The criminal justice process is very complex process and varies from state to state. Three models of the criminal justice process as discussed and reviewed in chapter 9 of out textbook are the funnel, wedding and net. (Meyer, Grant 2003) In this essay I will compare these three models of the criminal justice process and give my opinion on which model I think best describes the criminal justice system as it is today.
I will also give you a rationale for the choice that I choose. The first model I will discuss is the funnel model. This model looks at how decisions are made at each level in the criminal justice process and sort out those people and cases that it feels should not go through the entire process from those whom it feels should.
This process is used as a means of limiting the number cases to a small percentage of cases that have to be resolved by trial advocacy and incarceration. The process limits the amount of offenders in court and incarcerated at any given time. The benefit of this model is it prevents the criminal justice system from becoming backed up. The truth is the criminal Justice system is already backed up, and crimes are increasing on a daily basis. A common misconception of the funnel process is that it “lets criminals off,” however this is not true. Most cases are often dismissed or pleas are bargained due to lack of evidence.
The truth is that there is not enough money, to prosecute every crime. It is up to the State (States attorney), or The Attorney general which crimes are worth prosecuting, and which one’s need to be thrown out, or plea bargained. The Next model that I will discuss is the wedding cake model; it is referred to as a wedding cake because with this model criminal justice officials decide how to deal with cases according to their informal discretionary definition of “seriousness.” This model was developed by Samuel Walker, a scholar who analyzed the judicial system.
This model divides the criminal justice system up into four different categories: celebrated cases, serious felonies, lesser felonies and misdemeanors this model looks at the seriousness of the charge, the past criminal record of the offender, as well as the relationship of the victim to the offender. “At the very top of the cake, the smallest layer represents famous (or rather, infamous) cases that attract a lot of publicity and, unfortunately, often contribute to public misinformation about the criminal justice.” (Meyer, Grant 2003) Lastly I will discuss the nets model.
This model allows some offenders to exit the system and go free at certain stages during the criminal justice process; whereas some criminal struggle unsuccessfully to get free and often end up further entangle in the system. This model is designed to give the police desecration to use some criminals as informants to assist them in catching the ring leader. This model is also used as a plea bargaining tool whereas defendants with little information to trade with the prosecutor may get less attractive plea deals than their accomplices in crime that have more knowledge with which to bargain ((Meyer, Grant 2003).
This model has become more familiar to me as I was growing up, in Chicago, IL. I knew several guys who would go out and commit crimes together, and brag about it. They would eventually get caught, and end up telling on each other to get lesser time. They also tell about other crimes, to save their skins. I guess it’s a great model to use to get the big guy, or big fish, but I do not agree to turn a blind eye to crime, whether it’s small or big.
In my opinion the model I think best describes today’s criminal justice system is the wedding cake model. Much like this model in today’s criminal justice system is broken down into layers. With the first being celebrated cases or case that receive much media attention. Than in today’s system we look serious felonies these are cases where bail maybe revoked. The third layer of the cake in this model is lesser felonies’ often in these cases pleas are taken. The final layer is misdemeanor cases. This model gives us a basic understanding of cases is categorized today.
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