Mandatory Steps in Criminal Case Processing

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Mandatory Processes in Handling Criminal Cases

There are a number of mandatory processes that must be followed when handling criminal cases in the courts and legal systems of the United States. The following paper will concentrate on three main modules: pretrial detention, which will clearly highlight the steps necessary in the pretrial process and establish the various factors that affect judges' decisions to set bail, and trial, which will be clarified by identifying the necessary steps taken and differentiating evidence. Finally, it will discuss the post-conviction processes in which the jury deliberates on a potential verdict while determining the crucial steps in an appeal.

Pretrial Detention

Pretrial detention involves a sequence of procedures with the aid of an attorney general. The first process is the initial appearance which occurs after a suspect is booked and presented to a magistrate. Here, the magistrate responsible reads out the charges presented against the defendant, while explaining their constitutional rights such as the right to remain silent and the right to be represented by a counsel. It is at this stage that the defendant is allowed to have an attorney whether hired privately or by the state (Gaines and Miller, 2011).

The Initial Appearance

At the initial stage, the defendant can also plead guilty and start their sentence straight away or deny and be scheduled for a later hearing. In the initial appearance, many defendants are usually released if they post bails. Setting bail is a legal procedure in the U.S law although it is not guaranteed for every offender put to book. The solid purpose of bailing defendants is to ensure that they will appear before the court of law for more proceedings relating to their case.

The Trial

The trial begins only if jury members have been selected and sworn in by the judges. Trials usually begin with opening statements where the attorney provide a brief report of facts and evidence that will be presented before the court. Evidence provides vital information against defendants since it provides proof of the existence or nonexistence of a case. Here there are two types of evidence which are testimony evidence which involves verbal accounts by witnesses and real evidence which is presented before the court in form of exhibits or physical items (Gaines and Miller, 2011).

Evidence Presentation

Before any evidence is presented, there are certain rules that are formulated so as to affirm that the testimony and exhibits presented before the jury are authentic, relevant and are not displayed in unfairly prejudice towards the defendant. Among the main roles of the defense attorney is to dispute the evidence brought forward by the prosecution by arguing out that it is not relevant to the case presented. The overall decision in regards to whether the evidence will be allowed before the jury totally depends on the judge.

Post-Conviction Procedures

Once all arguments are concluded, the results are left in the jury's hands. Here, a close examination is made so as to arrive at an informed decision on the guilt or innocence of the defendant. Charges against a defendant are called the jury instructions and are compiled during a special charging conference with the presence of the trial attorney and the judge (Gross, 2011). The following step involved is the discussion of potential verdicts on the case. The next part is the jury deliberation where upon receiving the charges, the jury commences its considerations. At this point, the judge emphasizes that jurors must not seek outside information during deliberation. Offering verdict is the next procedure involved. Once a decision has been reached, the jury gives a verdict with the most common being either guilty or not guilty.


Upon arriving at the verdict, the jurors are discharged and trial proceeding summarized. A hung jury may also be met if the jury comes up with no decision. In rare cases, jury nullification is arrived at this is as a result of controversial issues surrounding the case. Appeals is the next step involved where convicted people seek a high court's review in order to alter the ruling of a lower court (Gross, 2011). In many instances, although the defendant may be found guilty, the trial may not be over. According to the U.S laws, any defendant related to a crime has the right to appeal (Holmes, 2009). Under the appeal process, there is double jeopardy where if the defendant is not found guilty, the prosecution has no power to appeal on the ruling reversal (Gaines and Miller, 2011). This ensures that defendants are not tried for a second time with the same charges upon them.


In conclusion, it is clear that with well-defined modules in the legal systems, defendants are almost certain of fair legal actions in case they are presented before a jury. Adhering to a systematic sequence from the commencement to the conclusion of a case ensures that verdicts are made with a lot of deliberation. In addition to this, allowing the accused to have attorneys ensures they are satisfied with the jury's verdict since they help the defendants to argue the evidence presented before them and in the case of an unfair ruling by the jury, the defendant has the power to appeal the case for further hearing.


Gaines, L. K., & Miller, R. L. R. (2011). Criminal justice in action. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Gross, S. R. (2011). Pretrial Incentives, Post-Conviction Review, and Sorting Criminal Prosecutions by Guilt or Innocence.

Holmes Jr, O. W. (2009). The path of the law. The Floating Press.

July 15, 2023

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Federal Government

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