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Chapter 12. Introduction to the Criminal Justice System

Chapter 12. Introduction to the Criminal Justice System

The preceding chapters of this book have dealt with finding the culprit of a computer crime. If you decide to prosecute, then what? This chapter provides an overview of the criminal justice system that will assist you in working with law enforcement agencies. Most people’s only exposure to the criminal justice system is on television, either on the nightly news or a police drama. Unfortunately, television doesn’t depict an accurate picture of what the criminal justice system is really like.

As you probably know, most police officers do not work on one major case after another; real detectives do not solve murders on every shift and then go home in time for dinner. Some days the most difficult decision a police officer has to make is whether to turn right or left. Most of a police officer’s time is spent on calls for service, such as investigating loud noise or helping people who have locked themselves out of their cars. When an interesting call comes in, the remainder of the shift is spent doing paperwork. You should keep this in mind when you report an incident and you think that it is taking too long to get a response. Law enforcement in gereral is overworked, understaffed, and always under-budgeted. While your incident may be the most important thing in the world to you, try to remember that it is only one of the numerous cases that the law enforcement agency is working on. The court systems are even more backlogged. So while your investigator may be trying to pursue your case, he or she may be stymied by the court not having the time to hear the case.


  

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