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Criminal Justice Agency Accountability and Liability Essay

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Updated: Sep 12th, 2022

Introduction

Criminal law, which is also known as penal law, refers to the organization of regulations and Acts listing the offences not in favor of the public at large. It governs how suspects are interrogated, incriminated, and punished. The law also presents the penalties for criminal lawbreakers. The phrase ‘criminal law’ covers all that is engrossed in the administration of fairness. Crimes can be classified into felonies and misdemeanors depending on the seriousness of the offence committed. Felonies comprise serious crimes carrying a jail term of more than one year while misdemeanor crimes are less serious, and thus they are punishable with a jail term not exceeding one year.

The major federal legislative acts governing public-sector employment.

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has put in place numerous laws governing the employment of people in the US. There are about 180 federal laws that spell out the terms of employment terms for the over 10 million employers and 125 million employees in the public sector (Rothstein & Liebman, 2011).

Wages & Hours

The remuneration for employees is spelt out in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The act defines the standard wages payable to employees. In addition, the Act also defines the overtime pay for extra time worked. The Act has set the “minimum pay for employees and the overtime pay has to be between 22 to 25% of the standard pay” (Rothstein & Liebman, 2011). The act also stipulates the working hours for both adults and children less than 16 years of age. The act further prohibits the employment of children below the age of 18 years in certain sectors that are classified as being too dangerous.

Workplace Safety & Health

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act defines the safety conditions in the working place (Andrews & Bonta, 2010). Under the Act, every employee is obliged to provide his/her workers with a working environment that is free from recognizable hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the provisions of the OSH Act are observed by every employer. OSHA conducts regular appraisals to assess employers’ compliance with the requirements of the Act.

Employee Benefit Security

Employees’ retirement benefits are regulated under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The Act groups employees into certain categories and each class of employers is required to contribute some amount of money to a pension scheme for the employees’ benefits.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

Employers with more than 50 employees are obliged by The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to give their employees a 12 weeks unpaid leave (Andrews & Bonta, 2010). The leave is only given to qualified employees during birth or adoption of a kid.

The personal loyalty syndrome and how it can be problematic in the criminal justice workplace

Individuals working in the criminal justice agencies, at times, exercise some degree of personal loyalty syndrome. The personal loyalty syndrome is noticeable when certain persons give an unnecessary quantity of personal loyalty to their seniors (Souryal & Diamond, 2001). In some cases, the reasonable acceptable degree that should be accorded to such a supervisor is exceeded. In such cases, such personal loyalty is not documented in the Standard Operating Procedures or internal rules.

However, criminal justice employees are regularly reminded that matters of loyalty at the place of work are significant and that an individual cannot endure devoid of personal loyalty to supervisors. Supporters of such loyalty argue that it contributes to team spirit and organizational loyalty. Criminal justice personnel experiences personal loyalty syndrome although there is no provision in the criminal law supporting personal loyalty to superiors.

The personal loyalty syndrome frequently coerces persons to proffer personal loyalty to undeserving superiors, thus resulting into violation of the constitution. Personal loyalty is also known to result in communication barriers between the supervisors and their subordinates. Some supervisors implement whatever they erudite regarding loyalty and they tend to recognize the importance of maintaining the same in the workplace, thus forgetting that loyalty ought to be accorded to the institution and not to individuals. For an organization to maintain a good rapport amongst its stakeholders there should be reliable communication channel on top of transparency.

The various sources of power within the criminal justice organization and how the federal legislation help or hinder the exercise of this power

Search warrants

This order issued by a court with criminal jurisdiction upon application by a security officer or a public servant in the course of dispensing one’s mandate directing security officers to conduct a search on a premise, an individual, or property and surrender the property so seized to the same court that issued the order (Burke, 2001). Private assets are liable to convulsion pursuant to a search warrant if there are reasonable grounds to suppose that it is wrongfully acquired or stolen, or it is acquired for the sole intention of being applied to obligate or cover the commission of an offense against the rules of a state or any other state.

However, “if such offense was against the laws of another state, the court shall only issue a warrant if the conduct comprising such offense would, if occurring in the state in question, constitute a felony against the laws of the state” (Burke, 2001, p. 93).

Search Warrant Requirements

The law protects any person from unfair searches and arrests. This assertion implies that certain requirements have to be met for a search to be valid. Searches are usually deemed valid only if a magistrate or a judge grants an investigation warrant founded on feasible grounds or on the occurrence of specified circumstances that validate a search devoid of a warrant. However, the aforementioned rule does not protect persons without legitimate expectation of privacy in the property in question, and thus the security officers who conduct searches under such circumstances are not bound by the above rule. In addition, this law only applies to public servants acting on behalf of the government, and thus if an individual carries out a personal search on another person or his/her property, the evidence acquired is acceptable in a court of law.

Exemptions to search requirements

Listed below are some of the exemptions to the search requirements:

There is no warrant required to be issued for searches incidental to genuine arrests, and thus if someone is lawfully arrested by the security agents and a search is conducted on him/her or the area around him/her that is within reach, the search is lawful as it was incidental to a search on a wrongful act. Any abstract acquired on the search is tolerable in a court of law.

Seizure of evidence is plain view or evidence, which is exposed to the public and not hidden, is lawful and it does not require a warrant to be issued as long as the officer in question is lawfully in the site where the evidence is located. This aspect extends to an officer who visits the premises for the sole purpose of serving a duly signed warrant.

The law does not also apply to instances where permission to access the premises of a person has been given. If sanction is granted by someone convincingly assumed by a police officer to have power to confer such permission, no warrant is needed for an investigation or convulsion. However, the person granting such permission must be of sound mind and not a minor.

Since motor vehicles are evidently highly movable, “a warrant is not needed to search automobiles if the security officers have feasible reason to judge that the vehicle holds indication of a transgression” (Duff, Farmer, Marshall, Renzo & Tadros, 2010, p. 121).

This rule applies not only to vehicles, but also to “other motor-driven carriers including motor boats with the rationality in this exemption being that a warrant takes time to obtain and the vehicle might be out of reach before the warrant is issued and executed” (Duff et al., 2010, p. 121).). Police are authorized by the law to stop any person they suspect of a criminal offence if they have reasonable grounds to connect that person to the criminal act. The evidence needed for reasonable misgiving here is anything above simple doubt. If there is cause to suppose that someone may be carrying weapons or illegal drugs, the security officers can also search the person without the need of a warranty.

Definition of slippery slope and how it can lead to further problems in the administration of a criminal justice agency

Slippery slope refers to the assumption that the occurrence of a particular event will automatically lead to a series of other related events (Rizzo & Whitman, 2003). In other words, slippery slope is based on the argument that the occurrence of a particular event stimulates the occurrence of other similar events. The concept of slippery slope argument is that a particular rule or decision is likely to result in uncalled consequences.

Police brutality due to slippery slope

Police are charged with the responsibility of safeguarding citizens and dealing with crime. In performing these duties, they are authorized to use the legitimized force within certain limits. The precepts of ‘reasonable force’ depend on the given circumstances. The amount of force that a police is entitled to use depends on the situation and it varies greatly from one situation another. However, law enforcers have abused this privilege due to lack of clear laws on the amount of force that an officer is entitled to use in a given situation. Some officers have resulted in using excessive force even under unnecessary circumstances.

Excessive force may take the form of physical assault, sexual assault, verbal abuse, or use of lethal force when dealing with suspects or the public at large. Police brutality is a contemporary worldwide issue as cases of savagery continue to arise despite the numerous laws governing the conduct of the police, which bars them from assaulting the public.

Conclusion

Criminal law denotes a set of laws and rules that govern the interaction between an individual and the public. For a wrong to be termed as a crime, it must have been defined as such by an existing law or an Act. All bills defining criminal acts can be classified into their diverse components. The majority of criminal offences are twofold, viz. they consist an act and a mental state. This aspect implies that prosecutors must provide adequate evidence to support each of these two aspects of the offense to capitulate a conviction.

References

Andrews, D., & Bonta, J. (2010). Rehabilitating criminal justice policy and practice. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 16(1), 39-55.

Burke, H. (2001). An Introduction to Criminological Theory. New York, NY: Routledge.

Duff, A., Farmer, L., Marshall, S., Renzo, M., & Tadros, V. (2010). The boundaries of the criminal law. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Rizzo, M., & Whitman, G. (2003). The Camel’s Nose is in the Tent: Rules, Theories and Slippery Slopes. UCLA Law Review, 51(2), 539–592.

Rothstein, M., & Liebman, L. (2011). Employment Law Cases and Materials. Eagan, MN: Foundation Press.

Souryal, S., & Diamond, D. (2001). The rhetoric of personal loyalty to superiors in criminal justice agencies. Journal of Criminal Justice, 29(6), 543-554.

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