The paper "How the American Criminal Justice System Has Evolved from Its Inception" is a great example of a law research paper.
Criminal defense laws are experiencing speedy transformations in recent years. As the society becomes more responsive towards the current social evils which may in part fabricate felony, it has become routine for defense counsels to protect their respective clients by raising a range of new arguments based on preexisting circumstances or conditions with which their clients were badly affected. While applying such defenses the attorneys are trying to influence the judges either to identify a novel pretext for an offense or to accommodate these circumstances into preexisting defenses. For instance, an individual who has been charged for exhibiting fatal hostility towards others may use it in their own self-defense arguing that the mental ordeal of serving in the Vietnam War caused them to react excessively to aggravation. Similarly, a sufferer of child abuse may use their incidents to alleviate their blameworthiness in an offense, requesting a jury to take into consideration their environment while stipulating a death penalty decision. Although defenses such as these have been used extensively throughout the country, they have rarely achieved, significant success. Even though criminal law reforms may be influenced by virtuous intents, it is often complicated to actually implement/execute the alterations so made, into operation.
Modern laws passed with the changing times, and to counter the new challenges posed, include the statute that prohibits stalking of individuals, obitiatry or assisted suicide, acts of terror assisted by technology, environmental protection acts as well as acts prohibiting terrorism (enacted specifically after the September 11, tragedy).
Certain landmark Supreme Court rulings which transformed the implementation of criminal law have been discussed hereunder1:
Case 1: The Fourth Amendment – Search and Seizure
As early as 1914 the U.S. Supreme Court first apprehended that substantiation in a federal criminal prosecution which was acquired in the absence of a suitable search warrant or plausible grounds would be unacceptable in the court of law. This, however, was merely the commencement of the exclusionary rule under which inappropriately acquired verification is barred from trial. As a result, regardless of how detrimental, such proof cannot be applied to hold the person guilty of an offense. The Supreme Court implemented this arrangement with regard to the federal court system's criminal prosecutions2.
At present, with the evolution of technology and the widespread impact of computers on the American way of life, the law had to be reformed and has undergone significant transformations. Today, searching and seizing of computers for obtaining electronic evidence in criminal investigations is permissible, according to the amendments made in the USA Patriot Act, which came into effect on October 26, 2001.
Section 202 Authority to Intercept Voice Communications in Computer Hacking Investigations
Previous law: Under earlier laws, examiners were not allowed to obtain a wiretap order to capture wire communications (concerning the human voice) for infringements of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030). For instance, in numerous inquiries, hackers have resorted to embezzlement of teleconferencing services from a telephone company and utilized this mode of communication to prepare and perform hacking assaults.
Amendment: Section 202 amends 18 U.S.C. § 2516(1) – the subsection that lists those crimes for which investigators may obtain a wiretap order for wire communications – by including felony violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1030 to the list of predicate offenses3.
Case 2: Obitiatry
Various laws are fashioned in the face of public outcry against a formerly lawful practice, for instance, mercy killing, or physician-assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide became the topic of a nationwide debate when Dr. Jack Kevorkian became involved in what he referred to as an “obitiatry”, the practice of assisting individuals in taking their own lives. In an effort to prevent such a practice, the state of Michigan passed a constitutional ban on assisted suicide, reflecting what lawmakers perceived to be the widespread public outlook.
Dunham, B., (2008). Introduction to Law, CENGAGE Learning, Pp. 529 - 534
Gaines, L. K., Miller, R. L., (2008). Criminal Justice in Action, CENGAGE Learning
Siegel, L. J., (2009). Introduction to Criminal Justice, Pp. 157 - 158