Court Process for Crime

Before the prosecutor formally takes over from the police after a crime has been committed, there are initial stages. The prosecutor presents the offense at the first court appearance, which starts the legal procedure. In the courtroom, the perpetrator is referred to as the defendant. Identification of the defendant and an explanation of his or her rights, including the right to counsel, are part of the initial presence. Since the defendant has the right to counsel, the judge may assign one if the defendant is unable to pay for one. The judge informs the defendant of the accusations before proceeding to stage two. After the initial appearance, the court proceeds to preliminary hearing. This stage enables the judge to decide whether there is probable cause (Denyer, 2012). The judge listens to submissions from both the prosecutors and defendant’s attorneys. In the event that there are grand jury proceedings, only submissions from the prosecutor will be heard (Brown, 2014). In both instances, the purpose of this stage to determine probable cause, which would be used to indict the defendant. Lack of probable cause means that there is no reason for the defendant to stand trial and the case ends here.

Once the judge finds the existence of probable cause, the defendant is arraigned; this follows preliminary hearing in felony cases, but occurs in the initial appearance in cases of misdemeanor. In this stage, he or she may plead guilty, no contest or guilty. If he or she declares there is no contest to the charges or pleads guilty, a dare is set to issue sentence for the crime. On the other hand, if the defendant claims innocence, a date for trial is set.

The judge will determine his or her innocence or guilt at the trial stage. At this stage, the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crimes leveled against him or her. In the case that there is a jury, the jury must have a unanimous verdict failure to which the judge may choose to dismiss the case or have a new jury chosen. In the event that the jury or judge reaches a verdict that the defendant is guilty, the defendant is sentenced.

The defendant is sentenced depending on the gravity of the offense and criminal records. He or she has the right to appeal the sentence in a higher court.

Rights of a Criminal Defendant

The rights of a criminal defendant are outlined in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eight Amendments (Trechsel, & Summers, 2005). Under the Fourth Amendment, the defendant has a right against searches and seizures where there is no probable cause for such. In the Fifth Amendment, the defendant ought to remain silent and protects them from double jeopardy, which entails a second trial (Trechsel, & Summers, 2005).

The Sixth Amendment offers the most rights to criminal defendants such as the rights to access an attorney, speedy trial, request for jury trial, and to confront a witness in the event that they provide false information (Brown, 2014). The Eighth Amendment grants the defendant the rights to obtain reasonable bail and that protects them from unusual punishments.

Determining the Appropriate Sentence

Various factors are put into consideration upon determining the appropriate sentence for a burglar. It is important to have a look at the severity of the offense. This entails evaluating the damage caused on the victims. It is also prudent to examine the criminal history of the defendant to ascertain whether he or she is a one-time or repeat offender for the same crime. In addition, it is important to be humane to evaluate the defendant’s remorsefulness (Catani, 2012). This will ascertain the reasons behind committing the crime and judging whether he or she was willing to learn from the event.


Brown, J. (2014). An Impartial Right: Louisiana's Infringement of a Defendant's Constitutional Right to a Bench Trial Through the State's Constitutional Provision Limiting a Defendant's Right to Waive a Jury Trial. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Catani, L. (2012). Victims at the International Criminal Court: Some Lessons Learned from the Lubanga Case. Journal of International Criminal Justice, 10(4), 905-922.

Denyer, R. (2012). Case Management in Criminal Trials. Oxford: Hart.

Trechsel, S., & Summers, S. (2005). Human rights in criminal proceedings. Oxford [England]: Oxford University Press.

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