This is how the topic reads in my syllabus:Criminal procedure is the branch of American constitutional law concerned with the state's power to maintain an orderly society and the rights of citizens and residents to live in freedom from undue government interference with their liberty. It is based on the US Constitution, most importantly the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth amendments
, and the US Supreme Court interpreting the constitutional text.
"Criminal procedure is vitally important in the criminal justice curriculum because is deals directly with the tension between ORDER and LIBERTY. In a truly just system, there must be a balance between the order of legitimate state power and the liberty from state control taht is the cherished right of all Americans. The law of criminal procedure is essential for maintaing ordered liberty. It means that every defendant, no matter what the charge, is entitled to certain processes to ensure that at the end of the day, he or she will have had a fair trial, conducted under the rules of law, openly, and in such a manner that the public can rest assured that the system is working fairly."
"Will some criminals escape justice because they hidden their tracks well and the police cannot make a case? Yes, and that is one of the prices we pay for a system that insists on due process. An occasional criminal may go free, but our goal is to ensure thatno innocent person is wrongfully punished. The system is not perfect, but its ideals do in fact govern. Due process in a democracy must be more than a mere phrase if the rights of the people are to be protected."
Respond to this premise. Have the courts gone to far in protecting a defendant's rights? Have they essentially tied the hands of the police officers making it impossible for them to protect society? Is the repression of criminal conduct the most important function to be performed by the criminal justice process? What about the assumption that there are limiits to the powers of government to investigate and apprehend persons suspected of commiting crimes? Is it better to let one guilty person go free, than risk an innocent person going to prison? Use case law, rules and regulation, and the Constitution to support your answer.
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