Most people have gained some understanding of how the American criminal justice system works simply by living in our society and being exposed to popular culture. Unfortunately, this common knowledge is incomplete and intermixed with many myths. Many important elements of our criminal justice system are simply not a part of the “average Joe’s” understanding of how the system works. This text is designed to provide the reader with a clear and concise overview of the entire American criminal justice system with an eye to dispelling some common myths.
This book is organized around the various steps in the criminal justice system, describing the elements of the system that deal with those steps along the way. Of course, not every case will follow a neat, linear progression through the system. It must be remembered that the progression suggested herein is to some degree an oversimplification of the process. Due to our federal system of government, criminal cases are handled on the local, state, and federal levels. Each of these jurisdictions will vary to some degree from the next.
Last Updated: 6/04/2021