Procedural Due Process

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Procedural Due Process

Canadian Common Law tradition holds that no individual shall be held liable for a crime without due process of law. Donnie Jordan, the defendant, has the right not to be deprived of his liberty without the full implementation of the criminal justice process. Donnie must become the subject of a criminal case to determine the extent of his guilt. The criminal justice system provides the basic components and steps for criminal prosecutions. Typically, the process begins with a police investigation.  

Criminal Investigation

A criminal investigation begins when law enforcement becomes notified of suspected illegal activity. Notification occurs in various ways, including a victim or witness making a formal report with an officer regarding suspicious activity (Dandurand et al. 41). Eleven women have already come forward, testifying to the police that Donnie used drugs to rape them. Law enforcement will need to gather more information through interviews with the victims. At this point, police might request a judge to issue a search warrant. The case outlines that the police found 1000 tablets of Rohypnol in Donnie’s residence, which is enough to warrant an arrest.


An arrest entails taking an individual into custody to hold the suspect until court. Three conditions can lead to an arrest. The first is probable cause to believe the suspect committed a crime. The second is if a crime is committed in front of a police officer. The third is if there is a warrant for a person’s arrest (Dandurand et al. 41). One thousand tablets of Rohypnol in Donnie’s residence is sufficient probable cause to believe the defendant date raped the eleven women. Law enforcement will file criminal charges through a grand jury indictment to kick start the formal criminal justice process. The file informs the prosecutor of the type of criminal offence to charge. Donnie Jordan will be prosecuted under the Section 265 of the Criminal Code of Canada (Maither 3530).

Initial Hearing/Arraignment

An arraignment is the first court proceeding after the filing of criminal charges. Each provincial criminal court has a specific window when the defendant has to be arraigned. An example is Ontario’s Jordan Rule that grants only 18 months (Maither 24). An initial hearing will entail the following functions.

Advisement of the Defendant’s Rights

During the arraignment, the judge normally informs the defendant of the charges, his constitutional rights and maximum and minimum penalties. For instance, Section Ten of the Canadian Charter establishes the right to be represented by a lawyer. If the defendant cannot afford one, the court will appoint one at no additional expense (Allen et al. 258). Another purpose of the initial hearing is to determine bail and pre-trial conditions for the defendant.

Bail and Pre-Trial Conditions

The judge will cover bail and release terms at the arraignment. An arrested defendant can get out of custody by posting bail in some instances. The defendant can also be released on ‘own recognizance’ (Allen et al. 181). Defendants who get released must agree to certain conditions to protect victims and witnesses and to ensure proceedings continue as arranged. A judge would consider a defendant’s criminal history when deciding whether to allow release. Donnie has many years of date raping vulnerable, lonely women. The longevity of the crimes might convince the judge not to grant a waiver.

Entering a Plea

            Donnie has the choice to use the arraignment to enter a plea. In some provincial courts, the judge allows the defendant to state whether he is guilty or not guilty during the initial hearing (Allen et al. 181). Other provincial courts do not allow the defendant to make a plea until the preliminary hearing.

Preliminary Hearing

The defendant of felony charges has the legal right to a preliminary hearing. At this point in the criminal justice system, the judge determines whether there is sufficient evidence to support the criminal charges (Allen et al. 1076). The judge plays the role of the grand jury during the hearing. The prosecution will present the testimonies of Donnie’s eleven victims before the judge. The discovered 1000 Rohypnol tablets will also be introduced to prove probable cause exists. The most likely scenario is that the judge will find sufficient probable cause for Donnie’s case to move to the next stage.

Discovery and Pre-Trial Motions

During pre-trial motions, the prosecution and the defendant’s lawyer exchange information regarding the case. Typically, information includes interview videos, police reports, scene photographs, and other data relevant to the case. Criminal justice standards mandate the prosecution to provide any information in its possession that can be helpful to the defendant (Allen et al. 1125). During pre-trial, the prosecution might request the judge to admit new evidence or the defence to disclose discoveries. For instance, if other women step up claiming to be victims of Donnie, the prosecution might request the judge to listen to their testimonies. The defence can also ask the judge to suppress particular evidence or the total dismissal of charges. Such a possibility is likely if the eleven women are found to be colluding.  

Plea Hearing

The plea hearing is the subsequent court appearance in cases where the defendant did not enter a plea agreement. During the plea, the defendant might enter a no contest or plead guilty after reaching an agreement with the prosecution (Dandurand et al. 41). If the defendant does not enter any plea, the judge will set a date for the actual criminal trial. A plea hearing aims to provide the prosecution and defendant with a chance to avoid going to trial (Dandurand et al. 42). The prosecution offers a plea bargain that the defendant might agree to, resulting in minor sentences or the dismissal of charges.

Criminal Trial

Donnie Jordan has the constitutional right to a jury trial. The defendant also has the right to waive the jury trial and have the judge make the ruling. Such a hearing is termed a bench trial (Allen et al. 1283). Most defendants prefer a jury trial because of the higher chances of being acquitted of a crime. A jury trial begins with both the prosecution and defence selecting six to twelve jurors from a pool of their peers. Subsequently, the prosecution and defence will present their opening statements, previewing the evidence to be discussed during the trial (Allen et al. 1284). After the opening remarks, each side will argue its evidence. At this point, the prosecution will bring in Donnie’s eleven victims to provide testimonies. The prosecution will also submit the discovered Rohypnol tablets. The jury will then head somewhere private to deliberate the evidence and determine whether the prosecution proved beyond doubt that the defendant is guilty.

Sentence Hearing

A sentencing hearing occurs if the defendant pleaded guilty, no content or if the jury trial did not result in a dismissal. The judge will decide a sentence for the crime within the allowable range of the law. Section 265 of the Criminal Code of Canada states that Donnie Jordan can serve up to 14 years for date rape (Maither 3530). The law strictly focuses on time served as there are no monetary penalties for the crime. For a defendant who entered into a plea agreement, the final sentence reflects the agreed-upon conditions. However, the judge has the final authority. The constitution allows the judge to change the final sentencing to reduce or increase the penalties (Allen et al. 1283). Such a scenario is based on the defendant’s behaviour, criminal history, financial situation and substance abuse history.

Appeal/Post-Conviction Remedies

The defendant can file an appeal with appellate courts to take a case back for retrial. Donnie can use such an option if he feels the sentencing hearing did not follow the law. If the appellate court reverses a case, the original sentence becomes nullified (Allen et al. 1097). The reversal forces the prosecutor to either refile or drop charges. Even if the prosecutor chooses to drop Donnie’s charges, he can still be prosecuted in the future as the statute of limitations for date rape does not run out. Most Canadian provinces do not set a statute of limitations for rape.

Works Cited

Allen, Ronald J, Joseph L. Hoffmann, Debra A. Livingston, Andrew D. Leipold, and Tracey L. Meares. Criminal Procedure: Investigation and Right to Counsel. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, 2020.

Dandurand, Yvon, Annette Vogt, Jamie Lee and Rebecca Sharpless. Restorative Justice Programs at Various Stages of the Criminal Justice Process. Handbook of Restorative Justice [2nd Ed]. United Nations, 2020. (pp. 41-48). 

Maither, L. The Canadian Criminal Code with Supporting Cases. Routledge, 2018.

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