The American justice system has evolved gradually over time. Frank Schmallenger’s book Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the 21st Century (2017) explores some significant milestones in the US justice system. Due process model and landmark cases are some of the vital concepts which have been discussed in the book. Schmallenger describes each of the two concepts vividly and how they have impacted the legal profile of the United States.
Due process is among the deep-rooted legal models in the American constitution, which focuses on promoting the individual rights of every citizen. According to Schmallenger (2017), due process of the law provides that there should be fair treatment of each citizen by notifying them about charges, actions, or decisions made by the court through a normal hearing process involving impartial judges. It ensures that whatever legal process does not violate human rights, and upon the violation, the court needs to notify the person affected earlier enough to make them aware. That is, it should involve a consultative legal process before the breach occurs since it is against the Bill of Rights.
Notably, as outlined in the Bill of Rights, no citizen should be deprived of the rights associated with life, property, or liberty without engaging the due process of the law (Schmallenger, 2017). As such, the due process is anchored on three bills, such as the right to rife, the right to own property, and the right to liberty. Thus, the death penalty in the court of law should be reached only through a due process of the law. Also, when the government wants to use private or individual property, the owner should be notified earlier, and the due process of the law should be engaged. Likewise, depriving an individual or individuals, their liberty can only be effected through the due process of the law.
Moreover, Schmallenger defines landmark cases as the historical court decisions or judgments which have impacted even the current law. Since the inception of the US Supreme court in 1789, it has handled cases that strengthened human rights while others perpetrated the violation of human rights through slavery. For example, Plessy v. Ferguson (1986) is a landmark case in the US constitution, but it violated the right to liberty because it encouraged the separation of Blacks and Whites. In other words, landmark cases act as a reference point upon which future court decisions will be made.
Furthermore, landmark cases are essential in the legal profile of any country because they contributed to the development of more refined laws. As a result, landmark cases are revised to create contemporary laws. Schmallenger (2017), noted that landmark cases are consulted, reviewed, or edited when making legal amendment in a constitution. They act as a basis through which current and future policies are made. The history of judicial decisions made by the court of law is very critical when making new laws or improving the existing one.
In conclusion, due process of the law ensures that some fundamental human rights are not violated. It focuses on safeguarding three rights that protect life, property, and liberty. The Bill of Rights requires a due process of the law to be followed when the violation of any of such rights is about to take place. Also, landmark cases are court decisions made in the past, which have implications in the future. They provide a foundation or reference point to current and future court cases.
Schmallenger, F. (2017). Criminal Justice Today: An Introductory Text for the 21st Century, 14th Edition. Pearson.