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Lecture 1

CRMJ 254 Lecture 1: Week 1 Notes CRMJ 254

3 Pages

Criminal Justice
Course Code
CRMJ 254

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Defining Characteristics and Goals of the American Criminal Justice System Federalism: powers and responsibilities are divided between national and state governments each acts according to its own interests Federal and individual state governments have distinct and independent systems of justice: Bodies of Law = to define appropriate conduct for all, and to restrict the actions of representatives of the govt. Law enforcement agencies = to enforce laws and investigate crimes (police) (state) (counties) Court Systems = to interpret law, prosecute criminal cases and determine guilt (federal court systems and separate state systems) Correctional Systems = to punish and/or rehabilitate convicted offenders Sometimes federal and state interests might conflict! - Example: a states individual and recreational marijuana dispensaries run afoul of federal drug laws - Federal judge may strike down a state law because he/she believes it violates the U.S Constitution Discretion Making decisions should case move on to the next step of the process? Defining characteristic criminal justice Power and authority Once a crime has occurred, various actors use their discretion to determine what happens next - Crime victims - Police (investigation) - Prosecutors - Judges/juries Delicate BALANCE between Individual Freedoms and Community Interests
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