Essay on Two Models of the Criminal Process

8207 WordsMar 22, 201133 Pages
Two Models of the Criminal Process HERBERT L. PACKER Source: Reprinted from The Limits of the Criminal Sanction by Herbert L. Packer, with the permission of the publishers, Stanford University Press. ( 1968 by Herbert L. Packer. In one of the most important contributions to systematic thought about the administration of criminal justice, Herbert Packer articulates the values supporting two models of the justice process. He notes the gulf existing between the "Due Process Model" of criminal administration, with its emphasis on the rights of the individual, and the "Crime Control Model," which sees the regulation of criminal conduct as the most important function of the judicial system. T wo models of the criminal process will…show more content…
Some Common Ground However, the polarity of the two models is not absolute. Although it would be possible to construct models that exist in an institutional vacuum, it would not serve our purposes to do so. We are postulating, not a criminal process that operates in any kind of society at all, but rather one that operates within the framework of contemporary American society. This leaves plenty of room for polarization, but it does require the observance of some limits. A model of the criminal process that left out of account relatively stable and enduring features of the American legal system would not have much relevance to our central inquiry. For convenience, these elements of stability and continuity can be roughly equated with minimal agreed limits expressed in the Constitution of the United States and, more importantly, with unarticulated assumptions that can be perceived to underlie those limits. Of course, it is true that the Constitution is constantly appealed to by proponents and opponents of many measures that affect the criminal process. And only the naive would deny that there are few conclusive positions that can be reached by appeal to the Constitution. Yet there are assumptions about the criminal process that are widely shared and that may be viewed as common ground for the operation of any model of the criminal process. Our first task is to clarify these assumptions. First, there is the assumption, implicit in the ex post facto clause of the
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