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August 21, 2012

Essay Paper on Basic Criminal Procedures

12:30 AM

Basic Criminal Procedures
Substantive law
            This category of law basically encompasses the legal responsibilities that people have towards each other. The law is statutory in terms of composition and intends to govern and protect the rights and obligations of the people that are primarily concerned with it.
Substantive law further includes all different sections and segments of private as well as public law which further include the law of contracts, real estate property and even the criminal law in the United States. It is important to pay further attention upon the dimensions of the criminal law as they are discussed under the umbrella of substantive laws.
 The criminal law defines some behavioral practices as illegal and also outlines in detail the different elements that the government must make use of in order to get hold of the perpetrator and convict him for the crime committed. It is further worth mentioning here that the substantive law exercised in the US is derived from the common law and the legislative statuses. Up to the twentieth century many of such substantive nature laws were derived from judicial decisions and the principles that were derived from the institution of judiciary.
The application of the common law in this context provided a legal precedence to cases that emerged because of similar situations. The importance and the subsequent promulgation of substantive laws increased phenomenally when Congress and state legislatures took over the status that served as the substitute for many common law practices. In addition to this the National Conference of Commissioners is also playing a proactive role in proposing new legal models for states to adopt.

Procedural law
            The procedural law is designed to establish a specific set of rules by which a court hears and determines what happens in a civil lawsuit, criminal and administrative proceedings. These set of rules and legal injunctions that have been laid down by the procedural law are applied to test the consistency of the law and its effectiveness in the US courts. It can be said that the validity of the functioning of courts and the legal procedures that have been laid down in the form of actual claims and defenses are tested with the help of the salient features of the procedural law.
Once we are done with the development of the understanding of the salient features that are integral to both kinds of laws, it is important to consider the key differences that differentiate the two. It is important to notify that the procedural law outlines the process that the case will go through irrespective of the fact whether the court undergoes the trial or not.
Furthermore it is also important that both these laws share a very symbiotic relationship. With the help of the procedural law the legal proceedings regarding the enforcement of the substantive law are outlined. Even though both of them are mutually dependent the substantive law defines and outlines the different ways in which the case has to be handled, the investigation phases and pre-requisites that need to be conducted and the method through which the crime has to be charged. In short, it deals with the subject matter that is related to the case.
Despite of these differences it is also significant to outline that both of these laws are affected by the decisions made by the Supreme Court and are also subjected to constitutional interpretations, but each serve a completely different function in the criminal justice system. Both of these laws vary from the jurisprudence that has been defined by each of the state, it is basically their mechanical structure and subsequently their application that varies.
Exemption from law and exceptions to convention
            Even though it is a universal rule no individual irrespective of his status or position is not immune to the law and there are no dual standards that are established in developed states when it comes to the implementation of the law.
However in some exceptions one can easily notice that some of the people that are normally considered as elites of the society are considered immune or insulated to the law in the form and the method that it exists for others.
For instance some of the situations that can be described and supported in this context are the recent DUI exemption that has been obtained by state legislators and law makers. It is also important to state here that the DUI or driving under the influence is considered a serious offense in many of the US states as it has become the leading cause of serious accidents and casualties of innocent people all over the country.
Despite of all the past events that have taken place it has clearly been mentioned in the Colorado Constitution that ‘no member of the Colorado General Assembly may be arrested while in route to or from legislative sessions, except for treason or felony violations’…..The other clause of the constitution is further discussed in clause 4 which states that ‘In the absence of felony violations, should an officer have reason to believe a legislator is driving under the influence, the officer may cite for a violation which caused an accident or was the reason for a traffic stop.  For the safety and welfare of the public and the legislator, the officer will arrange for other transportation for the legislator and his/her vehicle will be parked and locked’ after looking at the clauses that have been mentioned in article 1 and article 4 of the constitution it is clear that the legislators are being provided exemption from any kind of criminal or legal proceeding that they need to encounter when driving their car in an intoxicated state. However one cannot figure out any proper or authentic reason through the application this kind of exemption to the legislator from being arrested looks justified or legitimized.
Another important aspect that needs to be considered when we discuss the exemptions of people from criminal charges or proceedings is the sensitive case of diplomats and the immunity that he brings along with himself to the country where he is deployed by his own country. This kind of immunity is provided to foreign representatives by the international law and hence no host state can charge them for any crime.
Even in cases when there has been a violation of a country’s law by the diplomat he has been able to shield himself from legal and criminal proceedings by making use of his immunity that he possess from the international law.
Even though the immunity and the legal protection that the international law provides to them is considered unethical susceptible to objection in some cases, but it is undoubtedly the fact that diplomats are the only group of people that are provided legitimized exemption from arrest or even search of vehicles or their residences.
Expert and lay witness
            While investigating the different dimensions of the crime the Federal Rules of Evidence has actually laid down to specific criterions that are acknowledged when gathering evidences from the witnesses. One of known as lay witnesses while the other is known as an expert witness, it is first and foremost important to understand what do these two terms mean.
A lay witness is basically defined as a witness who has personal knowledge about the underlying facts related to the incident that took place. These kinds of witnesses testify to facts, information and perceptions that are present in their own personal experience. An example of a lay witness can be of a man who watched his friend stabbing another person or engaging in some other criminal exercise.
On the flip side an expert witness is defined as person who has special knowledge, training and experience to identify and concurrently understand the different dynamics of a crime that has taken place. Therefore it is needless to say that an expert witness has more knowledge, skill and experience than any other type of mediocre witness. In many instances the expert witnesses that were presented in front of the court were proficients and experts from the fields of criminology, forensic and medical sciences.
 It is also important to bring into notice that a lay witness is not presented in front of the jury of the court to testify his claims regarding the incidence of a crime because of their low degree of reliability, but an expert witness is approached by the court as his testimony and the method applied and used by the witness in terms of the presentation of facts can prove effective of for the court in uncovering a previously unexplored angle or dimension of the case.
 It is extremely important especially in terms of legality and legal issues that the choice of witness is carefully determined. The priority of a lay witness over an expert can greatly distort facts and the angles with which the case is being dealt. Apart from this an expert witness provides authentic information completely sidelining his testimony from any personal biases, influences, experiences or prejudices.
Furthermore it is very important for the jury to make appropriate and careful selection primarily because it is the matter of life and death for a person. It is the responsibility of the law to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent, until and unless the careful choice of witness is not made the sole purpose of providing justice to people that a legal institution has been created for will remain unfulfilled and void. (Edward, 2006)
The granting of Probation
            There are number of criterions that have been established for the granting of probation in different states of the country. But before moving on to that it is important for us to understand the legal context in which the terminology of probation is applied.
The term in literal sense is mainly used for the testing of behavior or abilities, however in legal context it is important to state that the term is mainly used to specify and outline a certain number of rules and regulations for the offender that are set forth by the court and it is also ensured by the court that the guidelines that the court are adhered by the offender and for the fulfillment of this purpose a special probation officer is also appointed in most of the conditions.
Most of these specifications require offenders to curtail and abstain from the use of firearms, implement upon the instructions that the probation officer has mentioned and stay in a directed place. However apart from all these components it is also important to discuss the issue as to who should be granted with probation. If we look at the history of probation we will come to know that prior to the advent of democracy the concept of probation was mainly applied to suspend the time of the execution of the criminal by providing him with an opportunity to rejuvenate his life and bring it on track again.
 It is basically a form of a second chance that is provided to people who are actually criminals to review and reassess their lives. Probation in the US was first introduced in 1880 in the state of Massachusetts which was later adopted and ratified by all the 51 states of the country with the passage of time.
Mostly the effort is looked down as a humanitarian effort to enhance and reshape the image of family, employment and religion for criminals who are normally sentenced to death, but on the basis and the measure of improvement during their time of probation may also help in reducing their level or intensity of sentence or even its duration. I
n some exceptional cases the behavior of probation has also led to the pardoning of the criminal but it has only been observed in some exceptional cases in which neither the crime nor the sentence was of gravitating magnitude. It is also important to note regarding probation that criminals of severe nature and criminal intent are only provided with probation, every criminal is not provided with this enhancement behavior strategy.


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