Criminal Justice- Chapter 3

five stages of the criminal justice system

entry, pretrial services and prosecution, adjudication, sentencing and sanctions, and corrections

selective enforcement of the law

criminal justice personnel may enforce some laws and not others or may enforce them in some situations and not in other situations


the authority to choose among alternative actions

founding decision

decision made by police that a particular incident should be treated as a crime (founded) or not treated as a crime (unfounded)


the action of taking a person into custody for the purpose of charging him or her with a crime


a writ issued by a judicial officer ordering law enforcement to preform a specific action such as a search or an arrest


a government attorney who instigates the prosecution of an accused and represents the state at trial

initial appearance

the first court processing stage after arrest, in which the accused is brought before a judge or magistrate to hear the formal charges


a formal document of a criminal charge against an accused, issued by a grand jury, based on evidence presented by the prosecutor

grand jury

a group of citizens, between sixteen and twenty-three, assembled to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to support the prosecution of the accused


a hearing before the court in which the defendant is formally informed of the charges and is required to enter a plea


money or other security placed in custody of the court in order to ensure the return of a defendant to stand trail

release on recognizance (ROR)

a non-financial release in which the accused promises to appear in court on the required date


the process whereby the court arrives at a decision regarding a particular case

jury trial

evidence is presented to a panel of citizens, who are required to determine the defendant's guilt or innocence of the charges

bench trial

court proceedings in which a judge hears the evidence and determines the defendant's guilt or innocence


the specific penalty for a specific crime


the judgement of a court, based on the verdict of a jury or judicial officer, that the defendant is guilty of the offense charged


a term that encompasses all the government agencies with authority for the intake, supervision, confinement, transportation, treatment, and custody of convicted offenders


an authorized absence from a correctional institution for a specified period of time


a criminal sentence that allows offenders to reside within the community


conditional release and supervision within the community as part of a criminal sentence

wedding cake

a model of the justice process that describes the public's and the media's focus on a few extraordinary and exceptional crimes


an offense punishable by more that one year in state or federal prison


a relatively minor offense punishable by a fine or up to one year in jail

justice funnel

a model of the justice process that depicts the impact of discretionary decision making by criminal justice personnel as they sort and filter defendants through the five stages

assembly-line model

a model of the justice process that depicts the system as processing cases as swiftly and efficiently as possible and in a standard manner


the concept that each case is treated according to the same rules, regardless of individual circumstances

obstacle-course model

a model of the justice process which depicts the system as complex and convoluted, deliberately difficult to negotiate in order to protect due process rights of the accused


the concept that each case be treated on the basis of its own unique and specific facts

the dilemma of discretion

discretionary decision making is essential for justice but also creates possibilities for discrimination and bias in the justice process

ideal of expressive justice

the use of harsh punishments to express moral outrage at the injustice of crime