Analysis and Application:
Explain the Steps a Criminal Defendant May Go Through in the American Criminal Justice System.The following case study presents issues related to the steps a criminal defendant may go through in the American criminal justice system from arrest through sentencing.
You have just been hired as a lawyer at a small criminal defense firm. On your first day, Louis Steele enters the office and asks to speak to an attorney. All of the other lawyers are at lunch so you speak to Mr. Steele. Mr. Steele states that he is worried about being arrested for an armed robbery of a gas station that occurred the night before. Mr. Steele explains the following to you after you assure him that anything he tells you will be protected under the attorney-client privilege.
Mr. Steele states that he has been out of work and owes money for gambling debts; that he was desperate for money and robbed a gas station last night located a couple of blocks from his house. Mr. Steele states that he used a BB gun but admits that it looks like a real gun. Mr. Steele took a total of $130.00 during the robbery. Mr. Steele states that he was not wearing a mask and that the attendant got a good look at his face. This morning, Mr. Steele heard that officers had stopped by his apartment looking for him. Mr. Steele tells you that the only person at the apartment this morning was his 13-year-old nephew. Mr. Steele did not know whether the 13-year-old let the police in or if the police forced themselves in, but states that the police found the BB gun he used under Mr. Steele’s bed. Mr. Steele wants to know what is going to happen to him should he be arrested — from arrest to sentencing. Mr. Steele has no experience with the criminal justice system and has never been arrested before.
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