discretion in the CJ system law homework help

Response Needed:

1. Define discretion and then discuss where it is found (applied) in the CJ system.

Discretion is defined as the freedom to make decisions whether being legal or not based on their own personal judgment. Discretion is not necessarily apart of formal, inflexible rules. “The Rule of Law is that the law is made up and applied equally to all people.” (UMUC, 2013). With discretion being in the criminal justice system The Rule of Law will not always be applied equally to all people. This is because law cannot define every situation and case equally that goes through the criminal justice system. Discretion is used in every profession in the criminal justice system. Police have plenty of discretion. “Police discretion is the choice of police officers to enforce laws or not to act at all.” (UMUC, 2013). Prosecutors is another example of discretion in the criminal justice system. How prosecutors have discretion is the choice of whether to charge a person who was arrested or not. Judges have discretion to choose the length of a convicted offender’s sentence and whether or not a person is to get bail or not.

2. Discuss the necessity of discretion in the CJ system, along with problems that are associated with it.

Discretion is needed in the criminal justice system for the reason of enforcing the law, and how he/she will go about enforcing the law. Problems with discretion is that the law is often under-enforced. The reasoning behind the law being under-enforced is that some crimes are minor and it’s at the police offer’s discretion whether to take action on the crime or not. Another issue with discretion in the criminal justice system is that there is usually stereotypes when it comes to sentencing. Younger offenders tend to receive and serve longer sentences and also minorities are more likely to receive longer and stricter sentences. (UMUC, 2013).

3. Briefly discuss some of the highlights & history of policing in the United States. 

“During the early history of policing, individual citizens were largely responsible for maintaining law and order among themselves” (Roufa, 2016). This way of policing worked for centuries until the late 1700’s and early 1800’s when the population started to really expand. Riots and crimes were starting to become common. This is when a professional form of law enforcement came into the picture. The concept of the modern police force started off in London and the concept was picked up around the world to include the United States.

4. Define forensic science and then provide an example (a real case) of how it has been used in recent times to solve a crime or help with a conviction.

Forensic science is defined as applying science and technology to legal investigations, whether civil or criminal. An example of forensic science being used to solve a crime is the mysterious floating feet in British Columbia in 2007. “A young girl who is walking along the beach stumbles upon a man’s sneaker. Curiosity strikes and she ends up looking inside. To her horror she finds the remains of a human foot.” (Author, 2014). A week later about 30 miles away a couple finds another shoe with a foot inside. Nine months later another shoe with a foot inside was found washed up on the beach. Over the next 5 years 11 more shoes washed up on the shore of the beach. This cased was solved in 2012 using forensic science to find out that the people were committing suicide by jumping into the water nearby the area. The body parts detached as a natural process of body decay. The reason everyone was wearing sneakers is because they are designed to be light so that they float in water. Heavier shoes sink instead of floating and the shoes will not reach the coast.


Auther. (2014). 3 Puzzling Cold Cases Solved With Forensic Science. Retrieved from www.forensicsciencedegree.org/3-puzzling-cold-cases-solved-with-forensic-science/

Roufa, T. (2016, January 30). How the Modern Police Force Evolved. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/the-history-of-modern-policing-974587

(UMUC), U. o. (2013). Module 2: Discretion Throughout the System. Retrieved from Discretion in the Criminal Justice System: https://umuc.equella.ecollege.com/file/1cf81c8a-3f3b-41ca-bcda-a051ed4af37f/1/CCJS100-0406.zip/Modules/M2-Module_2/S3-Commentary.html#pagetop

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