American Criminal Court System Essay.

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Details: examine and evaluate the American criminal court system. Address the following in your paper: Describe a court and its purpose. Define the dual court system. Describe the role that early legal codes, the common law, and precedent played in the development of courts.  Identify the role of courts in criminal justice today.


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The American criminal court system is the judicial branch of the federal and state governments that serves to interpret, and apply the law. The American court system comprises of two separate systems, the state courts, and the federal court, each of which may be independent from the legislative and the executive branches of government. The court is based upon elements such the legal codes, the precedent, and the common law. In the criminal justice system, the court serves a crucial role of prosecuting and sentencing offenders. The courts are run by judges who ensure the law is adhered to, and oversee court proceedings, they accept or reject pleas, monitor trials, and sentence the offenders.


The element of the two separate systems qualifies the American criminal court as the dual court system. The dual court system stems from the distinction federal and state courts that make up the judicial branch of the government. There exist two separate and independent tracks under the judicial arm of the US federal government. Federal courts attend to criminal cases involving federal law, constitutional law, policies, and special matters like the federal tax or bankruptcy. On the other hand, the state courts hear criminal cases regarding the state law and state constitutional affairs. This system was first established by the colonial administration, and the two systems have since operated side by side to exercise full jurisdiction in some cases, and overlap jurisdiction in others (Neubauer, 2011, Pg. 16).


The laws in the American court would not develop systematically until a state with a centralized police authority appeared. For such a development, a written language may not have been required, but early legal codes existed among the literate societies. The early legal codes would be found in the code of Hammurabi, the laws of Manu, and the Mosaic code. These originated from Babylon, India, and Palestine respectively. These codes consisted what would later become the universal tendency the ethical and religious systems of a society to establish a legal order for enforcing ethical and social mandates. Later, the law of royal courts would replace the feudal law (Maguire & Radosh, 2004, Pg. 132).



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