What is the Wedding Cake Model of Criminal Justice

The Wedding Cake Model of Criminal Justice is a theory that suggests that the criminal justice system is made up of different levels, or tiers. The higher the level, or tier, the more serious the crime and the harsher the punishment. The model is often used to explain why some crimes are punished more severely than others.

The Wedding Cake Theory

The “wedding cake model” of criminal justice is a term used to describe the way in which the criminal justice system is structured in the United States. The analogy is often used to explain how different levels of severity are dealt with in different ways by different parts of the system. The model is also used to contrast the American system with that of other countries, where it is often said that punishment for crimes is more severe and swift.

The wedding cake model has three tiers, each representing a different level of severity. The bottom tier represents minor offenses, such as traffic violations, which are handled by police and courts with little fanfare. The middle tier represents more serious offenses, such as burglary or assault, which are typically handled by state courts.

The top tier represents the most serious offenses, such as murder or rape, which are tried in federal court. Critics of the wedding cake model say that it leads to disparities in how offenders are treated based on their crime and their socioeconomic status. They also argue that it creates a two-tiered system of justice, where those who can afford expensive lawyers and have connections to influential people are more likely to get lighter punishments than those who cannot.

The Wedding Cake Model of the Criminal Justice System Quizlet

In the United States, the criminal justice system is often compared to a wedding cake. The top tier of the cake represents the small percentage of offenders who are sentenced to death or life in prison, while the bottom tier represents those who are fined or given probation. In between these two extremes are various other punishments, such as community service, jail time, and rehabilitation programs.

The metaphor is meant to illustrate that the criminal justice system is not always fair; some people receive much harsher penalties than others, even though they may have committed similar crimes. The model also highlights how different parts of the system (e.g., police, prosecutors, judges) can impact an offender’s sentence. Critics of the wedding cake model argue that it paints too rosy a picture of the criminal justice system; they point out that many defendants never make it to trial and that plea bargains often result in reduced sentences for those who do go to court.

Nonetheless, the metaphor remains a popular way of understanding how punishment is meted out in America’s courts.

Crime Control Model

The Crime Control Model is a theory of crime that emphasizes the need for law enforcement to prevent and control crime. The model was first proposed by James Q. Wilson and George Kelling in their 1982 article “Broken Windows”, which argued that visible signs of crimes, such as broken windows, lead to more serious crimes. The theory has been widely influential, especially in the field of policing.

The Crime Control Model argues that the primary goal of law enforcement should be to prevent and control crime, rather than to simply respond to it after it has already occurred. This requires a proactive approach to policing, in which officers take steps to prevent crime before it happens. For example, an officer might patrol an area known for drug activity in order to discourage dealers from selling drugs there.

Or an officer might work with school officials to identify students who are at risk of becoming involved in gangs and provide them with resources and support before they start down that path. The Crime Control Model has been criticized for its focus on law enforcement over other potential solutions to crime (such as social programs). Critics also argue that the model leads to police misconduct and civil rights violations, as officers may feel justified in using aggressive tactics when they believe it will prevent or reduce crime.

However, supporters of the model argue that it is an effective way to reduce crime, particularly when combined with community outreach and prevention programs.

How Many Layers are There on the Criminal Justice Wedding Cake? Quizlet

The criminal justice system is often referred to as a “wedding cake” because it is made up of different levels, or layers. The bottom layer represents the most serious crimes, while the top layer represents the least serious crimes. How many layers are there on the criminal justice wedding cake?

Take this quiz to find out!

Celebrated Cases

Few legal cases have captured the public imagination like the O.J. Simpson murder trial or the Watergate scandal. These “celebrated” cases are famous for a variety of reasons, whether it be the high-profile nature of the defendants, the media circus that surrounds them, or simply because they resulted in a landmark decision by the courts. Whatever the reason, these cases have had a lasting impact on American society and continue to be studied by law students and lawyers alike.

Here are just a few of the most celebrated cases in United States history: 1. Brown v. Board of Education (1954): This landmark case overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine that had been used to justify racial segregation in schools. The unanimous decision by the Supreme Court declared that segregated schools were inherently unequal and violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

2. Roe v. Wade (1973): This controversial case legalized abortion nationwide and established a woman’s right to privacy when it comes to her reproductive health decisions. The 7-2 decision was met with protests from both sides of the abortion debate, but has remained largely unchanged in the nearly 50 years since it was decided. 3..

Miranda v Arizona (1966): This case requires police officers to read suspects their Miranda rights before questioning them about a crime they are suspected of committing. The Miranda warnings ensure that suspects are aware of their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and have an opportunity to consult with an attorney before speaking with police officers. 4..

Marbury v Madison (1803): This case established Judicial Review, which is the power of courts to strike down laws that they deem to be unconstitutional . Judicial Review is one of the most important powers held by our judicial branch and has been used countless times over 200 years to protect individual rights from government overreach .

According to the Wedding-Cake Model of Criminal Justice, What Does the Top Layer Represent?

The top layer of the Wedding-Cake Model of Criminal Justice represents the criminal justice system that is visible to the public. This includes law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. The public expects that this system will prevent crime and keep them safe.

However, this system is only designed to deal with a small percentage of crimes. The vast majority of crimes are never reported to the police or prosecuted in court.

Celebrated Cases Criminal Justice Examples

The criminal justice system is full of celebrated cases that have made headlines and shaped the course of jurisprudence. Here are some examples of famous criminal cases that have captured the public imagination and changed the law. 1. The O.J. Simpson Murder Case – In 1994, former NFL football star O.J. Simpson was charged with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Simpson was acquitted in a highly publicized trial, but many people believe he was guilty of the crime. The case led to changes in how evidence is handled in criminal trials and heightened public awareness of domestic violence issues. 2. The Trial of Adolf Eichmann – One of the most infamous war criminals in history, Adolf Eichmann was responsible for organizing Nazi Germany’s campaign to exterminate European Jews during World War II.

He was captured by Israeli intelligence agents in 1960 and put on trial in Jerusalem two years later. The trial brought the horrors of the Holocaust to light for the world and showed that even high-ranking officials can be held accountable for their crimes against humanity. 3..

United States v . Nixon – In 1974, President Richard Nixon became embroiled in a scandal over a break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters during his reelection campaign (the Watergate scandal). After an investigation uncovered evidence that Nixon had tried to cover up his involvement, he became the first U.S president to ever face impeachment proceedings.

What is the Wedding Cake Model of Criminal Justice

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What Does the Wedding Cake Model Show?

The wedding cake model is a representation of the distribution of wealth in a society. It shows that the wealthiest people have the most money, while the poorest people have the least. The model is often used to illustrate inequality in a society.

What are the Layers of the Criminal Justice Wedding Cake?

The criminal justice system in the United States is often described as a “wedding cake” model, with multiple tiers of law enforcement and adjudication. The base of the cake represents police officers and sheriff’s deputies who investigate crimes and make arrests. The next tier up represents prosecutors, who review evidence and decide whether to bring charges against suspects.

The next tier comprises judges and juries, who hear cases and determine guilt or innocence. Finally, the top tier is composed of prisons and jails, where convicted criminals are confined. Each layer of the criminal justice wedding cake has its own distinct role to play in the pursuit of justice.

Police officers conduct investigations, gather evidence, and make arrests. Prosecutors review evidence and decide whether to file charges against suspects. Judges preside over trials and hear testimony from witnesses.

Juries deliberate on cases and render verdicts. And finally, prisons confine criminals who have been convicted of crimes. While each layer of the criminal justice system is important, it is worth noting that not all cases proceed through all layers.

For example, many crimes are solved without ever reaching the trial stage; some defendants plead guilty before their case ever goes to trial; and some defendants are acquitted by a judge or jury (meaning they are found not guilty).

What Cases are at the Top of the Criminal Justice Wedding Cake?

The top of the criminal justice wedding cake refers to the most serious and high-profile cases that come before the courts. These are typically cases that involve murder, rape, or other violent crimes. They are also often high-profile cases that receive a lot of media attention.

Who Developed the Wedding Cake Model of Criminal Justice?

The wedding cake model of criminal justice was first developed by sociologist William Wilkerson in the early 1900s. Wilkerson’s model was based on the hierarchical structure of the English legal system, which he saw as being similar to a wedding cake. The top tier of the cake represented the small number of serious crimes that were tried in the courts, while the lower tiers represented the large number of less serious crimes that were dealt with through other means, such as police discretion or summary justice.

The wedding cake model has been criticised for its lack of realism, as it does not reflect the actual number of cases that are dealt with by each level of the criminal justice system. However, it remains a useful tool for understanding how different types of crime are dealt with by different parts of the system.


The Wedding Cake Model of Criminal Justice is a theory that suggests that the criminal justice system is like a wedding cake, with different levels of punishment for different types of crimes. The model was first proposed by criminologist Andrew Von Hirsch in the 1970s, and has been influential in shaping sentencing policies in many countries. The wedding cake analogy is often used to explain how the criminal justice system works.

The bottom layer of the cake represents prison, which is reserved for the most serious offenders. The middle layer represents community corrections such as probation and parole, which are designed for less serious offenders. The top layer represents diversion programs such as drug courts and mental health courts, which are designed for low-risk offenders who may be able to avoid prison altogether.

The wedding cake model has come under criticism in recent years, as some scholars have argued that it creates disparities in sentencing between different types of offenders. However, the model continues to be influential in many countries around the world.

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