A criminal case will involve a number of parties when it comes to the legal responsibilities of various parties. One of the prime movers in this instance will be police and law enforcement who will be charged with a series of tasks to ensure that justice is carried out.
Whilst the American system will see police officials carry out their own internal process, there are bodies that will provide oversight in certain criminal cases. This will see the introduction of various magistrates and public prosecutors who implement a degree of supervision.
Yet in the United States, the duties of police are widespread and vital to all matters revolving around a criminal case. Here are some of the most prevalent endeavors they will carry out.
To Be On The Scene
The investigatory phase that will occur prior to the trail procedure will often see police play a major role. Put simply, they have to be on the scene to understand exactly what has taken place, who is involved and when the event took place. Once the 911 call has gone out, police will regularly be the first on the scene even as a criminal event is occurring in real time.
From taking pictures to securing pieces of evidence and sectioning off a crime scene with taping, the first phase of the investigation will be found with law enforcement. Specialty crime scene investigators (CSI) can be introduced later should the circumstances warrant their expertize.
Obtaining Witness and Suspect Statements
Police need to paint a picture as to the events by opening up a dialogue with those who are involved. From witnesses to victims and even suspects, there must be statements obtained on the record with detailed descriptions. In certain instances, some witnesses or victims will be asked to testify in court.
Searches and Seizures
Should a warrant from a judge be given to law enforcement officials, then the police can venture forward with searches and seizures of items prevalent to the case on a selected premises. This will only occur in the event that there is just cause to do so.
If the police have observed a crime taking place, have probable cause or are in possession of an arrest warrant, then an arrest can take place. These are the only three scenarios in which this can proceed, otherwise an arrest cannot be made in conjunction with a criminal case.
The final report is the filing of an official document that will detail all of these events for the purposes of the court.