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Pendulum Effect: Analysis of Due Process Model and Crime Control Model

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A pendulum is when there is this thing, such as a line, moving left and right. It is seen everywhere, whether it is a super simple concept like the grandfather clock or a complex one that has to do with the crime control and due process models. The crime control model “refers to a theory of criminal justice which places emphasis on reducing the crime in society through increased police and prosecutorial powers.”(“USLegal,” n.d. Par. 1). The due process model “focuses on individual liberties and rights and is concerned with limiting the powers of government”(“USLegal,” n.d. Par. 1). These are very different models of the Criminal Justice System, and this is why it creates a Pendulum type of effect. Over time, this imaginary line moves from the Due Process Model to the Crime Control Model and vice versa. The ideal place that we want that line to be is somewhere in the middle. This means that it is not too close to one type of model. Being too close to one type of model leads to a lot of bad things. These bad things can happen in basically any part of the Criminal Justice System, such as sentencing, prisons, plea bargains, etc.

There are plenty of examples of when that imaginary line goes toward the Crime Control Model. Some of the examples are landmark court cases, and one of these court cases is the landmark court case, Santobello V. New York, which occurred in 1971. This case basically made plea bargains more important in cases. Santobello was convicted, and he pled not guilty to it, but then he received a plea deal and he took it. He had to wait a long time after this and by the time he went back to court, a lot had changed. There was a different prosecutor and instead of giving him the original plea deal that Santobello had accepted, he gave him the maximum sentence, which was a year. Santobello was not happy with this and he appealed, to no success. It went up to the supreme court and they decided that, “Even though the trial judge claimed that the prosecutor’s recommendation did not influence his sentencing decision, the prosecutor had a duty to uphold the original agreement” (Oyez, n.d. Par. 3). It also states that “The opinion emphasized that the plea bargaining process is a crucial part of the criminal justice system” (Oyez, n.d. Par. 3). The reason this “pushes” that imaginary line towards the crime control model is because it makes the plea bargaining process legitimate. It is a way to get more people to take a sentence and get through crimes and trials faster.

Another example of a landmark court case that had the imaginary line lean towards the Crime Control Model is Nix V. Williams. This is a case that happened in 1984. The guy, Williams, was arrested for murder. They had a search for the girl’s body and they ended up finding her. However, something very interesting happened during the search. “…after responding to an officer’s appeal for assistance, Williams made statements to the police (without an attorney present) which helped lead the searchers to the child’s body. The defendant’s Miranda rights were only read to him after his arrest” (Oyez, n.d. Par. 1). Although the exclusionary rule is a thing, and that this might have seemed like it was violating it, it actually wasn’t. This showed that there was an exception to the exclusionary rule. This exception was definitely in favor of the police finding evidence to convict him, even though it technically violated the 4th amendment.

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There are also plenty of examples of when that imaginary line goes more toward the Due Process Model. One example is Mapp V. Ohio, which is a historical landmark court case that occurred in 1961. In this court case, Police Officers searched Dollree Mapp’s house because they were looking around for a suspect, but they did not have a warrant to do this search. Although the police officers didn’t find the suspect, they did find other things. The Police officers “did discover certain allegedly “lewd and lascivious” books and pictures, the possession of which was prohibited under Ohio state law. Mapp was convicted of violating the law on the basis of this evidence” (Diugnan, 2019, Par. 2). As you can see, the police officers did not have a warrant to actually do this search. This is when the exclusionary rule comes into play. The exclusionary rule is a law that says that evidence can’t be used if it is acquired illegally. In the end, the judges ruled that evidence obtained illegally is invalid in a state court and that it violated the fourth amendment (Duignan, 2019). This whole case is an example of that imaginary line swinging towards the due process model because it is in favor of the civilian. It shows that “regular” people have protection and rights that the government and everyone working with them have to abide by.

Another court case that leaned heavily towards the due process side was Missouri V. Frye and it happened in 2011. Frye was offered 2 deals, but his lawyer never said anything about them to him. So, not knowing about those 2 deals, Frye just pleaded guilty. He then appealed and said that his lawyer should have told him about it. Although Frye lost when it was taken up to a higher court, it still had the pendulum swing straight towards the Due Process side. This is because the court established a rule that an ineffective council on a plea bargain violates the sixth amendment.

As you can see, there are plenty of times where the pendulum moves. Sometimes, it only “swings” a little, but sometimes it can swing all the way. This causes problems in way more places than just plea deals. I only chose some cases, but there are a lot more of them to look at. If you do your research, you can see when and where this shift actually happens. We should always hope that the pendulum never swings too far to one side. The middle is exactly where we want it to be as much as possible.

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Pendulum Effect: Analysis of Due Process Model and Crime Control Model. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from
“Pendulum Effect: Analysis of Due Process Model and Crime Control Model.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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