I need two replies to this discussion board on either agreeing or disagreeing. 150 words for each reply, the original discussion is attached.
This week’s topic has me going back and forth in my analysis of what our criminal justice system truly focuses on. While I do believe that currently our criminal justice system spends a lot of time on offender rights, I also believe that they strive to restore what was lost to the victim by means of either compensation or through punishment of the offender. Of course, I also strongly believe that in more heinous crimes, there is really no form of restoration that can be given to the victim, as their lives have either been completely changed or their life has been taken.
Let’s begin by looking into the rights that are afforded to criminal offenders. When an individual is charged with a crime, they are afforded several rights under the United States constitution. These rights include, but are not limited to the right to a speedy trial (generally within 20 business days if detained, 60 days if released), the right to a public appointed attorney for free if unable to pay for one, the right to face your accuser(s), the right to cross examine witnesses, and the right to not incriminate yourself (www.in.govLinks to an external site.). A suspected individual will be presumed innocent until proven guilty and it is the state or government’s responsibility to bear the burden of proof. Sometimes, suspects who are privy to their rights may try to enact certain defenses or “stall” to hold up the judicial process and create further undue stress on not only the victim, but members of the jury as well. Infamous serial killer Theodore (Ted) Bundy represented himself during his trial and attempted to use various tactics during the criminal proceedings to stall the court system and waste both time and taxpayer dollars. Additionally, Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma city bomber, attempted to do the same thing during his trial. Both of these individuals tied up resources within the courts and created further strain on their victim’s families by prolonging the deliverance of justice.
When we begin to look at restorative justice, where does the court decide what is appropriate for the crime committed? Sure, if property is stolen from the victim, we can begin to assess a monetary amount on what was taken. That same piece of property however could be passed down from a loved one and therefore have no amount of money to replace its sentimental value. Furthermore, acts of vandalism could seek restorative justice by having the perpetrator conduct several hours of community service, but can that person be rehabilitated by completing mandated community upkeep? As with everything else in our criminal justice system, I believe each situation varies.
As we begin to read through chapter one of our text we see the author talk about balancing. Samaha, 2018, writes “At the heart of our criminal procedure regime is the ideal of balancing two conflicting values…On one side of the balance is community security…On the other side of the balance is individual autonomy” (p. 7). I truly do believe that while the criminal justice system does try to synergize a balance between these two ideals, it is not always going to be the case. I feel that the courts should look at the offender, the crime, and whether there is the chance of recidivism. Courts should of course honor the rights of the accused, but sentence in accordance with the nature of the crime and probability of re-offense. There is no “cookie-cutter” approach to restorative justice, nor should those found guilty be given too many freedoms. The Book of Proverbs 27, verse 12 states, “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty” (New International Version, 2011).
Indiana Public Defender Council (n.d.). Know Your Rights. www.in.gov. Retrieved May 15, 2023, from https://www.in.gov/ipdc/juvenile-justice/information-for-youth-and-parents/know-your-rights/Links to an external site.
New International Version Bible. (2011). Biblica, Inc. https://www.biblica.com/online-bible/Links to an external site.
Samaha, J. (2018). Criminal Procedure (10th ed.). Cengage Inc. https://ng.cengage.com/static/nb/ui/evo/index.html?deploymentId=5688372456081340064147352622&dockAppUid=16&eISBN=9781305969049&id=1789573322&nbId=3467484&snapshotId=3467484&Links to an external site.