Sample Case Study on Grand Theft

Grand Theft

The process of criminal justice entails numerous steps beginning with investigation of criminal offense and ends with the release or conviction of an offender. The process of conviction entails the full or partial withdrawal of the suspect from the community with the objective of subjecting him or her to correctional supervision. The success of the criminal justice system is often propelled by the existing rules and decision-making procedures that are at the center of the process.

A Brief Description of the Crime

Sabrina Rodriguez is an anchor at FOX40 was a rested for theft related charges. Ms. Rodriguez turned herself in after to Folsom Police department after a warrant of arrest was issued against her. Among the charges that she was accused of include grand theft, burglary and conspiracy to commit robbery in an alleged shoplifting incident in 2013. The crime was alleged to have been committed at Coach Outlet store in Folsom. According to the police Rodriguez is guilty for the crime because she was an accomplice in stealing $2,500 worth of wallets. Furthermore, the police argue that the decision to arrest Rodriguez was because the store manager was able to recognize her as an anchor at a local television station. Despite the allegations by the police, Ms. Rodriguez maintains that she is innocent of the crime. The court decided to free Ms. Rodriguez after she poster $10, 000 bails. She is expected to appear in court to answer to the charges. Her lawyers however maintain that after listening to her side of the story, Ms. Rodriguez is innocent of all the allegations against her.

The Criminal Justice Process

After a series of investigations have been conducted, the police have the authority to arrest a suspect after acquiring a warrant of arrest against the suspect. The process of arresting an individual involves taking the suspect into custody for the purpose of holding the suspect until he or she is arraigned in court. This makes probable cause the legal requirement for making an arrest (Dilulio et al, 2012). It is an indication of a possible and reasonable link between the suspect and the crime. For an arrest warrant to be valid it must be signed by a judge and it must state the factual and legal support of the arrest. Upon arrest, the suspect must be booked, which include the process of being photographed, required to produce personal information and the production of personal information (Welch, 2007).

After an individual has been arrested and booked, the prosecution process is expected to begin championed a district attorney. The district attorney must exercise discretion when making decisions on whether to charge a person with a crime (Gerbner, 2010). The process of determining the approach given to the criminal offence by the prosecution department involves numerous factors such as the seriousness and the magnitude of the offense. In addition, the prosecution will also make its deliberations on the nature of crime with focus on the strength of the evidence available at their discretion (Dilulio et al, 2012). During this process the prosecution can also decision to agree to provision the suspect with bails or denial of bails and the decision to ensure the suspect is in custody. The main factor that determines the nature of the rime and the probable action by the prosecution includes the danger that the suspect poses to the community and to any additional investigation that is to be conducted on the crime (Dilulio et al, 2012). In the case of Rodriguez the decision to be freed on $10,000 cash bail was because her freedom was perceived to be less dangerous to case proceedings. Rodriguez was however expected to appear in court during court sessions to answer to her crimes.

After the prosecution has determined the nature of the case, the process is to be followed by an indictment. This can be done by a grand jury or by filling of information by the prosecutor. According to the Federal rules of Criminal Procedure, an indictment can be considered a possibility is situations of capital offenses. Under this process the prosecutor has the discretion of choosing an indictment or filing of information in cases that involve criminal offense that is punishable by imprisonment (Meyn, 2014). In the case of Rodriguez, the grand jury has discretion to decide whether to being the charges against her in closed door hearing session in which only the prosecutor presents the evidence. In such a situation, the accused has a right to be present at the grand jury and she can be represented by her defense attorney to dispute the evidence by the prosecution. During this process, the preliminary probable cause of the arrest will also be determined as a way of assessing the possibility that there exists sufficient evidence that warrant a trial of the accused (Dilulio et al, 2012).

When the grand jury through the prosecutor determines that there is sufficient evidence against the accused, the next stage will be an arraignment in a court of law.  An arraignment by a judge often happens before a trial. During an arraignment, the accused together with her attorney and the prosecutor appears before the judge in a court of law. The accused will be expected to enter pleas as either guilty or not guilty. Rodriguez and her lawyers claim that she is innocent of the grand theft allegations. This means that she is expected to enter a not guilty plea.

After the arraignment the pretrial detention and or the bail session is the next step. Detention in this session represents a brief period of temporary custody before the trial begins. Bail represents the amount of money paid by the accused as a guarantee that he or she will appear during the trial session. Rodriguez was granted bail of $10,000 and she was expected to appear in court for her trial sessions.

Plea bargain can commence after bail has been granted. This is often between the defense attorney and the prosecutor. During this process the defendant can plead guilty in exchange for a reduction in the charges against her or inn exchange for sentence reduction. Since Rodriguez maintains that she is innocent the case proceeds to trial and an adjudication of guilt. This process involves the judge or the jury, including active participation by the prosecutor and the defense attorney (Welch, 2007).  The standard evidence for a criminal conviction during this stage is guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. The possibility of being convicted or evading conviction is dependent on the evidence presented by the prosecution and the counter evidence presented by the defense attorney (Dilulio et al, 2012). According to the evidence presented by the defense attorney, Rodriguez is guilty of being an accomplice in a grand crime.

The sentencing process by the judge begins upon full realization that the accused is actually guilty of a criminal offence. The judge has the right to exercise discretion while meting sentence (Meyn, 2014). Since Rodriguez is accused as an accomplice in a robbery activity and her decision to claim that she was not guilty despite the evidence she should serve a 5 year sentence in jail. The determination of the years that she is to serve is based on the nature of the crime and the danger of such accomplices in aiding criminal offenders (Gerbner, 2010).

Other than the five year sentencing Rodriguez’s defense attorney could have entered into a plea bargain     with the prosecution requires the accused to plead guilty in exchange for the reduction of the type of sentencing. This could have been done considering the amount of evidence against Rodriguez. The reduction of sentence could have been in the form of a fine or probation coupled by community service supervised by the criminal justice department.

Weakest and Strongest Link in the Criminal Justice System

The weakest link in the entire system is the discretion given to the prosecution when determining whether to charge the accused of a criminal offence. This may lead to some form of bias from the prosecution due to the sure to demonstrate to the general public that they are involved in an effective process of reducing the rate of criminal activities by determining the nature of crime that a person has been charged with. Any decision by the prosecutor to act on the basis of malice may be detrimental to the reputation of the individual especially when the accused is not guilty of the criminal offense (Gerbner, 2010).

The strongest link in this process is the indictment process. This is because it involves the jury, the prosecutor, the accused and the defense attorney. The strength of this process emanates from the understanding that the group includes experts who have the legal ability to interpreted the available evidence and determine whether the accused has a case to answer (Meyn, 2014). The strength of this process also emanates from the understanding that it also includes a criminal hearing process which is used in the determination of the existence of sufficient evidence against the accused. The fact that the defendant has a right to be present with his or her attorney to dispute the evidence is sufficient in the determination of the efficacy and the effective nature of the criminal justice system in dispensing competent and high level justice system within the United States (Welch, 2007).


Rodriguez was accused of being an accomplice in an alleged robbery at Coach Outlet store in Folsom. The warrant for her arrest was given following a series of investigations by the police departed. The prosecution was charged with the responsibility of determining the nature of the crime and charge Rodriguez. Through her attorney Rodriguez was able to demonstrate her not guilty plea but there was a plethora of evidence by the prosecution to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that she was an accomplice in the crime. The Judge decided to sentence her to five years in prison. There was however possible for her attorney and the prosecution to enter a plea bargain as a way of reducing the nature of her sentence.




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