Criminal Procedure Policy Paper

Kathleen H. Mooneyhan “Criminal procedure is the branch of American constitutional law concerned with the state’s power to maintain an orderly society and the rights of citizens and residents to live in freedom from undue government interference with their liberty” (Zalman, 2008, p. 4). The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth amendments are significant in studying criminal procedure. In criminal justice, criminal procedure is important because it deals with the conflict between order and liberty directly.

To understand the friction between order and liberty, Herbert Packer studied the competing values that underlie the constitutional order through the Due Process Model and Crime Control model. Both of these models have similarities as well as differences in shaping criminal procedure policy. Herbert Packer states, “One is not “good” and the other “bad”; both models embrace constitutional values that are necessary to the kind of society in which we wish to live” (Zalman, 2008, p. 5). Both models compare in only a few ways, but each model works together to make the adversarial system work effectively.

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One similar proponent between the two would be that both models support the rule that the prosecution of an individual can only happen if one violates the law on the books. In other words, state and federal governments cannot arrest or criminalize a bad behavior not against the law. Another proponent that both models share is that the duty of police and prosecutors is to enforce criminal laws and cannot ignore any violations to the law. The limits to the powers of government are another value that both models share.

For example, the government can only go so far without being in violation of the Constitution. Another similarity between the two models is the belief that every criminal deserves his or her day in court and may demand a trial or other procedural safeguards. A suspect is an independent entity, which means that a prosecution cannot happen until he or she has a day in court. Even though these two models only share a few similarities, they are both equally important to the criminal procedure policy. In addition to similarities, there are also many differences between the two models.

According to Packer, “The Crime Control Model emphasizes that the repression of criminal conduct is by far the most important function to be performed by the criminal process because public safety is essential to personal freedom” (Zalman, 2008, p. 5). Because this statement supports that, any apprehension of an individual by authorities is guilty because of the assumption that police and prosecutors are accurate in his or her decision of arresting and detaining the correct individual people may view this as a negative component to the model.

The Crime Control Model resembles a conveyor belt because it moves the alleged criminal through the system on the assumption that the alleged is guilty until proven innocent. On the other hand, the Due Process Model looks like an obstacle course. Even though this model respects the repression of crime, it does not believe that the findings of police are always accurate and the criminal justice system is subject to errors. The Due Process Model allows the alleged offender a chance to discredit any information found against him or her.

If an offender is guilty of a criminal offense, he or she has the right to engage in many appeals. “The demand for finality is thus very low in the Due process Model, Packer states” (Zalman, 2008, p. 5). The Due Process Model does not want to take a chance on convicting an innocent person, and that is why it demands the prevention and elimination of mistakes to the extent possible (Zalman, 2008). The main difference between these two models is that the Due Process Model is adamant on legal guilt; whereas the Crime Control Model emphasizes factual guilt as well as that, every defendant should receive equal treatment.

To appreciate criminal procedures a person has to understand criminal justice practices. Criminal procedure law covers six major stages of criminal justice practice by police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, trial judges, and appellate courts. These are police investigation, interrogation, search, and arrest; the pretrial process; formal charging by the prosecutor; adjudication; sentencing; and appellate review by higher courts. In the last stage of the criminal process, appellate review, a person can find the most constitutional rights of a suspect.

In the criminal justice system, there are two types of courts, which are trial courts and appellate courts. Every state has trial courts, and some states have many states that have different levels of this particular court. Appellate courts are above trial courts and the primary focus for these courts is rulemaking. Every state as well as the United States has an appellate court. Once a jury finds a person guilty of the alleged crime, the individual has the chance to appeal the decision by asserting that there was a violation against his or her legal rights during trial.

A court’s decision, a statute, refers to a law or a source of law. Law is a written rule by government authorities that guide and control an individual or institution’s actions. The Constitution of the United States is a special kind of statute that represents the will of the people. The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution each have an impact on the criminal justice system as it applies to due process and crime control models. Constitutional criminal procedure is important because it regulates the relationship between the individual and the state.

Handler (n. d. ) states the Fourth Amendment as, “An amendment to the Constitution prohibiting searches without search warrants and requiring that search warrants be issued only upon probable cause. ” For instance, if a person reports to the police station saying that he or she has heard gunshots coming for his or her neighbor’s home, a police officer has probable cause to search the house and surroundings for weapons that may be illegal as well as seize them if needed to be.

On the other hand; however, they do not have the right to look for other items or search areas that the warrant does not state. Furthermore, Handler (n. d. ) defines the Fifth Amendment as, “An amendment to the Constitution that guarantees the right to grand jury indictment, the right not the be placed in double jeopardy, the right not to be compelled to incriminate oneself, the right to due process of the law, and the right not to have one’s private property taken by the government without just compensation. Ergo, an alleged suspect does not have to testify in court against him or herself or present any information that can lead to his or her conviction. In addition, the “Sixth Amendment guarantees a criminal defendant the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury; the right to be informed by the accusations against him or her; the right to confront witnesses; the right to subpoena witnesses, the right to counsel” (Handler, n. d. , p. 510).

This amendment allows a person from making an accusation without presenting himself or herself in a courtroom as a witness. Any individual who is standing trial for committing a criminal act also has the right to witnesses in his or her favor. If the defendant cannot afford a defense attorney, he or she has the right to have an appointed public defender represent him or her in the trial. In addition to the Fifth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment requires the states to provide due process of law, and to ensure equal protection of the laws (Handler, n. . ). Although the Fifth Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to due process to federal proceedings, the Fourteenth Amendment does the same but with the regard to state and local proceedings. In conclusion, the crime control model and due process model have similarities and differences as well as pros and cons when shaping criminal procedure. Even though Packer stated that one is no better than the other one, some people are more in favor of one. Each model embraces the constitutional values necessary to live in this society.

The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments along with the Bill of Rights are what aide individuals through the criminal justice system. Without these Amendments and models, alleged suspects would not have a chance in the criminal justice procedure.


  1. Handler, J. (n. d. ). Ballentine’s Law Dictionary. (Legal Assistant Ed. ). West Publishing: Thomson Learning.
  2. Zalman, M. (2008). Criminal Procedure: Constitution and Society. (5th ed. ). Prentice-Hall: Pearson Education, Inc.

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Criminal Procedure Policy Paper. (2018, May 07). Retrieved from