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Wedding Cake Model

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The Criminal Justice System is very complex. Each crime falls into a certain category and is then it is decided how the case will be conducted. Many assume that an arrest is made, a court date is set and then they are set free or imprisoned. There is more detail that takes place before a judge makes a ruling. Samuel Walker a justice historian gave the criminal justice system its term “The Wedding Cake Model” The four layers and the size of each layer disclose the magnitude of the crime and its importance. It is concluded that the Criminal Justice System handles each type of crime differently.

The first layer of the cake and the smallest layer are known as the Celebrated layer. It is built around the wealthy and famous people who receive a lot of media attention when they take part in committing a crime. The people in this level have all the tools and money to make certain they have the top lawyers to assist in their legal battles. Examples of this type of layer is the case of OJ Simpson for the murder of his wife, Michael Jackson for child molestation charges and Michael Vick for dog fighting. ( Berger, R.T, 2008) The second layer contains serious felonies. These cases will be held and prosecuted with severe attention. The size of this layer is slightly smaller than the first layer of the Wedding Cake Model. These cases contain murders, burglaries and rape mainly of offenders that did not know their victims. Most of these cases are extremely severe and will result in imprisonment if found guilty.

The third layer are the less serious felonies. These are cases that will or will not be prosecuted because the offender and victim know each other. Due to the personal relationships most cases are not forcefully prosecuted. Examples of these cases are spousal abuse and stalking. Occasionally these cases will often fall into the fourth layer. The fourth layer is the misdemeanors, the less serious and lower court cases. This layer is the biggest layer of the Wedding Cake Model and consists of millions of cases being handled by the Criminal Justice System each and every year. (Sheldin, 2007) Examples of these cases would be disorderly conduct, shop lifting and public intoxication. Most of these cases are given a fine or a few days in jail.

Crime has been a part of our everyday lives for centuries. The Wedding Cake Model does state there are several cases handled in the Criminal Justice System therefore the numerous crimes committed each year need to be assigned to different categories or in layers. This allows each crime to be viewed and punished correctly. Most of these crimes are categorized by those who play a role in the justice system, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges. (Shelden, 2007) However the facts of the crime once declared will ultimately be the deciding factor and define the outcome and the sentenced given.

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