The United States Criminal Law – Essay Example
The paper "The United States Criminal Law" is a perfect example of an essay on a law. The criminal law refers to a branch of law concerned with crimes and provides the punishment imposed on offenders who are found guilty and convicted of a particular offense. Criminal law concerns actions which are dangerous or harmful to the society as a whole, in which prosecution is perused not by an individual but rather by the state (Jones & Johnstone, 2011). Criminal law initially developed from the code of Hammurabi and then evolved to Lex Talionis, Draco's law to Magna Carta law of England. Thought the dark and middle ages, laws were created or abolished according to the whim of the ruling nobility. The rules were established by philosophers or religion. Hammurabi code originated from ancient Mesopotamia where king Hammurabi of Babylon gave out the Hammurabi code containing principles that those who are strong should not injure those weak people. The Hammurabi code also had some doctrine that if someone brings an accusation of alleged crime and fails to the allegations, then the complainant shall be put to death if the charge involved was capital (Roth, 2010). From Hammurabi code, came Lex Talionis which was a theory of similar injury inflicted for injury suffered that is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. From ancient Greece, then came Draco’s law which was a harsh legal code punishing petty and severe crimes with a death sentence. Draco’s law replaced by Plato’s doctrine which proposed the offenders to make restitution to the victim and undergo rehabilitation. Justinian code then replaces Plato's law which was the most significant roman contribution to a civilization known as corpus juris civilians, meaning a body of civil law which contained early Roman law, legal principles cases and explanation of new rules. From the Justinian code, the English common law developed. Many Commonwealth countries adopted the English common law which creates a court system and develops common law which is a body of rulings made by judges from common customs and previous court decisions. In English common law, if a judge had ruled in an earlier similar case, the judges from the ruling establish a precedent which is followed later in cases of same nature. Besides the English law, there is also a constitutional milestone such as Magna Carta which includes common laws and statutes passed by senate, congress or parliament, constitutional law and administrative law. Magna Carta helped develop a constitutional government as well as due process of the law and trial by the jury. Magna Carta placed the government under the law controlled state power (Roth, 2010). Traditionally, American policing was seen by the public as an inefficient, corrupt and brutal force. However, traditional policing laid a necessary foundation for helping American citizens by protecting lives and property. Despite the police role of enforcing criminal law, they must also work closely with citizens to identify concerns and implement the solutions on how to counter the challenges. Community policing is thus necessary to provide guidance on police behavior and police actions and put these police actions to check. It is important for the police and community to develop a better understanding to foster better interaction in securing the neighborhoods (Baker, 2011). The United States criminal law is continuously evolving to reflect economic and social conditions. However, the United States at times finds itself in a dilemma between keeping people safe and protecting the liberty of its citizens. At times police breach the law to trap individuals who would otherwise escape beyond police reach. Prosecutors also at times wilfully withhold exculpatory information which can bear dangerous suspect guilty. Judges, magistrates, and jury at times consider valid evidence obtained through setting up a situation that invites a commission of a crime and then using the ensuing criminal conduct as a ground for arresting individuals who fall into the trap. The actions of the police, prosecutors, juries, and judges are done to protect the American citizens however at times they violate an individual’s rights to liberties (Neubauer & Fradella, 2018). The United States laws change due to a different culture and social conventions which shifts, reflecting a current tolerance for behavior, previously sanctioned. The changes in United States technology is the primary force behind the creation of United States criminal laws. Technology continues to increase global and local roles in the lives of U.S citizens. America’s legal system directly descends from British common law entailing the interactionist, conflict and consensus perspectives (Siegel, 2018). Consensus views that most citizens share common ideas and work focused on a common good that criminal acts outlaws since they are harmful to the society and conflict with majority rule, and that laws which apply to all the citizens equally also define what is wrong and right. The conflict perspective views the law as a tool controlled by the upper and the wealthy social class, who determines what is right and wrong and use this determination to control other classes. The interactionist views criminal law as a reflection of people’s values that use social and political powers to shape the legal system. Moral entrepreneurs define what is wrong and right; however, crime is subjective and reflective of modern values and morals hence criminals are described as a life-transforming event (Siegel, 2018). The United States criminal was is also shaped by various goals including deterring people from engaging into criminal acts, prohibiting harmful behavior, maintaining law and order, punishing offenders, and eliminating the need for personal revenge (Siegel, 2018). Despite putting establishing mechanisms such as restitution, rehabilitation, fines, community service order, probation, and parole to offenders found guilty of engaging in crime, the U.S criminal law has further undermined the black family, making it harder for the blacks to access jobs and education. Most Americas laws are repressive and reduce black men’s chances of earning a decent living, as well as being successfully socialized into pro-social values. Most sentencing projects indicate that a large number of black Americans convicted of crime felonies are denied voting rights, hampering the black community’s ability to effectively and efficiently participate in a political and democratic process (Reiman & Leighton, 2015). America's criminal law system is marred with overcrowded prisons, few criminal justice staff, undermanned and underfinanced justice departments, and lack of technical resources. Public support improves America's criminal law, where the community helps criminal justice in dealing with potential offenders through guiding and counseling, offering jobs to likely offenders and maintaining them (Smith, 2007). The U.S criminal law encounters the challenge of the ineffectiveness of crime control Americas big cities. Managing big towns demands a top-notch law enforcement administrator who blends a combination of advanced training, managerial expertise, and better education, a leader who can put the criminal justice system to proper effect (O'Brien & Marcus, 2016).