Ashish Kumar last saw his brother Vinod when he was being driven away by a senior police officer in Ludhiana, in northern India. Twenty-two years have passed since the murder case began. Only three of 36 witnesses have been heard so far. Four witnesses have already died without being presented in court.
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She does not seem to understand much about life at present. Kaur, who used to go to court on a stretcher, gave her testimony in the murder case when she was aged 86, 14 years after her son went missing. She asked the court several times to hear her statement sooner, fearing that she did not have long to live. When she was finally heard, the judge had to step down from the podium and stand next to the witness box to be able to hear her thin, fading voice.
But before she could finish, he decided to break for lunch. The next available date for her to deliver her statement was a month later. In the time that has passed since Vinod disappeared, Saini has continued in his role and was promoted to director general of police in Punjab.
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He still has charges hanging over him. They claim to have been threatened on numerous occasions and moved in order to remain safe and follow the case. Six million of those have lasted longer than five years. Another 4. These figures are increasing according to the decennial reports.
The number of cases, however, is only a part of the problem. As a result, scores of cases are heard every day, which leads to a large number of adjournments, judges passing cases between them, and increasingly long queues of people waiting outside courtrooms on the off-chance that their case is heard. I used to do half of them the previous night. A good beginning would be to announce setting up a new court in every district, appoint thousands of new judges. The Law Commission has recommended hearing cases continuously, avoiding postponements and reaching speedy verdicts.
This is possible only when the caseload per judge is of a reasonable size. Creating an Indian Judicial Service to create a large pool of trained, dedicated judges who would enlarge the pool of talent available for elevation to the higher judiciary would be abig step forward. Reforming the system of appointing judges and holding their functioning to account is another priority.
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The executive and the legislature must play a role in the process. The people are the ultimate sovereign. Their elected representatives in Parliament must, if necessary by committee, ratify nominees chosen by the government in consultation with the judiciary. The governments have never been interested in reforming the judiciary. The present government is interested in appointing its own favourite judges in My friends is a lawyer he told me criminal are his customers and his carriers and his future depends on them and he have lots of expedition from them Tech Science Reviews Search for:.
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Top Comment. If no charges are filed, the accused must be released. The prosecutor can also drop charges after making efforts to prosecute nolle prosequi. A suspect charged with a crime must be taken before a judge or magistrate without unnecessary delay. At the initial appearance, the judge or magistrate informs the accused of the charges and decides whether there is probable cause to detain the accused person.
If the offense is not very serious, the determination of guilt and assessment of a penalty may also occur at this stage. Often, the defense counsel is also assigned at the initial appearance.
All suspects prosecuted for serious crimes have a right to be represented by an attorney. If the court determines the suspect is indigent and cannot afford such representation, the court will assign counsel at the public's expense. A pretrial-release decision may be made at the initial appearance, but may occur at other hearings or may be changed at another time during the process. Pretrial release and bail were traditionally intended to ensure appearance at trial.
However, many jurisdictions permit pretrial detention of defendants accused of serious offenses and deemed to be dangerous to prevent them from committing crimes prior to trial. The court often bases its pretrial decision on information about the defendant's drug use, as well as residence, employment, and family ties. In many jurisdictions, the initial appearance may be followed by a preliminary hearing. The main function of this hearing is to discover if there is probable cause to believe that the accused committed a known crime within the jurisdiction of the court.
If the judge does not find probable cause, the case is dismissed; however, if the judge or magistrate finds probable cause for such a belief, or the accused waives his or her right to a preliminary hearing, the case may be bound over to a grand jury. A grand jury hears evidence against the accused presented by the prosecutor and decides if there is sufficient evidence to cause the accused to be brought to trial. If the grand jury finds sufficient evidence, it submits to the court an indictment, a written statement of the essential facts of the offense charged against the accused.
Where the grand jury system is used, the grand jury may also investigate criminal activity generally and issue indictments called grand jury originals that initiate criminal cases. These investigations and indictments are often used in drug and conspiracy cases that involve complex organizations. After such an indictment, law enforcement tries to apprehend and arrest the suspects named in the indictment.
Misdemeanor cases and some felony cases proceed by the issuance of an information, a formal, written accusation submitted to the court by a prosecutor. In some jurisdictions, indictments may be required in felony cases. However, the accused may choose to waive a grand jury indictment and, instead, accept service of an information for the crime. In some jurisdictions, defendants, often those without prior criminal records, may be eligible for diversion from prosecution subject to the completion of specific conditions such as drug treatment.
Successful completion of the conditions may result in the dropping of charges or the expunging of the criminal record where the defendant is required to plead guilty prior to the diversion. Once an indictment or information has been filed with the trial court, the accused is scheduled for arraignment. At the arraignment, the accused is informed of the charges, advised of the rights of criminal defendants, and asked to enter a plea to the charges.
Sometimes, a plea of guilty is the result of negotiations between the prosecutor and the defendant. If the accused pleads guilty or pleads nolo contendere accepts penalty without admitting guilt , the judge may accept or reject the plea. If the plea is accepted, no trial is held and the offender is sentenced at this proceeding or at a later date. The plea may be rejected and proceed to trial if, for example, the judge believes that the accused may have been coerced.
If the accused pleads not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity, a date is set for the trial. A person accused of a serious crime is guaranteed a trial by jury. However, the accused may ask for a bench trial where the judge, rather than a jury, serves as the finder of fact. In both instances the prosecution and defense present evidence by questioning witnesses while the judge decides on issues of law. The trial results in acquittal or conviction on the original charges or on lesser included offenses. After the trial a defendant may request appellate review of the conviction or sentence.
In some cases, appeals of convictions are a matter of right; all States with the death penalty provide for automatic appeal of cases involving a death sentence. Appeals may be subject to the discretion of the appellate court and may be granted only on acceptance of a defendant's petition for a writ of certiorari.
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Prisoners may also appeal their sentences through civil rights petitions and writs of habeas corpus where they claim unlawful detention. After a conviction, sentence is imposed. In most cases the judge decides on the sentence, but in some jurisdictions the sentence is decided by the jury, particularly for capital offenses. In arriving at an appropriate sentence, a sentencing hearing may be held at which evidence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances is considered. In assessing the circumstances surrounding a convicted person's criminal behavior, courts often rely on presentence investigations by probation agencies or other designated authorities.
Courts may also consider victim impact statements. The sentencing choices that may be available to judges and juries include one or more of the following:. In some jurisdictions, offenders may be sentenced to alternatives to incarceration that are considered more severe than straight probation but less severe than a prison term.
Examples of such sanctions include boot camps, intense supervision often with drug treatment and testing, house arrest and electronic monitoring, denial of Federal benefits, and community service.
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In many jurisdictions, the law mandates that persons convicted of certain types of offenses serve a prison term. Most jurisdictions permit the judge to set the sentence length within certain limits, but some have determinate sentencing laws that stipulate a specific sentence length that must be served and cannot be altered by a parole board. Offenders sentenced to incarceration usually serve time in a local jail or a State prison. Offenders sentenced to less than 1 year generally go to jail; those sentenced to more than 1 year go to prison.
Persons admitted to the Federal system or a State prison system may be held in prisons with varying levels of custody or in a community correctional facility. A prisoner may become eligible for parole after serving a specific part of his or her sentence. Parole is the conditional release of a prisoner before the prisoner's full sentence has been served. The decision to grant parole is made by an authority such as a parole board, which has power to grant or revoke parole or to discharge a parolee altogether. The way parole decisions are made varies widely among jurisdictions. Offenders may also be required to serve out their full sentences prior to release expiration of term.
Those sentenced under determinate sentencing laws can be released only after they have served their full sentence mandatory release less any "goodtime" received while in prison. Inmates get goodtime credits against their sentences automatically or by earning them through participation in programs. If released by a parole board decision or by mandatory release, the releasee will be under the supervision of a parole officer in the community for the balance of his or her unexpired sentence.
This supervision is governed by specific conditions of release, and the releasee may be returned to prison for violations of such conditions. Once the suspects, defendants, or offenders are released from the jurisdiction of a criminal justice agency, they may be processed through the criminal justice system again for a new crime. Long term studies show that many suspects who are arrested have prior criminal histories and those with a greater number of prior arrests were more likely to be arrested again.
As the courts take prior criminal history into account at sentencing, most prison inmates have a prior criminal history and many have been incarcerated before.
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Nationally, about half the inmates released from State prison will return to prison. Juvenile courts usually have jurisdiction over matters concerning children, including delinquency, neglect, and adoption. They also handle "status offenses" such as truancy and running away, which are not applicable to adults. State statutes define which persons are under the original jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction in delinquency matters is 17 in most States. The processing of juvenile offenders is not entirely dissimilar to adult criminal processing, but there are crucial differences.
Many juveniles are referred to juvenile courts by law enforcement officers, but many others are referred by school officials, social services agencies, neighbors, and even parents, for behavior or conditions that are determined to require intervention by the formal system for social control. At arrest, a decision is made either to send the matter further into the justice system or to divert the case out of the system, often to alternative programs. Examples of alternative programs include drug treatment, individual or group counseling, or referral to educational and recreational programs.
When juveniles are referred to the juvenile courts, the court's intake department or the prosecuting attorney determines whether sufficient grounds exist to warrant filing a petition that requests an adjudicatory hearing or a request to transfer jurisdiction to criminal court. At this point, many juveniles are released or diverted to alternative programs. All States allow juveniles to be tried as adults in criminal court under certain circumstances.
In many States, the legislature statutorily excludes certain usually serious offenses from the jurisdiction of the juvenile court regardless of the age of the accused. In some States and at the Federal level under certain circumstances, prosecutors have the discretion to either file criminal charges against juveniles directly in criminal courts or proceed through the juvenile justice process. The juvenile court's intake department or the prosecutor may petition the juvenile court to waive jurisdiction to criminal court.
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The juvenile court also may order referral to criminal court for trial as adults. In some jurisdictions, juveniles processed as adults may upon conviction be sentenced to either an adult or a juvenile facility. In those cases where the juvenile court retains jurisdiction, the case may be handled formally by filing a delinquency petition or informally by diverting the juvenile to other agencies or programs in lieu of further court processing.
If a petition for an adjudicatory hearing is accepted, the juvenile may be brought before a court quite unlike the court with jurisdiction over adult offenders.
Despite the considerable discretion associated with juvenile court proceedings, juveniles are afforded many of the due-process safeguards associated with adult criminal trials. Several States permit the use of juries in juvenile courts; however, in light of the U. Supreme Court holding that juries are not essential to juvenile hearings, most States do not make provisions for juries in juvenile courts. In disposing of cases, juvenile courts usually have far more discretion than adult courts.
In addition to such options as probation, commitment to a residential facility, restitution, or fines, State laws grant juvenile courts the power to order removal of children from their homes to foster homes or treatment facilities. Juvenile courts also may order participation in special programs aimed at shoplifting prevention, drug counseling, or driver education. Once a juvenile is under juvenile court disposition, the court may retain jurisdiction until the juvenile legally becomes an adult at age 21in most States.