Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

Criminal Justice Careers in the Courthouse

Criminal justice careers typically seem to be set within law enforcement, but can in fact take on a wide range of potential jobs within the criminal justice system as a whole.  Many of the top ranked criminal justice jobs are found within the meat of the criminal justice system – the criminal courthouse.  Criminal justice judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, bailiffs, process servers, and law clerks help make up the meat of the criminal justice system.  Just a peek inside this world indicates how often justice is served and to what end it can reach. 

Starting off with the center of the courthouse scene, the criminal justice judge typically holds an extensive background in the criminal justice system, usually as a former defense attorney.  This is an important aspect in the career because the criminal justice system can expose you to the most grotesque crimes or the most innocent defendants.  It is important to be able to tell the difference between the two vastly different realms of criminal justice, and a judge especially has to be able to differentiate between the two.  While many critics accuse judges of either being too lenient with their sentencing or too harsh, very few realize the important and demanding role criminal justice judges play in our society.  They are, in fact, in charge of deciding what defendants are released back into society and which ones have to be sent to prison.

The attorneys who both represent the state and the defendants are also integral parts of the criminal justice system.  Their jobs require entirely different viewpoints and opinions but also require the same background in criminal law.  It is this similarity that ties the criminal justice careers together and helps prove that the defense and prosecution are not that dissimilar from each other!  Law clerks are an additional part of the courtroom setting and can be the right-hand of the judge in many instances.  They are typically responsible for organizing the numerous cases that enter the courtroom, as well as checking any previous cases that may set a precedent for the cases at hand. 

Finally, the bailiffs and process servers who are within the courtrooms at the time of trials and hearings play a major role within the criminal justice system.  Differently from typical law enforcement officers, the bailiffs and process servers must know the rules of the court as well as the rules of criminal law.  Additionally, they must have a strong background within law enforcement so that they are able to handle any disruptions that may occur within the courtroom from any unruly defendants. 

The criminal justice system is a complex organ, with much of the decisions stemming from courtrooms and the many careers that help make the process continue to run smoothly. 


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