Although subject to significant restraints under federal law, states retain considerable leeway in shaping their criminal justice procedures. In their exercise of that authority, states are subject both to influences that push in the direction of individualistic innovation and to countervailing influences that push in the direction of emulating the reforms adopted in other jurisdictions. The end result is state laws of criminal procedure that vary in many respects from state to state but also reflect the significant influence of various “models.” Foremost among those models are the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and several federal statutes. Although these federal laws were adopted for a federal criminal justice system that in many ways is quite different from the typical state system, they have been replicated in basic structure and content by numerous states. Exactly why the states have chosen this path is uncertain, but the path is now so well traveled that any changes in the federal law of criminal procedure automatically take on a significance that extends far beyond a federal system that in itself handles only a minute portion of all criminal prosecutions.
"Federal Criminal Procedure as a Model for the States"
Areas of Interest
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science