Investigation of a Crime

The process of investigation begins with the receiving of a report that a crime was committed or due to indirect evidence a criminal act has taken place. An arrest decision takes place as a result of a crime was committed, thus resulting in the apprehension of the perpetrator who has committed the crime. As a result of the arresting decision the suspect is then taken into custody and booked, "that is, the arrest is registered in a precinct house and the suspect is finger printed and photographed." (Boyer, 59) The next step involved is an in custody investigation, which involves the interrogation and an appearance in a lineup or appear on stage with people who roughly resemble the description of the suspect for viewing by victims or witnesses to the crime. The final step is the suspect is taken for an "initial appearance before an magistrate." The purpose of this is for the judge to decide "at first glance" whether the alleged crime was committed and if the suspect committed it. This process lets cases get resolved at this point as a result of guilty pleas, dismissal, or withdrawal of charges. If the judge gets the accused to honor to appear again for later proceeding's "released on the accuser's own recognizance". He or she can go home until later being summoned for proceedings. When the suspect is free or waiting in jail, the police reports are then given to the prosecutor or District attorney, he or she then decides on whether to charge the suspect with criminal activity and determination of the specific crime or crimes involved; this process also determines how many charges to bring, since not infrequently an individual has been arrested for more than one offense. The prosecutor may also decide not to charge any crime because of insufficient evidence, the police wrongfully obtained the evidence, or simply because the DA chooses not to prosecute a particular crime.

The grand jury system is used when the prosecutor appears before a grand jury, without the defendant or the defendant's attorney, and some evidence and asks the jury for an indictment. An indictment is a formal charging document describing the crime or crimes the defendant is accused of. In jurisdictions where the grand jury isn't used, the prosecutor goes before a judge at a preliminary hearing. (Boyer, 67) The DA introduces some evidence and requests the judge to issue information, which is almost identical to a grand jury indictment. The defendant and his lawyer may or may not be present at the proceedings.

Once the accused is formally charged with a crime the defendant is then arraigned with their lawyer present, then the charges are read and he/she is then asked to plea. a. If the defendant enters the plea not guilty a time is set for a trial and bail is then reconsidered or the defendant is returned to jail to await trial. b. If the plea is guilty and the court accepts it, the defendant is then sent to jail to await sentencing, this occurs after a persistence investigation is conducted by officers of the court. c. In rare instances a "not guilty because insane" plea is allowed. The defendant is sent for a mental examination before being sent back for sentencing or, if found insane, committed to a mental hospital. (Abramsky, 29) ...

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