The comprehension of criminal policy and procedure is often enhanced through the use of models. Based on desirable constitutional values, the Crime Control Model and Due Process Model are used to explore the continuum of liberty and order. These competing values are used to reflect and interpret those values as expressed by the Supreme Court as well as the everyday citizen.
Much like the prevailing political parties of today, the Crime Control Model and Due Process Model take opposing views to the purpose and application of the law. For example, the Crime Control Model is based upon the assumption of guilt, and the inherent accuracy of prosecutors and law enforcement. The focus is on deterring and eliminating crime as well as the upholding of public order. The Crime Control Model is opposed to restrictions on law enforcement investigations and is primarily concerned with factual guilt (Zalman, 2011). Interestingly, this model is often adhered to by conservative individuals who generally prefer less government interference in the lives of individuals. Conversely, the Due Process Model is often touted by liberal individuals who are often more concerned about the greater good. The Due Process Model aligns more comfortably with the adversarial judicial process as it in primarily concerned with finding the truth and assumes that criminal justice professionals make mistakes. Legal guilt takes precedence over conviction and punishment, as the assumption of innocence is stressed (Zalman, 2011).
With the basic principles of the Crime Control Model and Due Process Model in mind, it is easily comprehended how proponents of these models may view law an interpretations of law in conflicting ways. This includes interpretations of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments which declare very important rights concerning individual civil liberties.
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects individuals from search and seizure, as well as warrants, without probable cause. It also clarifies that an individual has a right to security of person, home and effects. Both crime models would agree that unchecked search and seizure is unacceptable (Zalman, 2011). However, Crime Control Model proponents would like to see more leeway for law enforcement concern searches, whereas the Due Process Model proponents agree that strict guidelines concerning the rights of law enforcement versus the rights of individuals. These restrictions include the exclusionary rule which states that any evidence obtained by illegal means is inadmissible in court. Through the lens of the Crime Control Model, this evidence would be admissible and even encouraged. Due process, however, would consider this the fruit of a poisonous tree.
Another contentious difference of opinion is found in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Fifth Amendment guarantees the right to a jury trial and protection against self-incrimination and double jeopardy. In the case of Griffin V. California, it was decided that a person choice to remain silent could not be used as a means of determining guilt. In essence, the assumption of guilt harkens back to inquisitorial courts (Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609). Indeed, it also harkens back to the debate of presumed innocence and assumption of guilt. On this issues, Crime Control Model and Due Process Model having conflicted values. This conflict continues on in the Sixth Amendment.
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution acknowledges a person’s right to a speedy trial, an impartial jury, the right to confront witnesses for the prosecution, and to subpoena witnesses for the defense (Zalman, 2011). While some Amendments seem to lean more favorable towards the Due Process model, this one fall more into alignment with the values of the Crime Control Model. After all, a speedy trial would be best in order to deter crime and inflict punishment. However, in practice the Due Process model is used. While all these previously mentioned rights would be considered beneficial by both models, the Due Process model attempts to add stipulations to it. This is most notably seen in the appeals process. While it is not in direct conflict with the speedy trial, it does extend the process further before punishment is incurred.
Of course, all these differences concerning the Amendments would not be applicable it those decisions were made by the state. This is exactly the issue concerning the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment contains several important clauses including who is considered a citizen, the right to due process, equal protection under the law, guidelines for who can hold office, a statement against questioning public debts, and the power of Congress to enforce such rules contained in the Fourteenth Amendments. This Amendment became an issue of debate after the Supreme Court overruled the Dred Scott decision, allowing for slaves and their descendants born in America to be citizens of the United States. However, the power to enforce those rights in each state was questioned. By the 1960’s the Bill of Rights was adopted into the Fourteenth Amendment and therefore applicable to the states. This application primarily takes place through the due process clause. Through the due process clause, any action that is considered a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment is considered unconstitutional and therefore under the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Both Crime Control Model and the Due Process model would benefit from numerous aspects of the Fourteenth Amendment
Concerning the application of Crime Control Models and Due Process Models through the Amendments, it is evident that both models have their strengths and weaknesses. It could be determined that a combined model would afford a better description of the actual criminal justice process. Perhaps crime control with the applications of due process would provide a more complete picture.
The Crime Control Model and Due Process Model, despite any contradictions, convey the values that underlie the American criminal justice system. Through them, we can better understand the continuum of order and liberty and those passions concerning them that reside in the core of every American. The models provide a lens through which both law maker and average citizen can understand the criminal policy and procedures.
Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609 (1965).
Zalman, M. (2011). Criminal procedure: Constitution and society (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.