Chapter 2 Models of Criminal Justice Learning Objectives: By the end of each section students should be able to INTRODUCTION  Differentiate

between the attitudes of old idealism and new cynicism (liberal and conservative)  Provide examples of the consistency and predictably of criminal justice administration THE CRIME COMMISSION’S MODEL  Describe the focus of the Crime Commission’s Model THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE WEDDING CAKE  Describe and identify cases in each of the four layers of the wedding cake model  Differentiate between the focus of the wedding cake model and the Crime Commission’s model  Explain the impact that celebrated cases have on the public’s perceptions using specific examples  List the factors used by criminal justice officials to informally classify cases into layers of the wedding cake  Compare and contrast felonies in the second and third layers of the wedding cake model  Describe the liberation hypothesis and explain how it relates to the wedding cake model  Understand the impact of the victim/offender relationship on case processing in general and the processing of robbery, rape and domestic violence cases in particular  Defend arguments that the CJS is either tough or soft on offenders Outline: I. Introduction a. With one federal and 50 state systems containing their own varied substantive and procedural rules, the American CJS is complex b. Day-to-day administration is also complex and may appear to be chaotic c. Some decisions are hidden by the veil of discretion which allows misunderstanding and myth to prevail d. Proposition 5: Most crime control ideas are based on false assumptions about how the criminal justice system works e. Unrealistic attitudes that dominate thinking about the administration of criminal justice include the Old Idealism and New Cynicism

i. Old Idealism: Civics-book picture of justice with law enforced as it is written; offenders are arrested, prosecuted, convicted and punished, and guilt or innocence is determined through an adversarial public contest ii. New Cynicism: Chaotic picture of the CJS where discretion is out of control and prosecutors plea-bargain to get guilty people off while innocent people wind up in prison; sentencing is seen as arbitrary and parole board decisions unscientific 1. Conservative cynics see an undermining of effective crime control while liberal cynics see chaos contributing to systematic discrimination 2. Neither version explains the consistent and predictable day-to-day operations of the CJS f. Predictable system does contain paradoxes and inconsistencies that make it at once too lenient and too severe i. Policing example: Police may be overly aggressive toward men on a street corner and then under-enforce domestic violence laws ii. Sentencing example: Some people with multiple drunk driving convictions avoid mandatory prison while someone arrested for drugs gets a sentence of 25 years II. THE CRIME COMMISSION’S MODEL a. The Crime Commission’s Model of the CJS was designed to help us understand the administration of justice from the systems approach b. This model focuses on case flow among agencies, interrelationships among agencies, the pervasiveness of discretionary decision making and how decisions at one point in the system can affect decisions in other areas of the system THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE WEDDING CAKE a. The CJ wedding cake was developed between 1980 and 1910 and it overcame a major weakness of the Crime Commission’s Model b. The wedding cake model emphasizes variations in case processing and consistent patterns of disposition within its layers c. Celebrated Cases: The Top Layer i. The smallest layer of cases dominate the news media because they involve a famous person, a gruesome crime or a landmark Supreme Court ruling ii. Unfortunately, these unusual cases have a major impact on public perception iii. For instance, due to media attention to school violence people tend to believe schools are dangerous places where violence is increasing when in fact the opposite is true

III.

iv. Celebrated cases are different from other cases because they involve the full criminal process including a trial, they receive an enormous amount of publicity and they distort public perceptions because the public mistakes them as typical cases 1. Examples include the 2003-4 Scott Peterson case and the O.J. Simpson trial 2. Due to incessant coverage of the Simpson trial, Americans were misled to conclude that spouse murderers beat the system and that African American jurors will not convict African American defendants d. Serious Felonies: The Second and Third Layers i. More serious felonies are in the second layer and less serious felonies in the third layer ii. CJ officials informally classify cases on the basis of the nature of the crime (seriousness), suspect’s prior record and the relationship between the victim and offender 1. Research also shows that injury to the victim and use of a gun may be considered 2. Most departures from prescribed sentences are based on the factors noted above iii. The courtroom work group tends to share judgments of seriousness based on the noted factors and this facilitates rapid disposition of cases iv. Consequentially, individual discretion is informally controlled and a cases within the layers of the wedding cake are treated consistently v. Despite conceptions of plea bargaining to a Middle Eastern bazaar, the reality is that courtrooms operate more like supermarkets with fixed prices about the worth of various cases vi. Shared understanding among the courtroom workgroup is highly dependent on the structure of the court system including the stability and collegiality of its members e. The Impact of Prior Record i. Evidence of robbery convictions shows that those with a prior record are far more likely to be sentenced to prison compared to defendants with no prior convictions ii. The same pattern holds true with property offenders f. The Impact of the Victim/Offender Relationship i. Robbery data 1. Data on felony arrests in New York City shows that the system is not soft on stranger robberies as they are more likely to result in conviction on felony charges and receive sentences of incarceration

2. Data on arrests prior-relationship robberies show that relatively fewer were convicted on felony charges and a smaller number were sentenced to incarceration ii. Rape data 1. In terms of case processing and prison sentences, courts were much tougher on stranger than priorrelationship rapes iii. The CJS is tough on second-layer felonies in that they were likely to be prosecuted at the top charge, convicted and given a severe sentence g. Third Layer Cases i. Less serious cases are more often dismissed, defendants are allowed to plea to lesser charges and if convicted they are often placed on probation ii. Outcomes are less predictable in third layer cases due to a lack of consensus 1. Lack of consensus can be explained by the liberation hypothesis where the courtroom workgroup is liberated from shared understanding of seriousness and allowed to base their decisions on extralegal factors such as race or other personal attributes 2. Supporting data show that African American felony defendants were more likely incarcerated than comparable whites in less serious crimes, but not in more serious cases iii. Victims agree with differential treatment of second and third layer felonies as they report serious crimes at a higher rate than less serious crimes h. Prior Relationship: A Policy Dilemma i. The question is whether prior relationship should be considered as a decision-making factor ii. In the case of domestic violence, police have traditionally been less likely to make an arrest in more intimate relationships such as an abusive husband compared to an abusive boyfriend iii. Regarding sexual assaults, some believe they should be prosecuted equally whether they are stranger or nonstranger relationships iv. If prior relationship was eliminated as a decision-making factor there would be more domestic violence arrests, more cases prosecuted as second layer cases and more offenders sentenced to prison v. This presents a policy dilemma because greater equality in the administration of justice is a desirable outcome, but the overall punitiveness of the system would be increased. The lesson is that significant changes in policy have trade-offs.

i. Hard or Soft on Crime? Unraveling the Paradox i. The system is both hard on second-layer cases and soft on third-layer cases ii. Research on career-criminal prosecution programs show that getting tough doesn’t work if offenders are not being treated leniently iii. The general public is surprised that the CJs is tough in crime, because their attitudes are impacted by unusual celebrated cases and because distinctions between the treatment of serious and less serious are difficult to discern with aggregated data j. The Lower Depths: The Fourth Layer i. The volume of misdemeanor cases far surpasses all other cases ii. Lower courts handle cases very differently from upper courts, but there are significant differences between courts in different jurisdictions IV. CONCLUSION a. Wedding cake model clarifies administration of justice b. Celebrated cases distract attention from a clear understanding of routine CJ operations c. We need to focus on the second layer of the cake and be skeptical of policies based on celebrated cases

Key Terms: Old Idealism: The civics-book picture of justice where law is enforced as it is written and guilt or innocence is determined through an adversarial public contest New Cynicism: Portrays a chaotic picture of the CJS where discretion is out of control and prosecutors plea-bargain to get guilty people off while innocent people wind up in prison Conservative Cynics: A version of the New Cynicism where irrational decision making is seen as undermining effective crime control Liberal Cynics: A version of the New Cynicism where the apparent chaos of the system is believed to produce systematic discrimination Discretion: The power of criminal justice practitioners to make decisions based on individual judgments Systems Approach: An approach to the administration of criminal justice that focuses attention on the flow of cases among agencies, the interrelationships among agencies and the pervasiveness of discretionary decision making in controlling the flow of cases Crime Commission’s Model: A model of criminal justice administration that is based on the systems model Wedding Cake Model: A model of criminal justice administration that emphasizes significant differences between types of cases based on seriousness and other factors and consistent patterns of disposition with each category

Courtroom Work Group: Criminal justice officials who work together day in and day out and develop shared understandings about the handling of routine cases Celebrated Case: Cases in the smallest layer of the wedding make model that involve a famous person, a particularly gruesome crime, or a landmark Supreme Court ruling and received their name based on the enormous amount of publicity they receive Second Layer Case: Felony cases in the wedding cake model informally judged by the courtroom work group to be serious, involve an offender with a prior record and/or no prior relationship between the offender and the victim Third Layer Case: Felony cases in the wedding cake model informally judged by the courtroom work group to be less serious, involve an offender with no prior record and/or a prior relationship between the offender and the victim Fourth Layer Case: Misdemeanor cases in the wedding cake model that enjoy few of the formalities of the felony process due to their relative lack of seriousness Liberation Hypothesis: A tentative explanation for a situation where the courtroom workgroup is liberated from shared understanding of seriousness and allowed to base their decisions on extralegal factors such as race or other personal attributes Extralegal Factors: Non-legal factors such as race, class or other personal attributes that may be used to make case processing decisions when little consensus exists regarding legal factors related to seriousness Policy Dilemma: A case where a policy change produces at least one desirable outcome as well as at least one undesirable outcome Career-criminal Prosecution Programs: Programs designed to concentrate prosecutorial resources on career criminals to ensure that they are convicted and sentenced to prison

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