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Comparative Justice: Cuba and the United States

Essay by   •  December 7, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  981 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,027 Views

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Abstract

The Country of Cuba is an island south of Florida that is divided into fourteen provinces and several municipalities. The Cuban Government uses the Marxist-Leninist model for its structure (Michalowski, 2002). The American Heritage Dictionary defines The Marxist-Leninist structure as: "The doctrines of Marxism as applied by Lenin, a founder of the Soviet Union, to the building of Marxist nations (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005)." Because of this structure, it is different from the United States Government in many ways, specifically in the criminal justice system. These criminal justice systems are different in how they developed, police procedure, and the way they handle offenders and victims.

The Cuban and United States governments' criminal justice systems are different in how they developed. Cuban law is based on Spanish law like most countries of the world; United States law is based on Anglo-American law (Raucii, 2002). The Spanish law uses civil law as the basis for its procedure where, Anglo-American law uses a common law system. Civil law focuses on a system of codes to enforce the law and keep the peace (Michalowski, 2002). Common law uses the idea that it is unfair to treat similar situations completely different (Harr & Hess, 2008). Cuba does have a few elements of Anglo-American law in it such as, habeas corpus and a greater separation of courts and prosecutors that are not normal characterized in Marxist-Leninist states (Michalowski, 2002). Besides the Anglo-American law elements it also has some elements of socialist characteristics thanks to the close ties with the Soviet Union. Some of these socialist characteristics are as stated in a report for the Bureau of Justice Statistics by Professor of Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University, Ray Michalowski:

1. An emphasis on substantive rather than juridical measures of justice.

2. The use of law as a pro-active tool for socialist development.

3. Limited use of formal legal mechanisms for the resolution of private disputes.

4. The use of informal "social courts" to resolve conflicts such as housing and labor disputes.

5. Direct citizen involvement in the judicial and crime control procedures.

6. And a system of state-organized law collectives to provide low-cost legal services nationwide (Michalowski, 2002).

The Cuban and United States Governments' criminal justice systems are different in police procedure. In some aspects the police procedure is very similar between the two governments, but in others they are the exact opposite. They are similar in the fact that both need search warrants to search a person's home, are not allowed to use force to obtain a confession, use of automobiles and radios in every day work, and that the police are armed. They differ on police procedure in that Cuban police officers don't need warrants to make an arrest, have few limits on interrogating citizens, and the police are in direct connection to the military (Michalowski, 2002). On the other hand, the United States police force need warrants to make an arrest, have limits on interrogating citizens, and the police

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