Identify a high-profile felony criminal case (such as the Timothy McVeigh, Susan Smith, or O. J. Simpson cases) and chart the case’s history using the seven stages listed below. The Capella University Library and Internet will be of great assistance to you in identifying a case and getting the details. Provide a brief summary of what occurred at each stage of the case processing, and explain if what occurred is appropriate to current professional practice.


Initial appearance.

Grand jury or preliminary hearing.


Pretrial activities.

Trial activities.


Your summary should be approximately 2–3 pages and must be written in APA sixth edition style and formatting. You should cite at least three resources outside the course materials

In this unit, you will examine the processing of criminal justice cases. Case processing is the linkage between criminal justice’s three interrelating major subsystems:

Law enforcement.




To understand the function of each of these subsystems and to learn what offenders go through at each stage of the justice system, you will analyze how offenders’ cases are processed.

Imagine that a crime has been discovered or reported to the police. The justice process begins with a law enforcement agency’s investigation of the incident. Once law enforcement agencies complete their investigation, a suspect is arrested (Schmalleger, 2006).

Suspects are processed in the local jail or detention center. At this point, they might remain in custody, awaiting trial, or be released on bond. A number of pretrial events may occur, including indictments and grand jury hearings.

Once a suspect is indicted, his or her case will proceed to trial. If found guilty, the suspect is now considered an offender. He or she is sentenced and subjected to a number of penalties and sanctions (Schmalleger, 2006).

You will examine bonds, adjudication process, and sentencing in more detail in Units 7 and 8.


Schmalleger, F. (2006). Criminal justice today: An introductory text for the 21st century (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.


To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:

Explore the three subsystems within criminal justice system.

Analyze how plea bargaining influences correctional systems.

Describe the steps of court processing for a criminal case.

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