‘ . . . the quality of a nation’s civilization can be largely measured by the methods it uses in the enforcement of the criminal law.‘ (
Miranda v. Arizona
One aspect that is paramount to a civil society is the presence of laws which are fair to all, irrespective of one’s station in life or understanding of the law. It is, however, instructive to note here that the presence of fair laws does not, in and of itself, reflect ordered or civilized society. For instance, if severe economic, or political inequalities exist concurrent with an extremely fair dispensation of jurisprudence, then one can certainly maintain that order and/or civility have yet to be attained by that society. In short, procedural justice is something, but not everything.
Further, it is safe to conclude that neither social, political, economic or legal utopias exist in America. Hence, there will be criminals and therefore a need for a criminal justice process. If a nation is to live up to its pronouncements of democratic and virtuous ideals in regard to how its citizens are to be treated under the law, then the same must also apply to those who are suspected, accused and convicted of crimes. Even criminals have civil liberties which should be beyond abuse by government agents.
Because each of the 50 states has enacted its own code of criminal laws, the federal Government, by way of the United States Constitution, has granted authority to the Supreme Court to review cases from the state level in matters pertaining to the United States Constitution and federal statutes.