Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Crime, Police, Criminal Justice, Law, Media, Supreme Court, Evidence, Public

Pages: 1

Words: 275

Published: 2023/04/10


The criminal justice system in the United States offers various safeguards to defendants suspected of committing criminal acts in order to allow due process. These safeguards include the Miranda Rights. The following of these procedures will produce an appropriate defense for the accused and allow the prosecution to try cases without ambiguity. However, overzealous police personnel or district attorneys, in cases that attract widespread media attention often violate the safeguards. The means of procuring evidence is not always compliant with the statues of the law. The desired end for cases is achievable through questionable means. It compromises the due process promised to US citizenry by the constitution (Acker and Brody, 2012).

Reasons for controversy

The Miranda Rights allow a defendant the right to remain silent. However, police investigators at times hound their suspects despite the mention to exercise the right by the suspect. Coerced testimonies are one of the leading reasons for wrongful convictions in the United States today. Seventy percent of these confessions have a history of Miranda Rights violation by police interrogators. Even in cases where the suspect is guilty, the incompetent enthusiasm of the police allows dangerous criminals to slip through the cracks. Improper police procedure can potentially cost the case.
The issue is controversial since the job of the police is to capture criminal elements. The availability of excessive concessions to arrested individuals can also allow violent criminals to escape punishment and commit heinous crimes. Hence, the debate is whether or not the police are correct in using questionable procedures to extract confessions. The case of the Norfolk Four resulted in the wrongful conviction of four innocent men because of such procedures. The other aspect of the controversy is the interpretation of police excesses during the trial (Acker and Brody, 2012). Should the evidence be admitted or not?

Means and Ends portrayal in the television show “The Practice”

The Practice is a television show that surrounds a controversial law firm that has a reputation to free dangerous criminals based on technicalities. The protagonists are constantly at war with the police and the district attorney’s office over issues of Means and Ends. Season three features the episode titled, “Closet Justice” where one of the protagonists defends a man arrested for killing a nun and storing her in his closet. The protagonist is able to prove that the search conducted on the property by a rookie police officer was illegal. The judge reluctantly throws the case out. The police officer was called to the scene to investigate a possible kidnapping. He however, did not have permission from the owner or a search warrant to open the closet. A similar situation manifests again in Season four in the episode titled, “Boston Confidential”. Although in a real case, no judge will exclude the evidence, this is an example of how a procedural lapse can cause havoc. The intentions are good however, the violation of the law produces a less than desired outcome.

Media influence on the public

The role of the media is usually inconsistent. The focus is always on the sensationalism and seldom focuses on the facts. The days of investigative journalism are of the past in the United States today. The public’s lone access to such matters is only through media reports. The police are always the first agency to come under criticism when a heinous crime is discovered. This creates immense pressure for the police who will look for quick answers like those that they did in the case of the Norfolk Four. A well-publicized trial followed by rare reports on appeals creates an opinion in the public that the police procedures are commendable. There is criticism of a judge in the media if he admonishes an erring police officer however; there is no proper interpretation of the law in the media report. The incomplete information circulated by the media creates a rift between the criminal justice system and the citizenry.


It is not okay to procure evidence through anyway possible. Although the nature of the crime is beyond comprehension like that of serial killings, it is important to adhere to the tenets of the law. The 1990s case of the River Park Rapist is an illustration of this logic. Richard Alexander was convicted based on questionable eyewitness testimony. However, it there were two rapists in operation and not a single serial rapist as thought. The questionable procedure allowed the real perpetrators to hurt more victims while the police were pursuing an innocent Richard Alexander (Innocence Project, n.d.). The balance between means and ends is important to uphold the law while keeping the public safe. The balancing act does not hurt police investigations. On the contrary, if followed properly, it provides comprehensive closure to important cases.


Acker, J. R., and Brody D. C. (2012). Criminal Procedure: A Contemporary Perspective. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. Burlington: MA. Pp. 1 - 24.
Innocence Project Staff (n.d.). Richard Alexander. Retrieved from: http://www.innocenceproject.org/cases-false-imprisonment/richard-alexander

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WePapers. (2023, April, 10) Free Means AND Ends Essay Sample. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-means-and-ends-essay-sample/
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WePapers. 2023. Free Means AND Ends Essay Sample., viewed April 17 2024, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-means-and-ends-essay-sample/>
WePapers. Free Means AND Ends Essay Sample. [Internet]. April 2023. [Accessed April 17, 2024]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-means-and-ends-essay-sample/
"Free Means AND Ends Essay Sample." WePapers, Apr 10, 2023. Accessed April 17, 2024. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-means-and-ends-essay-sample/
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"Free Means AND Ends Essay Sample," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 10-Apr-2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-means-and-ends-essay-sample/. [Accessed: 17-Apr-2024].
Free Means AND Ends Essay Sample. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-means-and-ends-essay-sample/. Published Apr 10, 2023. Accessed April 17, 2024.

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