Offices in the Judicial System, E.G. Prosecutor, Term Paper

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offices in the judicial system, e.g. prosecutor, private attorney, public defender, and comparatively discuss the origin, development, behavior and relatedness of each to the other person would be considered till such a time, innocent of a crime, in the U.S. judicial system when he or she would be proved found guilty in a court of law by a jury of peers or common citizens. On the functioning of the U.S. court system, we find that the important elements of a democratic society would be the presumption of innocence and a just and speedy trial by the jury. The framers of the U.S. constitution in 1787 established the judicial branch of government. This involves the administration of justice at each and every level. This would include administering justice on the basis of separation of powers to the local justice of peace and the magistrates and starting from the U.S. Supreme Court. More than that, the fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1868, provides that no state shall hold the duty to make or enforce any law, which would affect the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. At the same time no state shall hold the responsibility to deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without access to the due process of law. Again the state shall not deny the equal protection of the laws to any person within its jurisdiction. In the criminal justice system, the offices of the public prosecutor, private attorney and the public defender hold prominence.

Let us first have a look at the role played by the public prosecutor. In the criminal justice system there is a very key role for the "federal prosecutor" to display. In the United States the prosecutors are the key roles in any court trials. They are the persons responsible for the initiation and conduct of proceedings in the case of proving criminal acts. It is their duty to have a review of all arrests made and looks into the complaints, which are filed. The prosecutor also enables in setting bails and making a negotiation of the plea bargains. The prosecutors also have the duty to recommend sentences in cases of those who are convicted. (Stuart 1997, 134). In the court of law the public prosecutors represent the federal government. Their duty is to prove that a company or person has been found guilty of having committed a crime. But it is for the federal prosecutor to see that he behaves fairly and provide justice to the concerned citizen of the country, remembering also that he or she is the representative of the court. Some of them are known as the "United States Attorney." The total number of them is 93. Each of them is appointed by the President then approved by the Congress and later the Senate confirms the appointment. The term of service for the "United States Attorney" is four years. Depending on the size of the state it may be divided into different area or "districts," each having a United States Attorney appointed by the President.

Normally, as soon as a crime takes place, the prosecutors are called for consultation on the procedure to be followed. In the Federal Government, the prosecutors are often assisted by investigators appointed by agencies in collecting and providing information to them. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Secret Service (USSS), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are examples of such agencies. The investigators appointed by such agencies assist prosecutors in understanding details of the case by explaining to them the sequence of events at the site of crime, and about the witnesses. Many a time a number of such agencies are involved, but the prosecutor could even work with a single agency. (Stuart 1997, 135).

When once the prosecutor decides that there can be a case, it is for him to confirm by using all statements and information he has, that there is a "strong case" before the Government -- a case in which all the facts lead to a specific person or persons who committed the crime. Before coming to a final conclusion he considers direct and circumstantial evidences. The information provided by the witness who saw or heard a crime take place, or the video/audio tape of someone committing a crime, all are "Direct evidence or testimony." The information or statement(s) obtained indirectly, or not forming part of the first hand information is the second type of evidence, viz. "circumstantial evidence.
" People's impressions about an event that they did not set, but has actually taken place also come under this category. After assessing information he had from the investigators, and also considering the information he collects by talking with people involved, the prosecutor then decides whether to "indict" or "charge" the case. A formal notice to the effect of the person having committed a crime is given to the person when he is charged or indicted. The prosecutor may present the evidence to an impartial group of citizens called "Grand Jurors," as well. Evidence may be shown to the Grand Jury and witnesses called to testify, and a simplified outline of the case presented to its members. (Stuart 1997, 135).

Prosecutors give advice and also try to prove the guilt of the defendant in the court of law. The prosecutor, as and when a case goes for trial, try to convince the jury which are a group of citizens, that the defendant is a culprit and holds that he should be punished. Prior to the beginning of a trial there is a long preparation, taking even weeks and months. This pre-trial case is like a homework done. The prosecutor becomes familiar with the facts of crime; he also talks to the witnesses and studies the evidence, anticipate troubles that could come forth during the trial and then prepare the course of action. He may even study certain statements and sentences by repeating frequently that he could present it in the court during the trial with ease, and the name given for such practice is "moot court." One of the preliminary steps in this preparation is talking to the witnesses who may be called in the court for testifying. Another step in the process called "Discovery" also is a must wherein the prosecutor provides the defendant with copies of material and evidence that may be used in the trial. The prosecutor is obliged to provide the defendant with documents or information that may be used in the trial of his or her case. This process takes place many a time from the beginning of the trial to its end. (Ciampi 1999, 219).

If and when a prosecutor fails to do so, the court may expose him to fines or sanctions. And when the case with the prosecutor is very strong with a number of witnesses ready to testify against the defendant, the government makes an option for the defendant to admit his guilt or proceed with the trial and this is known as "plea agreement." The prosecutor has also to respond to, or file "Motion of Limine" before the trial begins. "Motion" is an application made by a prosecutor or defense attorney to the court, requesting it to make a decision before the trial begins. And the motion can influence the trial, the courtroom, defendants, evidence or testimony very much. On arriving in the court on the day of trial, the prosecutor and the defense attorney has to agree on the jurors on the case. The selection of the jury should be beyond any discrimination against any group of people. As the government is supposed to prove that the defendant is guilty, the prosecutor makes the first opening statement and he then makes the "direct examination " of his first witness. With this first step by prosecutor in the direction of proving the case, the trial can go for many days or can be over in a few minutes as well. (Stuart 1997, 136).

The prosecutor may introduce any weapon or something else from the scene of crime as evidence during direct examination. After the cross examination of the witness by the defense attorney, the prosecutor asks the witness a few final questions that the jury may be clear on any confusing testimony, which is called "redirect examination." On the completion of the direct, cross and redirect examinations the prosecutor would rests his case.

This is the moment when the prosecutor is almost confident that the case will prove with the testimonies of witnesses and evidence presented. Once the prosecutor rests, the government cannot produce any more witnesses in the court or any fresh evidence introduced. The final opportunity for the prosecutor to talk to the jury is at the closing argument. These closing arguments are meant to summarize the evidence and testimony and to ask the jury to give its verdict in favor for the government. (Ciampi 1999, 219).

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