I am often baffled by the technicalities of what is going on in a case or some of the basic vocabulary in the criminal justice procedures. Also get confused as to how something got from A to Z and if some intervening steps were missing. This is a good article that helps to clear up some of the mystery of what is going on. There are two links at the end of the article. The first is to the article itself and the second is to a blow-up of the flow chart that takes you through most of the process from the crime to final disposition. Mind you that it will often vary from state to state as well as differences between state and federal jurisdictions.
Criminal Justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts. Those accused of crime have protections against abuse of investigatory and prosecution powers.
In the United States, criminal justice policy has been guided by the 1969 President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, which issued a ground-breaking report “The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society”. This report made more than 200 recommendations as part of a comprehensive approach toward the prevention and fighting of crime. Some of those recommendations found their way into the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. The Commission advocated a “systems” approach to criminal justice, with improved coordination among law enforcement, courts, and correctional agencies. The President’s Commission defined the criminal justice system as the means for society to “enforce the standards of conduct necessary to protect individuals and the community.”
The criminal justice system in England and Wales aims to “reduce crime by bringing more offences to justice, and to raise public confidence that the system is fair and will deliver for the law-abiding citizen.” In Canada, the criminal justice system aims to balance the goals of crime control and prevention, and justice (equity, fairness, protection of individual rights). In Sweden, the overarching goal for the criminal justice system is to reduce crime and increase the security of the people. Overall, criminal justice plays a huge role throughout society as a whole in any place.
Main article: Law
Law is a system of rules usually enforced through a set of institutions. The purpose of law is to provide an objective set of rules for governing conduct and maintaining order in a society.
The oldest known codified law is the Code of Ur-Nammu, written in the Sumerian language circa 2100 BC-2050 BC. The preface directly credits the laws to king Ur-Nammu of Ur. In different parts of the world, law could be established by philosophers or religion. In the modern world, laws are typically created and enforced by governments. These codified laws may coexist with or contradict other forms of social control, such as religious proscriptions, professional rules and ethics, or the cultural mores and customs of a society.
Within the realm of codified law, there are generally two forms of law that the courts are concerned with. Civil laws are rules and regulations which govern transactions and grievances between individual citizens. Criminal law is concerned with actions which are dangerous or harmful to society as a whole, in which prosecution is pursued not by an individual but rather by the state. The purpose of criminal law is to provide the specific definition of what constitutes a crime and to prescribe punishments for committing such a crime. No criminal law can be valid unless it includes both of these factors. The subject of criminal justice is, of course, primarily concerned with the enforcement of criminal law.
 Criminal justice system
The criminal justice system consists of three main parts: (1) Legislative (create laws); (2) adjudication (courts); and (3) corrections (jails, prisons, probation and parole). In a criminal justice system, these distinct agencies operate together both under the rule of law and as the principal means of maintaining the rule of law within society.
Criminal Justice Flow Chart