Discretion Of The Criminal Justice System

1509 WordsApr 6, 20167 Pages
Discretion, undoubtedly plays a massive role and is implemented in various aspects of the system. But what is discretion? Discretion, as defined in Canadian Criminal Justice: A Primer, is merely the freedom to choose among different options when confronted with the need to make a decision. As significant part of the criminal justice system in Canada, being a police officers “involves the use of a significant amount of discretion” (McKillop & Pfeifer, 2004) . Due to the portrayal of the police by the media, the general public believes that there are certain methods and procedures that officers have to follow where it is clearly stated that if this happen you have to arrest them or if that happens you have to detain the person. In reality, police officers have to put forth their own judgment based on all the other surrounding circumstances which include the presence of a weapon or what the aggravating or mitigating factors were. This act of making a decision based off of the surroundings is also known as the totality of the circumstance. For example, if a police officer stops a vehicle that was speeding and finds out there is a toddler on board, the officer now has the decision to either arrest the driver and take custody of the toddler or to just let the driver go home safely with a warning involves their own judgment. Nevertheless, discretion does not mean that the officers can completely depend on their judgment; they still have to follow certain guidelines the Canadian
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