreme Court has twelve justices on it. These justices may refuse to look at the case or the may rule on it. If they rule not guilty the accused is set free. If they rule guilty they criminal stays in jail. This is the highest level of appeal the criminals can submit. State courts are basically the same except they have what are called minor case courts. These courts include motor vehicle courts, small claims courts, domestic abuse courts, along with others. State courts also have courts of general jurisdiction courts, which deal with state law violations. The appeals and Supreme courts work the same as Federal courts. During the actual trial the defendant has many rights. Today's court system is based on the belief you are innocent until proven guilty. These rights guarantee a fair trial. These right help guarantee the right person is punished. One major right is the Miranda rights. The Miranda rights were passed by the Supreme court after a man named Ernesto Miranda confessed to murder without any rights being read. Anyone who has watched a police show knows what the Miranda rights are. They are the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and that anything you say can and will be used against you. These rights alert you that a confession may be used against you. If you confess before your rights are read it will not stand up in court. Another major right is the 4th and 6th Amendments. These guarantee the right to a lawyer and prohibit illegal search and seizure. In the case of the 4th Amendment if someone cannot afford a lawyer a public defender is appointed to defend him. With the 6th Amendment you need to have a legitimate warrant to search someone's house or car. For example if a police officer thought his neighbor was a drug dealer and he raided his house and found drugs this wouldn't hold up in court because it wasn't a legal search. Another right is written into the Constitution. It says you have the "right to be astonished". This means you have the right to deny your crimes. It would be like saying, "Me commit a crime? Never!". You are astonished to be accused. Before the trial in Iowa the evidence against the accused is put before a Grand jury, which is citizen from the state. If the Grand Jury decides there is enough evidence you are indicted. An indictment is a formal hearing on the charges. You state your plea, guilty or not guilty, here. If you plead not guilty the presiding judge passes sentence, or the punishment for the crime. If not the case goes to trial. During the actual trial the State's case is presented by the District Attorney and the defendant has his own lawyer. Both sides present an opening statement outline their case. The they call the witnesses they think will support their side of the case. Once both side are done with witnesses they move into their closing statements. These overview the highlights of the case. Then the case is decide by a judge or a jury. In the case of a jury the entire jury has to reach the same decision or it is considered a hung jury and the case is retried. Otherwise the accused either goes free or restarts the appeals process. In conclusion, the Justice system isn't really that complicated. It is also very fair and just. I hope that today you have gained a better understanding of the Criminal justice system in the United States.