My Cousin Vinny Essay

991 words - 4 pages

My Cousin Vinny PaperMy Cousin Vinny is a hilarious interpretation of the American criminal justice system. It taps into various elements of the system as a whole. Most people probably never realize the formality that goes into actually being convicted of a crime. My Cousin Vinny explores many of the steps such as pretrial stages, key actors in the court process, and the criminal trial. There are some difference and similarities between what the movie portrayed and the actual criminal justice process, which will be explored. To properly analyze the legal issues at play, an example being when Bill and Stan went to Alabama, they thought they were being pulled over because Bill stole some tuna fish. The county Sherriff pulled them over with his gun drawn. Now to me, the fact the Sheriff had his weapon pointed at the suspects stood out to me. Therefore, at best, Bill and Stan could have been pulled over and approached with no weapons drawn and then properly searched. However, the sheriff felt as though he had probable cause to pull them over. For this reason, there is a reason to believe that the movie depiction of proper procedure is very dramatized and blown out of proportion. This is exactly what would be done in a typical situation if a felony or misdemeanor were believed to have been committed. Although the main characters did not know, they were being pulled over for a felony. A felony is relatively serious offense punishable by death, a fine, or confinement in a state or federal prison for more than a year. Now, I am unsure of the proper procedures for pulling someone over when it is a felony verses something less minor like a misdemeanor. Another example is when Bill and Stan were arrested. Now, we all know that an arrest by no means equals a conviction of a crime. The arrest appeared to be normal for most jurisdictions. Again, the sheriff had probable cause to make the arrest. However, the booking process was a bit different from the actual process. Booking is the process in which suspects' names, the charges for which they were arrested, and perhaps their fingerprints or photographs are entered on the police database. A few lessons that I got from the movie pretty much explain the legal issues at play.The first lesson is picking your battles. In this scene, Vinny does not ask any questions at the preliminary hearing. His client, Stan, angrily asks, "Why didn't you ask them any questions? Maybe if you'd put up some kind of a fight, you could have gotten the case thrown out!" The point of this scene is that sometimes, as an attorney, you need to know when to pick your battles. Of course, by this point in the movie, Vinny did not have all the great exculpatory evidence he acquired later. However, Vinny is probably right that there was no...

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