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The Court Component of the Criminal Justice System, Reaction Paper Example

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The court component of the criminal justice system is often perceived to be characterized by strict conflict between the prosecution and defense parties, however much of the research on criminal courts suggests the relationship is one of cooperation. From my own research and reading on the criminal justice system, I have to agree that my perception is that the relationship between the prosecution and defense is based on cooperation between the parties.

Public perception of the criminal courts is shaped in large part by media portrayal of what goes on inside the courtroom. (McNeely, 1995) This media includes news clips of interviews with the prosecution or defense, showing them as adversaries and making statements in conflict with each other.  Primetime court dramas aired on national television stations are another media form that commonly portrays the prosecution and defense teams as adversaries. The conflict creates tension in the storyline, helping to pull the viewer in. Criminal drama movies are another form of media that emphasizes conflict between the prosecution and defense teams. The more conflict, the more drama, and the more viewers there are, the more chance of hitting blockbuster status. And high ratings, of course, are the goal for all media.

The real practice of prosecution and defense parties during a trial are often kept out of the media however. Researchers such as Feeley have proposed that a “functional systems” model is more descriptive of how criminal courts operate in reality. (University of Cincinnati, 2011) The relationship of the criminal courts is better explained by cooperation, exchange, and adaptation. In practice, the prosecution and defense parties are constantly working together, exchanging information and discussing details of deals. Though they are on opposite sides of the courtroom and have a responsibility to their clients, both the prosecution and defense have a mutual goal in common – to make the justice system work.

References

McNeely, C. (1995). Perceptions of the Criminal Justice System: Television Imagery and Public Knowledge in the. Retrieved September 17, 2012, from Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture : http://www.albany.edu/scj/jcjpc/vol3is1/perceptions.html

University of Cincinnati. (2011). Conceptualizing Criminal Justice Theory. Retrieved September 17, 2012, from University of Cincinnati: http://cjonline.uc.edu/field-of-criminal-justice/criminal-justice-research/conceptualizing-criminal-justice-theory/

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