Stages of a criminal trail

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Last updated: April 28, 2019

Every country might have different sources of Law, identified, carried out and implemented in different ways. In France, the criminal justice system is quite complicated. It may be easier to understand if explanation about the structure if the judiciary are given prior to the description of the criminal process.

Justice is dispensed by civil servants of the Ministry if Justice, who are qualified by law. They are recruited through a competitive examination and trained at the National School of Judiciary. And have either the function of the Public Prosecutor attached to the Public Prosecution Service, or of Judge when they are designated as members of the Bench (Isabelle Miquel, Magistrate at Paris). On the other hand, Cuban Penal Law is similar to the laws of the most countries of the world than it is to the laws of the United States.

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It derives its’ procedure from the Civil Law generally and Spanish Law particularly rather than Ango-Saxon-American legal precedent. Historically, it is based on the latter development of Spanish Law, which in turn, was in reaction to the abuses of the Catholic Church and the Inquisition. In the regard, Cuba was ahead of the other Latin American countries, which accepted Spanish Law prior to these reformations. The several stages of the criminal procedure process lend themselves in the aggregate to a mixed procedure—influence from Spanish colonial period and from the brief period following the war between the Spain and the United States when American influence prevailed. Between 1899 and 1902, they saw the introduction of the Habaes Corpus.

BODYCriminal processes in every country might vary but the procedure are related and the same. In Cuba, all crimes are distinguished either felony or misdemeanor offences. If a crime is punishable by possible imprisonment for a period greater than one year it is classified as a felony while if a crime carries a possible sentence of less than a year it is called misdemeanor.I.                   Complaint / A crime is committed.

The criminal justice process begin with the filing of the complaint alleging  a wrong.  A person or persons usually make the complaint but the police can also make it . it alleges a wrong and the initial facts that describes the wrong ( F.J. Raucii, 2002)II.                Research or Investigation by PolicePolice and gendarmeries’ essential duties are criminal investigation, which is to record offences, gather evidence and seek the perpetrators. I this matter, the police and gendarmeries operate under the guidance of the Judiciary, and follow the practice stipulated by he Penal Procedure Code.

Which describes and rules each step of the inquiry. The purpose of any police investigation is to identify the person who committed the offense and to gather evidence of the crime for late use of trial (Isabelle Miquel, Magistrate in Paris). It was then that the Prosecutor determines whether the case should go forward and, if it does whether bail or confinement is appropriate. Like in France, Cuba as well has a form of pretrial confinement of no less than eight days during which the investigation of the accused can be conducted. After the eight days period, the attorney of the accused can become involved. At thus point, the counsel is entitled to read the investigative files and respond accordingly.III.

             Initial Arraignment / Police CustodyWithin twenty-four hours the defendants, or other calls it the suspect, be arrested. He must be taken before the judge for an initial arraignment which he is informed of the pending charges and to provide a copy of any document filed by the prosecutor , to inform of the defendants rights to retain counsel and of the right to have an attorney appointed to represent him without cost if he cant afford to hire one; and to consider whether to release the defendant or bail pending further proceeding in the case. In France, a suspected person cannot be kept in police custody for longer than twenty-four hours. After the expiration period of this period, the Public Prosecutor or the Investigating Judge may decide to extend the period of custody for a further twenty-four hours.In Alaska, they have an independent investigative and accusatory body, known as the Grand Jury, consisting of 18 citizens who are selected at random from voting, hunting, fishing, PFD and similar rosters. Their function is to act as a filter between the government and the people who are governed in order to decide whether sufficient credible exists to require a  person to stand trial on a felony charge. If the person is charge with a misdemeanor instead of felony, their case will not be presented to a Grand Jury. After a decision are bought out by the Grand Jury, an arraignment is hold to inform the defendant of the Grand Jury’s decision and will call upon the defendants to enter a plea.

Most defendants will enter a “not guilty” plea, which in turn will give rise to the need to have a trial.IV.             TrialTrials are presided over by the trial judge who makes rulings from the bench regarding legal issues raised by the lawyers.

A jury decides questions of fact-that is, what actually occurred in the case. They reach their decision regarding guilt or innocence by listening to witness and examining physical evidence subpoenaed before them by the lawyers. Frequently, a person is charged with multiple counts in a single indictment. Each count refers to the commission of a separate alleged crime by the defendant during one connected course of conduct so a jury is required to return a verdict for each count. The trial jury must unanimously agree about a defendant’s guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt for each count.

A jury may convict on all counts or just on some of the counts and acquit on others all depending upon how they view the evidence and decide the case. A “reasonable doubt” is generally defined as a fair doubt, based upon the jurors’ reason and common sense in light of their own collective personal life experiences. A person charged with a felony is entitled to a twelve-person jury whereas a jury considering a misdemeanor charge consists of six persons. If the defendant and state agree, a judge may decide guilt or innocence without a jury although this is done rarely.

Most defendants are convicted as a result of plea discussions between the defense attorney and the prosecutor. When a plea agreement (also known as a plea bargain) is reached, there is no need to have a trial since the defendant acknowledges his guilt by his plea without the need for the trail. Victims in Alaska have a number of important rights in this area including the right to be consulted by the prosecutor regarding proposed plea agreements. (Isabelle Miquel, Magistrate in Paris).V.                SentencingIn most felony cases, if a trial jury votes unanimously to convict a defendant the trial judge will order the Alaska Department of Corrections to prepare a pre-sentencing report and will schedule a sentencing hearing.

In a misdemeanor case, sentence is usually imposed shortly after the jury renders the verdict. If the jury unanimously votes to acquit the defendant, the case is over and the defendant is discharged. In the event all jurors are unable to render a unanimous verdict, the trial judge may declare a mistrial and the state has the right to retry the case to another jury. Unlike some other states, in Alaska the judge, not the jury, imposes sentence on a convicted defendant. The length and terms of a sentence are determined by law.

The sentencing judge is required to consider a number of factors in fashioning a sentence. Some of those factors are: the need for protecting the public, community condemnation of the offender, the rights of victims of crimes, restitution from the offender and the principle of reformation. Crime victims in Alaska have a number of important rights at sentencing. In Cuba, the court has ten days to make decision in writing. The decision contains the reasons for the decision and is provided to the attorneys (F.J. Raucci, 2002).VI.

              AppealAny defendant found guilty by a jury has a right to have their conviction, and the way their case was handled by the trial judge, reviewed by an appellate court. If the appeals court finds that a significant legal error occurred, it may remand the case for additional proceedings or possibly a new trial. In the event a defendant decides to enter a plea of guilty or no contest instead of requiring the prosecutor to convince a trial jury of his guilt, the defendant gives up many of his rights on appeal.

 The appeal process proceeds in a manner not unlike that in the United States, in that the court considers only legal issues, not facts. There can, under certain circumstances, be a “revision” of the case based on new circumstances or events. This usually affects the sentence but can also result in a new trial. (F.J. Raucii, 2002).

CONCLUSIONTherefore, it is concluded that most countries have followed the same trail to carry out a decision in a criminal case. It may differ how it is being carried out but the end point or the main process is the same as having an investigation, and based on the recorded and gathered evidences, a very intensive examination of the given proof of the committed crimes should be done with the presence of the independent body referred to as a Grand Jury. In every criminal case whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor offences, it was given equal attention as to determine the real cause and to derive a decision in a criminal case.

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