The branches of criminal justice are separated into three categories: legislative, executive and judicial. Each branch plays a huge role in keeping the system fair and effective. No branch can perform functions that is reserved for other branches, although the Constitution created a system called “checks and balances” appointed to the three branches of government that allows some branches to have power over the others.
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The legislative branch is made up of the Congress, Senate and the House of Representatives in which altogether form Congress. “The House has several powers assigned exclusively to it, including the power to initiate revenue bills, impeach federal officials, and elect the President in the case of an electoral college tie” ((n.d.). The Legislative Branch. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/the-legislative-branch/). When congress passes a law, the courts review and can strike them down if it is unconstitutional, having congress then come up with a different version of the law. The Constitution grants Congress the ability to enact legislation, deny or confirm Presidential appointments, proclaim war and sustain investigative powers.
The executive branch is the President, Vice President, Cabinet and most federal agencies. The role these take is to carry out and enforce laws. The head of the executive branch is the President of the United States who also is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and head of state. “Much of the work in the executive branch is done by federal agencies, departments, committees, and other groups.”((n.d.). Branches of the U.S. Government. Retrieved from https://www.usa.gov/branches-of-government). The President carries through and enforces the laws written by Congress and appoints head of federal agencies, including the Cabinet. “The Cabinet and independent federal agencies are responsible for the day-to-day enforcement and administration of federal laws.”((n.d.). The Executive Branch. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/the-executive-branch/).
The judicial branch is made of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Members of the judicial branch are appointed by the President and confirmed by the senate, where as the other branches are elected by the people. The judicial branch is in charge of determining the sense of laws and how to apply them to situations and whether the law is following the constitution or not. “The Constitution of the United States guarantees that every person accused of wrongdoing has the right to a fair trial before a competent judge and a jury of one’s peers” ( The Constitution, Article III). The Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. The Supreme Court’s main duty is to determine cases that may be different from the United States Constitution. “Once the Supreme Court makes a decision in a case, it can only be changed by a later Supreme Court decision or by changing or amending the Constitution. This is a very important power that can affect the lives of many people” (Davis, K. (n.d.). The Judicial Branch. Retrieved from https://bensguide.gpo.gov/a-judicial).
Even though the three branches have their own separate powers, they can function together in many ways. Checks and balances was made so that no branch has too much power over the others, while also creating separation of powers. The legislative branch can make laws, while the President that’s head of the executive branch, can veto that law with a Presidential veto. While the President can veto a law made by legislation, the legislature can override that veto with enough votes. The executive branch can declare executive orders, but the judicial system can declare those acts unconstitutional. Providing checks and balances and separation of powers makes it so the three branches can undoubtedly work together to maintain peace.
There are eleven steps in the system for processing a criminal. The steps are; investigation, arrest, prosecution,indictment, arraignment, pretrial detention, plea bargain, trial, sentencing, appeal and punishment. These eleven steps can also be called “due process.” Due process is when each state must abide by all legal rights that are owed to a person. It includes equal treatment through the judicial system. The purpose of investigating a crime is to gather information. If needed to search, a probable cause is needed. Arrest of a suspect is taking them into custody until court. There needs to be a link to the specific person and the crime for an arrest to happen. When deciding to charge a person with a crime, prosecutors weigh in many factors, including the seriousness of the crime and the strength of evidence. An indictment is required when prosecuting a capital offence. A preliminary hearing is held if there is strong enough evidence to warrant a trial. Before a trial, the defendant usually pleas as guilty or not guilty. Pretrial detention is when the prosecutor is held in temporary custody, a bail is set up so the defendant shows up to trial. In a plea bargain, the defendant usually pleas as guilty in exchange for a sentence reduction.Trial is held before a judge or jury. If the defendant is accused of being guilty, the judge rules out a sentencing. Sentencing can include fines, probation, incarceration in a corrections facility or jail and or prison. Appeals can be filed by attorneys in appellate courts and then ruled by appellate judges. Punishment is issued by local, state or federal correctional facilities. “ Some cases will be much simpler, and others will include many more steps” ((2016, January 15). Steps In The Federal Criminal Process. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/usao/justice-101/steps-federal-criminal-process).
The legislative, executive and judicial branch help keep peace and balance within our justice system. Without them, we would have no rights and protection against crime. Today we are able to have basic human rights reguardless of nationality, ethnicity, language, sex, race, religion, or any other status.
- Davis, K. (n.d.). The Judicial Branch. Retrieved from https://bensguide.gpo.gov/a-judicial.
- (n.d.). Branches of the U.S. Government. Retrieved from https://www.usa.gov/branches-of-government.
- (n.d.). The Legislative Branch. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/the-legislative-branch/.
- (n.d.). The Executive Branch. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/the-executive-branch/.
- (2016, January 15). Steps In The Federal Criminal Process. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/usao/justice-101/steps-federal-criminal-process.
- (n.d.). Retrieved from https://fjc.adobeconnect.com/p83f42b5weol/.
- (n.d.). How the U.S. Government is Organized. Retrieved from http://ct2learn.com/els/resources/documents/how-us-government-organized/.
- Warnock. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/research/about-state-legislatures/separation-of-powers-an-overview.aspx.
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