Quite a number of crimes can be said to have been committed in the case study presented, which should then form the basis upon which this paper should be hinged. The first one of these crimes is whereby the officer, in full uniform, is approached by a woman who claimed to have been robbed in as well as assaulted by an individual she could not recognize. She had a severe laceration to her head and to her lip, and the shirt that she was wearing was blood soaked. She was unable to give a clear and vivid description of the individual who had apparently assaulted her, getting to only describe his/her height. She also described the clothing that the perpetrator had been spotting at the time during which s/he had attacked her. This is due to the fact that he/she was wearing a ski mask and therefore, was unidentifiable. She could also not identify the gender or the race of this said individual. Apart from having assaulted her, the robber had also stolen the woman’s wallet. Officer Jones then called in medical assistance for the assaulted woman.
Thereafter, the officer then saw an individual who fitted the description of the person that reportedly had assaulted and robbed the woman. It was very interesting that the individual was wearing a red shirt and a pair of white pants, which fitted the description that had been given by the woman in question. He proceeded to confront the suspect, leaving the woman behind, unattended and without medical assistance. He then identified himself as a police officer and asked the man to stop, an order the man defied. This made the officer to repeat his orders, again asking the man to stop. This time round, the man stopped and faced the officer. He then noticed a bulge on the man’s right pocket, making him to probably think that the man had been carrying a weapon. This was the second alleged crime.
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The man, however, refused to make his hands visible to the officer which prompted the officer to shoot him right in his left shoulder. The fact that he defied the officer’s instructions was the third crime.
The fourth alleged crime was that the man appeared to be carrying illegal drugs. After calling for additional medical personnel to attend to the shot individual, the officer located a baggie that contained smaller baggies that seemed to contain cocaine.
Matters as to a civil action or to a lack of the same thereof arise when the officer shoots at an unarmed man who did not pose any threat to his own security. He only probably suspected that the man was carrying a weapon due to the big bulge in his right front pocket, and this turned out to not be the case.
Application of Principles of Criminal Law to Criminal Justice Practice
There are various principles of criminal law that can be applied to criminal justice practice and these are:
Burden of Proof
It is up to the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime he/she is being accused of (Simester & Brookbanks, 2007). The prosecution therefore does this by investigating the said crime, quite thoroughly, so as to ensure that the jury finds the defendant guilty. In this case, it was the officer’s responsibility to ensure that he presented evidence that the man had assaulted the lady.
Right to remain Silent
This principle means that no individual should be compelled to answer any questions to the police. There are a few instances whereby this principle is exempted such as when an individual who’s been found committing a crime is asked to identify him/herself. In this scenario, the officer does not compel the suspect to speak.
This means that no individual can be punished more than once for the same offence. However, an individual can be re-tried when new evidence in a case is found. If the man had been found guilty, he would not have been retried for the same offence unless the investigators found more evidence.
Presumption of Innocence
An individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty. A person who has been charged with an offence is not termed as ‘guilty’ and the offence is only termed as ‘alleged’. This principle has been violated as the officer shoots the suspect on the assumption that he is the one who robbed the lady.
Civil liabilities due to criminal justice agencies and practitioners
Civil liabilities are those instances whereby there exists the potential that an aggrieved party could be given a little payment as a form of compensation for having been wronged. This could be in instances whereby there is a breach of contract, where a civil law is violated or where tort is violated. It differs from criminal liability in that in civil liability, the liable party is not subjected to castigatory monetary costs or other enforcements by the court. When a criminal justice agency is sued by an individual due to one reason or the other, the individual officer is sued as well (Donoghue Solicitors, 2017). Such civil liability suits are usually directed at criminal justice agencies such as the police force due to the fact that they are able to pay larger defrayals. Tying the specific officer to such a lawsuit usually causes immense stress to the officers involved. This is due to the large sums of money that they are supposed to pay the aggrieved parties.
The most common civil liability suits against criminal justice agencies and practitioners are:
Allegations of false arrests.
Use of excessive force while arresting individuals. This includes inflicting injuries while in the process of arresting suspected criminals.
Malicious prosecution allegations whereby citizens have in the past sued justice agencies such as the police for prosecuting them even though they were innocent.
Allegations of an officer failing to intervene where a fellow officer takes part in an unlawful action.
In the instance of this scenario, a civil liability is incurred by the criminal justice agency whereby Officer Jones shoots at an unarmed man on mere suspicion that he could be armed. The incidence leaves the officer and the entire police force prone to being sued by the man for the shooting. The officer also suspects that the man is responsible for robbing and assaulting the woman without first verifying the information given by the woman.
Section 1983 is a statute that most victims of police misconduct rely upon when suing the authorities. The statute was brought into effect in an effort to curb police brutality as well as that of vigilante groups. It was originally part of the 1871 Civil Rights Act. The statute was published in 1983 hence the name Section 1983. The statute renders it unlawful for individuals acting on behalf of the federal government to deny another individual of their basic rights. The most common claims under this law are malicious prosecution, false arrest and /or prosecution and instances where individuals have used excessive force.
Donoghue Solicitors. (2017). The Law in Civil Actions against the Police. www.donoghue-solicitors.co.uk
Simester, A. P. & Brookbanks, J. W. (2007). Principles of Criminal Law . London: Brookers.