Pretrial Procedures in the Criminal Justice System

Introduction

Criminal justice represents the system, which is a set of constituent elements that have specific interconnections and links with the environment (Neubauer & Fradella, 2018). Criminal justice consists of several stages of the criminal process, the first of which is pretrial procedures involving the initiation of criminal proceedings and preliminary investigation. These two steps have distinguishing features and certain functions, which are considered in the main body.

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Initiation of Criminal Proceedings

The initiation of criminal proceedings is the first stage of the criminal process because it addresses the central question of whether to start criminal proceedings or not. This is the obligatory step, which is inevitable for any criminal case. Like any independent stage, the initiation of criminal proceedings has its immediate objectives, a special range of subjects, procedural form, time limits, and final decisions (Hess, Orthmann, & Cho, 2016). The urgent tasks of the first phase are detection of signs of the committed or prepared crime; determination of legal grounds and selection of the appropriate procedure for further criminal proceedings; prevention of preliminary investigation and inquiry when they are not necessary.

The initiation of criminal proceedings has several structural parts, the first of them is receiving a statement or report of a crime and registering it. The second step is review and evaluation of the collected materials, verification in order to obtain additional materials. After that, the resolution of the substantive point is made, which is followed by the execution of the decision, control, and supervision over the legality and validity of the committed actions and decisions taken at the stage. In addition, an interim decision may be made to send materials on the investigation and jurisdiction, while taking measures to prevent or suppress the crime, as well as to consolidate the traces of the crime (Cole, Smith, & DeJong, 2015). The final decisions at this stage are the initiation of criminal proceedings or the refusal in the excitation of a criminal case.

Preliminary Investigation

Preliminary investigation is the second phase of the criminal process, which precedes the court proceedings. The conclusions reached this stage are legally binding, as they strictly define the limits of the subsequent trial in cases sent to the court. The preliminary investigation has all the features of an independent part of the criminal process (Birzer & Robertson, 2018). The essence of the preliminary investigation is the production of investigative actions aimed at collecting evidence (Siegel & Worrall, 2018). The main objective of this stage is the gathering of evidence to solve the crime, identify the guilty parties, bring them to justice, and solve other common tasks of the criminal proceedings. The preliminary investigation phase is mandatory in all cases of crimes, except for cases of private prosecution, where the preliminary investigation is carried out only on an optional basis.

The structure of the stage consists of several main parts, the first of them involves activities related to the admission of an investigation of the criminal case. The second one is the production of urgent investigative and other procedural actions for prevention and suppression of crimes, detection, and fixing of traces of crimes. Besides, procedural actions related to the adoption, execution of the final decisions, and final supervision of the prosecutor over the legality and validity of the investigation are included in the preliminary investigation. The stage of the preliminary investigation is completed by keeping in force the final decisions of the preliminary investigation bodies.

Inquiry

There is also another critical phase of the criminal process – inquiry, which is a part of the stage of the preliminary investigation but has its own functions and characteristics. This step is conducted by specially authorized institutions of executive power of the state — bodies of inquiry. Police are the main and universal body of inquiry, as it carries out inquiries in the vast majority of criminal cases and in any crimes, regardless of the scope of public relations, which they encroach, and regardless of the qualification of crimes (Copes & Pogrebin, 2016). The essence of inquiry is that the body of inquiry initiates a criminal case and performs urgent investigative actions to detect and fix the traces of the crime. The body of inquiry immediately notifies the prosecutor of the detected crime and the initiated inquiry. After the execution of urgent investigative and other procedural actions, the body of inquiry sends the criminal case to the prosecutor.

Conclusion

The conducted research shows that the first two stages of the criminal process are of the most importance. The initiation of criminal proceedings, preliminary investigation, and inquiry are conducted in the course of these stages. Furthermore, they are followed by the transfer of the case to the court, if all the necessary evidence is collected and examination proceedings are taken (Ross & Thaman, 2016). Officials of the competent authorities enter into legal relations, both with each other and with other participants in the criminal process: the suspect, the witness, the defender in the course of pretrial proceedings. They also have their rights and obligations under the law.

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References

Birzer, M., & Robertson, C. (Eds.) (2018). Introduction to criminal investigation. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Cole, G., Smith, C., & DeJong, C. (2015). Criminal justice in America (8th ed.). Hampshire, UK: Cengage Learning.

Copes, H., & Pogrebin, M. (Eds.) (2016). Voices from criminal justice: Insider perspectives, outsider experiences (2nd ed.). Abingdon-on-Thames, UK: Routledge.

Hess, K., Orthmann, H., & Cho, H. (2016). Introduction to law enforcement and criminal justice (11th ed.). Hampshire, UK: Cengage Learning.

Neubauer, D., & Fradella, H. (2018). America’s courts and the criminal justice system (12th ed.). Hampshire, UK: Cengage Learning.

Ross, J., & Thaman, S. (Eds.) (2016). Comparative criminal procedure. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Siegel, L., & Worrall, J. (2018). Essentials of criminal justice (10th ed.). Hampshire, UK: Cengage Learning.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, June 5). Pretrial Procedures in the Criminal Justice System. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/pretrial-procedures-in-the-criminal-justice-system/

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"Pretrial Procedures in the Criminal Justice System." StudyCorgi, 5 June 2021, studycorgi.com/pretrial-procedures-in-the-criminal-justice-system/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Pretrial Procedures in the Criminal Justice System." June 5, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/pretrial-procedures-in-the-criminal-justice-system/.


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StudyCorgi. "Pretrial Procedures in the Criminal Justice System." June 5, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/pretrial-procedures-in-the-criminal-justice-system/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Pretrial Procedures in the Criminal Justice System." June 5, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/pretrial-procedures-in-the-criminal-justice-system/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Pretrial Procedures in the Criminal Justice System'. 5 June.

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