The critical issue of political, moral, and social choice in criminal justice is the relationship between individual rights and the fight against crime. The main criterion for establishing the limits for satisfying the interests of a particular person is the interests of other persons, including public ones. The basis for overcoming conflicts of interests of all subjects should be based on the fundamental principle: the state, represented by law-making bodies, should strive to ensure that the observance of public interests is beneficial to each carrier of private interest. At the same time, it is vital to limit the manifestation of subjective interests that do not correspond to the interests of society to achieve their awareness by the carriers of private interest.
However, in practice, the situation is different. Peak and Madensen-Herold note that the protection of the rights and legitimate interests of the victim in criminal proceedings is often inferior to the public interest (34). In this regard, law enforcement agencies, headed by the prosecutor’s office, must exercise constant control over crime without diminishing or violating human rights. Implementing such a controversial task is highly complex and requires a delicate balance. On the one hand, the investigation and disclosure of a crime contribute to protecting victims’ rights. On the other hand, in criminal procedure activities, excessive coercion should not be applied to persons convicted of a crime.
It should be noted that through laws, the state stimulates the awareness of interests recognized by it as socially significant, establishes a mechanism for their satisfaction, and introduces limits for it, as well as for the manifestation of such subjective interests that contradict the objective interests of society. In solving these problems, the leading role is the observance of the principle of formal equality of subjects of law before the law and the court. The most critical provision of constitutional law is the absence of privileges in the use of rights and freedoms.
As for determining the importance of a specific goal of the criminal justice system, it seems appropriate to prioritize the rights and legitimate interests of the individual. The initial elements of society are individuals, each of which is a separate, independent personality with interests, needs, and unique features. It is from the legitimate interests and rights of everyone that public interests are formed. In other words, society is interested in observing the rights and legitimate interests of everyone.
Peak, Kenneth J. and Tamara D. Madensen-Herold. (2019). A Brief Introduction to Criminal Justice: Practice and Process. SAGE Publications.