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The Wedding Cake Model of Criminal Justice: Celebrated Cases Examples

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The Wedding Cake Model of Criminal Justice: Celebrated Cases Examples essay

This paper’s topic is over the articles that CNN uses under its “Crime + Justice” category. The articles selected for the paper show multiple different cases that would be considered “celebrated cases” under “The Wedding Cake Model of Criminal Justice”. After looking through many of the articles, it appears all the cases under the category would be considered high profile and popular which is what fits under celebrated cases. In conclusion, after analyzing the cases that were picked, it seems CNN picks controversial topics that would get people thinking about specific ideas and whether things are being done correctly.

To understand the informal justice process and where to place cases, Samuel Walker created a way of describing it. Walker compares informal justice to a four-layer cake, explaining that with each level of the cake (starting from the bottom of the cake and going up) the cases become more and more serious or more and more famous. For example, petty theft would be considered the 4th level on the wedding cake because it is a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a less serious offense punishable by a fine, probation, or a short jail term usually less than one-year incarceration. The 3rd level of the cake would be for less serious offenses that could possibly be a felony. This level is more reserved for the younger or first-time offenders of things like burglary or a robbery preformed without guns. A felony is a serious offense such as murder, armed robbery, or rape. Punishment can range from imprisonment in state or federal institutions or even capital punishment. The 2nd level is for serious felonies only such as robberies involved with a lot of money, rape, and murder. However, the top of the cake, 1st level, is for the celebrated cases. This is reserved for the famous people, high publicity cases such as OJ Simpson, Micheal Jackson or the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. The high-profile cases like these also involve the full criminal justice process.

After reviewing the current justice articles on CNN’s website, many if not all the articles are about celebrities or of people with high popularity. Also, if the cases were not committed by highly popular individuals, they were captured by national headlines. This would fit under the top level of the cake, the celebrated cases, because the media typically focus on 1st level cases for views and to possibly bring about social change.

Bill Cosby, an American stand-up comedian, actor, author and recently a convicted sex offender was considered “America’s Dad”. Cosby within the years, was subject to highly publicized allegations of sexual assault. A lot of women have accused him of things such as sexual battery, child sexual abuse, and even sexual misconduct. On Tuesday, September 25, 2018 was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in state prison for the drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand which happened 14 years ago. His case represents the top level of the cake because of his popularity and how much coverage his case had. In fact, the whole page of CNN’s crime and justice was full of reports and updates involving him getting his sentence and mug shot.

Florida man Michael Drejka is the suspect of a shooting that happened in July 2018 over a handicapped parking space outside of a convenience store. After firing a round into Markeis McGlockton’s chest, the man crawled back into the store and fell in front of his child’s feet. McGlockton was later pronounced dead at the hospital. The case has gained some ground because of the Florida “stand your ground” law which also had the spotlight in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin. According to Mark Randall and Hendrick DeBoer (2012), the castle Doctrine and “stand-your-ground” laws are affirmative defenses for individuals charged with criminal homicide. The law in Florida says that one can use deadly force to prevent death or great bodily harm before escaping because they have the right to be in that area regardless if there is a way to escape the situation. Originally, Drejka was going to walk away from this shooting with no repercussions; however, he was arrested in August 13, 2018 and remained in jail for 50 days before going on bail for $100,000. This case would be considered a celebrated case because it gained national headlines; even though the people involved were not popular. Also, the Black Lives Matter movement may have helped this case gain its fame on the national headlines as well.

Kavanaugh, the US supreme court nominee is being accused of sexually assaulting Christine Blasey Ford when they were teenagers at a party in Montgomery county, Maryland. Also, Deborah Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself at a party when they were at college. She claimed that Kavanaugh pushed himself onto her without her consent. There is possibly more evidence from one of his school friends, Mark Judge. This case against Kavanaugh is considered a celebrated case because he is possibly going to hold a very important position in the US government. It is also close to mid-term elections which means that this could be very political and change the minds of many people.

Ortiz, Boxer and entertainer, was arrested after a months-long investigation by a family protection unit. Victor turned himself in on Tuesday September 25, 2018 and was booked at the East County Jail in Ventura County. His expected bail is going to be $100,000. Ortiz was charged with forcible oral copulation, forcible rape, and forcible digital penetration, according to police. This case would also be considered a celebrated case because Ortiz is a very popular fighter and entertainer. He had roles in “The Expendables” movies as well as TV shows.

Chaoqun, a 27-year old Chinese born man was arrested Tuesday September 26, 2018 in Chicago for supposedly spying for Beijing. He was accused of acting as an “illegal agent” and being part of China’s top espionage agency. Ji was allegedly tasked with identifying individuals for possible recruitment as spies. Army intelligence in a statement said “adding that he could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of acting as an illegal foreign agent. ” This case would be considered a celebrated case because it was a highly popularized case and the fact that the US military became involved with figuring out if Ji Chaoqun is guilty of spying on Americans working for US defense contractors. With the tensions growing between US and China, this could be the foreshadowing of a trade war between them.

Escobar, described as a violent predator, is thought to be the suspect of killing three homeless men as well as the attempted kiss on four different people. The victims that died, were result of injuries sustained from the violent attacks. The surviving victims of Escobar’s attacks left one on life support and 2 others in comas. Investigators believe that the reason for his attacks were robbery. Escobar has been caught and will be held without bail and is also expected to appear in court Wednesday September 26, 2018. This case is considered a celebrated case because it has become popular due to national headlines and because of how he could be connected to other attacks in Texas.

After recent spikes in homicide in Acapulco, Guerrero Coordination Group and joint operation of Mexican state and federal departments seized control of Acapulco’s police department on Wednesday September 26, 2018. The coordinated attack led to the disarmament and detainment of the police from the station. As of now, there were two police commanders that were arrested on murder charges and will be moved for their protection. Even though the city’s police are in shambles, the city will operate as per usual. This case would be considered as a celebrated case because of its place on national headlines and the fact that the Mexican military hard to be involved in the investigation.

All the cases that CNN reviews are all highly popularized cases that make it to the top of the headlines for millions to see. However, these cases are more than just popular news stories. They show the drastic changes that are happening all around us. With cases such as the fatal shooting of McGlockton, it goes to show us that maybe we need better laws to protect ourselves from trigger happy gun owners. Also, cases such as the one with Ji Chaoqun who was suspected of spying on American defense contractors, show the American people if they are as safe as they think. The cases that are reviewed on CNN’s “Crime + Justice” page.

In the criminal justice system there are a lot of different ways that people are treated based off the crime that they commited. If a person commits a mass murder while another person is arrested for forgery which one would get more attention? The mass murder would the case that attracts more attention because they want to focus on why and who did this compared to a small forgery case.  Samuel Walker developed a wedding cake model of the criminal justice system to show how cases are treated based on circumstances. There are four parts to the cake that show how cases are treated which I will be discussing.

The first part to this wedding cake is the celebrated cases. These are the crimes that get a lot more recognition than most of the other offenses. For example, the Cleveland kidnapping was talked about nationally because the women were held in captivity for more than 10 years and the guy was labeled insane by the public. A normal kidnapping act doesnt get that much notice. What about the Bill Cosby scandal? His case gets talked about more because of his famous background in acting. The procedures in these types of cases are no different than a normal case besides the fact that more people show up for them and the process is usually filmed and shown nationally. So, it just shows that if you have a famous background or act on a serious wrongdoing it will get more notice than some pf the less serious offenses.

The second part to this cake is the serious felonies. These crimes are usually the ones that are on a more heinous level. The people that commit these acts usually have a reputation for being a criminal and they have been in and out of the system most of their life. Most of the crimes that these people commit are robbery, burglary, assault, domestic violence, etc. The police and the courts involved with these cases try to get these people the most severe punishments and no chance to get their sentence reduced. They deserve to face the penalty for what they did.

On the third piece of the cake you will find the lesser felonies. These crimes are typically not as violent and not as serious. The acts are usually committed by people that have little to no criminal history at all. Typically they fall under possession of drugs, check fraud, forgery, or other less violent acts. Most of the time these cases will be resolved through a court appearance and end in a plea deal.

Lastly, the final piece to the cake is the misdemeanors. These crimes are what most people get charged with. They consist of very minor crimes like public disturbance, public intoxication, fighting in public, and so on. Law enforcement usually tries to resolve these by a ticket, or an overnight arrest. If they do happen to go to court it usually handled by them and ends with either a fine from the court, a plea deal or even the possibility of jail time.

Now as read throughout the essay you can now see why a wedding cake model was created. All different types of crimes are treated differently and they all have different penalties. In some cases it’s more severe than others so make sure to think before you act on committing crimes.

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The Wedding Cake Model of Criminal Justice: Celebrated Cases Examples. (2021, August 19). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from
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