The American Criminal Justice System: How It Works, How It Doesn't , and How to Fix It

By Gerhard Falk | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

The first duty of government is to protect its country’s citizens from foreign and domestic enemies. To do that, a criminal justice system is needed in all societies, large or small. The Constitution of the United States provides such a system, though it may seem antiquated because the document reflects life as it was in the eighteenth century.

It has, therefore, become necessary to interpret the U.S. Constitution in the light of present circumstances, a task assigned to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Of course, most Americans have no dealings with the criminal justice system outside of contacts with the police, and so public support for the American system of criminal justice depends mainly on the manner in which police organizations and their members are evaluated by citizens. Support for the criminal justice system depends largely on the manner in which the police are perceived by the citizens and that, in turn, is largely produced by the media. In fact, the media, and particularly television, portray police activities and the courts all the time and also show both real and fictional prison scenes—for example, TV programs like Hill Street Blues, Crime Scene Investigation, Criminal Minds, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. The public is heavily influenced by such television portrayals of the U.S. criminal justice system. Yet, much of what is seen on television is exaggerated for the sake of its entertainment value. Some of what is shown is, in fact, wrong. It is thus one of the purposes of this book to deal in reality and countermand the fiction concerning the criminal justice system so frequently promoted by the entertainment industry.

Public relations are of the utmost importance to the police and the American public. It is therefore in the interest of police departments and their members to improve their image, in particular in the black community. There, police officers are frequently seen as the enemy. A cycle of violence between the police and black gun owners is a constant

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The American Criminal Justice System: How It Works, How It Doesn't , and How to Fix It
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Chapter 1 - The American Police 1
  • Chapter 2 - A Brief History of Criminal Prosecution in the United States 23
  • Chapter 3 - Prosecuting Violent Crime and Sex Offenses 45
  • Chapter 4 - Prosecuting Wwhite- Collar Crime 69
  • Chapter 5 - Defending the Accused 89
  • Chapter 6 - The American Jury 109
  • Chapter 7 - Courts and Judges 129
  • Chapter 8 - The Prison-Industrial Complex 151
  • Chapter 9 - Probation and Parole 173
  • Chapter 10 - The Death Penalty- Non Omnis Moriar 193
  • Epilogue 215
  • Bibliography 221
  • Index 241
  • About the Author 251
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