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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Essay on Use of Technology and Challenges in the Administration of Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice administrators have a lot of challenges in the day to day administration of the criminal justice system.  Presently, court administrators have been benefited by the development in computer and internet technology.  Courts have now created website that have allowed them to reach the litigants making dissemination of information faster and more efficient.  For instance, courts have now issued information about shortened court hours.  They have also posted on their websites information about court fees, bail schedules, court rules and other information that may help litigants.  The computers and Internet Technology have greatly streamlined and improved the administration of the criminal justice system.

However, there are still a number of challenges in the administration of criminal justice system that need to be addressed.  First, is the volume of caseloads that affect the schedule of hearing of cases in courts.  It should be stressed that the delays in the hearings in courts affect the criminal justice system.  After all, justice delayed is justice denied.  Recent studies show that the state courts handle as much as 100 million new cases annually (Larry J. Siegel p.366).   Majority of these cases involve drugs which is considered to have significantly increased the burden of the courts.  While the Supreme Court has created specialized courts to deal with specialized cases such as drugs, juvenile crimes and annulment cases, these have not been enough to meet the increase in the number of cases in court.

The volume of caseloads in court affects the administration of justice.  When the volume of caseload is heavy schedule of hearings is affected.  Instead of a case being heard for twice a month courts are forced to schedule hearings at least one a month or even once every other month.  This delays the hearings of the case and the disposition of the orders and decisions.

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Another major challenges in the administration of the courts is the issue of privacy.  As mentioned earlier, use of technology in court administration has increased and it is now being fused with the day to day functions of the court in order to streamline its process.  An issue is that the use of technology in actual courtrooms may pose significant problem in the future for the courts.  For example, the presentation of proof and evidence such as documents and pictures are now being done through monitors.  Documentary evidence are not being digitalized so that its reproduction and presentation in court could be made easier.  Suspects and witnesses need not appear in actual court.  In some courts, suspects and witness need not be physically present in an actual hearing since they could testify using computer monitors (Frederic I Lederer 1).

One reason why suspects are required to take the witness stand and face the victim is the presumption that it is more difficult to lie when a person is under oath and when is in front of a jury who have the opportunity to examine his behavior and his demeanor.  The jury and the judge can see the actual demeanor of the suspect while he is being questioned.  In contrast, allowing a suspect to testify in court without being physically present in court gives him an unfair advantage since it deprives the judge and the jury opportunity to actually and physically see his behavior while he is making his testimony.  This may affect the administration of justice.

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