Puerto Rico Criminal Justice Essay

2028 words - 8 pages

As a republic, Puerto Rico has a government that exercises political control over its citizens. As with any republic, a social contract exists between government and citizens in which citizens give up certain freedoms in order to enjoy the protection and comforts that a functioning government can provide. As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico shares our three branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. Focusing on the judicial branch, one must look at the criminal justice system, which consists of policing, courts and corrections.
Criminal justice is a system comprised of government institutions and practices that serve to provide social control through deterrence, sanctions and rehabilitation. In Puerto Rico, a Bill of Rights exists within their Constitution that protects individual freedoms if a citizen is accused of a crime. These protections mitigate any abuse of power by government personnel in the investigation and/or prosecution of a criminal offense. In regards to criminal proceedings citizens of Puerto Rico share the rights of U.S. citizens. There are four amendments in our Bill of Rights that deal directly with criminal prosecution that directly correlates with Sections from Article II of the Puerto Rico Constitution.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” ("Taiwan Civil Government") In Puerto Rico, Section ten, Article II this same protection is afforded to its citizens.
In the U.S. Constitution the Fifth Amendment states, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury… nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” ("Taiwan Civil Government") These rights are mirrored in Puerto Rico’s Article II, Sections seven and eleven, although it is important to point out that Puerto Rico does not support or enforce the death penalty under any circumstance.
Amendment Six ensures “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” ("Taiwan Civil Government") These rights are incorporated in Puerto Rico through Article II, Section 11.
Finally, Amendment Eight prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual...

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