Criminal Justice: What impact has terrorism had on our post-9/11 American criminal justice system?

Unit V11– Assessment – Question # 2- In Criminal Justice

What impact has terrorism had on our post-9/11 American criminal justice system?

The criminal justice system in America includes the law enforcement, the courts and the corrections. These three entities intertwine with each other. The process followed when a crime is committed is clearly laid out in the constitution. When a crime is committed, the law enforcement or the police has the responsibility of investigating the alleged offense. The law enforcement is also tasked with the arrest, booking and initial criminal charges against the suspect of the crime (Feinstein par 3). The suspect is then brought before a judge or magistrate for the initial appearance in the court. The defendant is given a chance to enter a guilty or not guilty plea. If the defendant pleas guilty, the trial is bypassed, and the court proceeds to sentencing. A not guilty plea sends the case into a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is a probable cause for the case to go to trial. After the trial, the defendant is either proven guilty or not guilty. If guilty, the defendant is sentenced and passed on to the corrections officials. If otherwise, he/she is set free.

In matters of terrorism, however, the provisions provided for the criminal justice system in the US might not apply. Terrorism acts are considered matters of national security unlike the ordinary criminal violations. While most criminals engage in crime to gain economically, the terrorists are political actors that use crime against their enemies. Dealing with and detection of a terrorist activity requires the law enforcement officer to behave differently compared to the common crimes (Feinstein par 6). Under the normal contexts, the crime occurs first and the law enforcement responds afterward. Handling terrorism requires crime prevention. Crime prevention is social control and not allowed in the dictates of the constitution. Law enforcement agencies have to collect intelligence to help in detecting whether a terrorist plot is being hatched. This requires the surveillance of the individuals in the society suspected of terrorist activity. This is done in addition to more aggressive measures used in the interrogation of terrorist suspects (Feinstein par 8). This was not possible, and that is why The Patriot Act was passed shortly after 9/11 to facilitate the war on terror on American soil.



Work cited

Feinstein, Dianne. “Terror Cases are Best Pursued through Courts.” The Atlanta Journal – ConstitutionMar 24 2013