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The United States Criminal Court System

A Criminal Justice System is a practice used by independent states and organizations to ensure that law and order are maintained by controlling criminal activities and sanctioning those who are caught violating the set rules and regulations. But as much as the government attempts to bring to justice the suspected offenders, the offenders’ individual rights must be respected regardless of the account on which he has been convicted.

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The Criminal Justice System in the U.S was drawn within the provisions in the President’s Commission on Law and Administration of 1967. The Commission allows for the enforcement of standards that are geared to protect the entire American Community through a systems approach in the prevention and fighting of crime. The systems approach involves the coordination of all the concerned parties, i.e. the law enforcers, correction agencies, and courts (Garland, et al., 2002, pp.20). Due to the heavy responsibility that the Criminal Courts, the concerned officers find themselves unable to

apprehend all the offenders who are believed to have committed crimes. Criminal acts are those actions that are regarded as harmful to society as a whole. This essay will try to highlight the difficulties facing the Criminal Court System in the United States, particularly analyzing its capacity and the cases which it has to handle.

The United States Court System

A Criminal Justice System encompasses three factions that operate in a more unified way, that is the law enforcers (police), adjudication (courts), and the correction facilities (prisons, jails, parole, and probation). The fact that the United States is the world’s superpower drives them into getting involved in seeking to solve a number of criminal cases with the aim of restoring justice to the affected states. Once captured, the criminals have to be brought to book, and this basically happens on the U.S account. The concept leaves the U.S with several cases to attend to in the international arena on top of what they have at home.

Such incidences that overburden the court system are what president Obama considered and opted to decongest the court’s load by announcing the closure of Guantanamo Camp. Due to this perceived burden, pressure is weighing down the U.S Criminal Justice to such a point that they have started losing their credibility in the face of the world and their own people. This has led to the system being put under scrutiny by some human rights organizations (Scharf, 1999, pp.97). The reports claim that since the system cannot cover the entire capacity within its docket, it has shifted direction to focus only on minority groups that mete out harsh punishment for very minor crimes.

There are statistical reports to substantiate this claim in (Risman, 2002, pp.2); he goes further to call for a complete overhaul of the justice system based on their promotion of these negative consequences the courts are spreading. “The world is very much aware of the human rights processes and equality in this 21st Century and can therefore not be duped in a way” (Risman, pp.4).

If the statistics are anything to go by, then it is high time the current administration address the issue, either by expanding the system in terms of available staff or by reviewing the manner in which punishment is administered on the offenders [it is not logical to drag cases of petty offenders for so long then finally end with an unnecessarily heavy/harsh penalty while on the other hand, the prosecutors are quick to discharge the high profile offenders on account of lack of sufficient evidence]. Focusing attention on a wrong direction will only contribute to more delays in effecting the due process, thus allowing the crime to augment rather than to dwindle.

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This paper has determined that if the line of convicts is too long, then there is a high possibility of committing flaws in the judicial process. The fewer the cases, the more fair the system will be. For an amicable solution to be got, more competent staffs have to be added and the indifferent ones are done away with. The system should stop dragging cases for unnecessarily long periods, with this there will not be any heaping of cases in the courts.

A court operating on cases above its capacity will tend to rush cases through without proper vetting, thus running the risk of convicting the innocent. To cut through the fluff and get to know the truth from the overconfident witnesses, incompetent prosecution experts, invented confessions from jailhouse informants, inept lawyers, and the overzealous prosecutors, the system has to take its time in the judicial process; any sign of hurry will lead to the system’s total failure. Suggestions are being presented to president Barrack Obama to ease the caseload that the U.S Courts have by allowing the U.S to join the International Criminal Courts (ICC); this proposal will help the U.S Courts reduce the congestion on crimes against humanity, genocide as well as those on war crimes.

The step will also show that the U.S is a sovereign nation that is interested in securing its national interest. But the idea of joining was completely opposed by the Bush Administration, no wonder the cases are overwhelmingly many. Evidence represented in (Garland, pp.11) indicates that many cases in the United States fail to be processed due to their numerous number, prosecutorial authority and discretion, mandatory minimum sentences, and the indent defense services. Misconceptions in the trial system plus the power by the criminal gangs may lead to the degradation of the criminal justice and instead of serving the interest of the community.

Judiciary is the last resort for those who seek to see justice done. And if it fails to deliver as expected the public will lose confidence in the system and resort to taking the laws into their hands. The indifferent court staff, bully defendants, and wily lawyers are making it an uphill task for the courts to affect justice fairly. This burden is weighing down the U.S Criminal Justice System, at some point we can even fall short of putting the blame on the countries social structure…but all the same the overburdening of the courts is perpetuating fear and injustice in the society.


Garland, D. et al. (2002). Of Crimes and Criminals: The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, (3rd Ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 11-20.

Risman, B. (2002). What is wrong with the Criminal Justice System? Law Journal: United Kingdom. pp. 2-4.

Scharf, P. M. (1999). The Politics behind U.S. Opposition to the International Criminal Court. Brown J. World Aff. Vol 6. pp. 77-97.

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