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The American Legal System Process of Robert Hansen

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This research paper mainly focuses on roles that the American legal system has played in relation to a case that involves Robert Hansen who was also known as Butcher Baker. Robert Hansen was an American serial killer who was born on 5th February 1939. He was a married man who had a kid but none of them knew what he was doing in his life. He was convicted for a number of different charges. He is a man who confessed to the killing of 17 women and a person who was also involved in the raping of another 30 women within a period of 12 years. He was a well known criminal who was associated with all the wrong deeds. Due to all this counts, he was sentenced to life imprisonment which was topped up with 461 years in prison. Therefore, this paper tries to focus on the role that the United States legal system played regarding a man who had such severe accusations. In any particular case, there exist laid down laws that should be followed so as to ensure that a case has been judged fairly and that every victim is contented with the judgment beyond any reasonable doubt. This paper therefore analyzes the role that the American legal system played in Robert Hansen’s case by explaining the different roles played by the lawyers, the police, the jury and the judges in making the case a success. It also tries to show that the above parties played their own roles successfully in reaching the amicable judgment that was handed to Hansen without any bias. It tries to show how the investigators or police came up with the evidence that they got, how the defense lawyers argued against the laid down evidence, how the victims’ lawyers proved that the evidence that was brought before the court was correct and indeed worth sentencing Hansen to a reasonable sentence, how the judges accessed everything that was tabled before them and lastly how the jury came up with their sentence.


The United States legal system mainly consists of courts. In the United States of America, courts are the ones responsible in rendering decisions which when put together have an impact in the lives of many people in the country. In any given case, there exist different parties where the courts’ decision may have an effect only on the parties entitled to any given legal action. In any particular ruling done by a court, there must be a number of Americans either welcoming the ruling or other Americans disapproving the same ruling. However, the court is the body that comes up or makes the final decision. In other words, it can be termed as the body that interprets the law (Calvi, 2011).

The courts are not the entire American legal system but they are with no doubt central to the American legal system. With the passing of each day, the courts in turn have different roles. The roles played by the courts include: the interpretation of the law, settling disputes under the laws and sometime doing away with the laws that violate the American citizens’ fundamental protections which are in the American constitution. The American legal system provides the rule of law and guarantees other common norms. This means that the American citizens depend greatly upon the legal system with them depending on its predictability and its enforceable common norms that are guaranteed by this system. The American citizens also need to refer to the system when making some important decisions in their lives. These decisions may include: parents coming up with the will for their children and different parties entering into a business contract among others. The American legal systems have therefore evolved so as to satisfy the ever growing needs of the nation as well as the nation’s complex economic and social realities (Van Dervort, 1999).

The role of the American legal system to Robert Hansen’s charges

The American legal system provided the necessary guidelines that were followed during Butcher Baker’s case. Through the American legal system, Hansen was found guilty of a couple of offences. This is because the American legal system does not allow deeds such as: the illegal possession of guns and weapons which he had,  one to kill another person an offence that Butcher Baker had done, anyone to rape a woman another offence that he was guilty of 30 times. Robert Hansen was therefore charged with all these counts in the court of law under the outlined American legal system (Bernard, 1993).

The role of Judges in Robert Hansen’s charges

In the American legal system, the judges have the role of presiding over the court proceedings. The judge who was involved in Robert Hansen’s case conducted the trial impartially. He gave all the witnesses a chance to testify for or against Hansen. He also gave the lawyers of the accused, Hansen, and of the dead victims’ time to argue for their respective clients tabling down all the available evidence which included: maps containing the location of the grave sites of Hansen’s dead victims, jewelries of his victims among other evidences (Walter, 1991).

The investigators of the case, those who had discovered the shocking evidences, were also given a chance by the judges to testify before the court. After the judge had given all this individuals chances of testifying, he later accessed the credibility of all the evidences by looking at the arguments made before him regarding the case. He then interpreted the law in accordance to the case and made his personal judgment. The jury and the judge reached the decision of sentencing Hansen to life imprisonment and an additional 461 years without parole (Hickey, 2006).

The role of Anchorage Jury

In the American legal system, it is the role of the jury to listen to the evidence that has been tabled before them and then come up with an amicable ruling or prosecution. In Hansen’s case, different evidence was tabled before the jury by both parties and the investigators. The jury listened to it carefully and then returned 4 indictments against Butcher Baker. He was indicted for the following counts: guilty of the first degree assault and kidnapping, charged with five counts of misconduct as the jury was provided with the evidence that he was in possession of a hand gun, charged with theft in the second degree and lastly charged with theft by deception in the insurance fraud (Jenkins, 1994).

The role of the Defense (Hansen’s) Lawyers

 In the American legal system, there exists the defense lawyer who has the role of arguing for the charged person. He may also have the right to appeal a case when they are not satisfied with the final judgment given to their client. He also has the role of ensuring that their clients get the most favorable sentence. In the Robert Hansen’s case, the defense lawyer who was arguing for Hansen requested the district attorney (D.A), Victor Krumm to hold a meeting with them. Krumm tabled an offer to Hansen and his lawyer. He asked Hansen to confess the truth and in return would only be charged for the four counts, that they were already aware of. He was also told that if he confessed everything, he could not serve his sentence in a maximum security facility but in a federal one. The defense lawyer urged his client, Robert Hansen, to take the tabled offer as it looked like the most favorable one. Robert then pleaded guilty to the counts that he was charged with (Melone, 2008).

The role of the victims’ lawyers

In the American legal system, there exist two parties in every case where each party has their own lawyers. The victim who is pressing charges has his or her own lawyers who usually have the role of seeing that justice has been served to the accused person. In Robert Hansen’s case the victims’ lawyers used the evidence that was provided by the investigators. This evidence included the ballistic results that were compared to Hansen’s riffle, the jewelries of the victims that Hansen had killed among other evidences. They also supported their evidence with their skills and made sure that they had convinced the court about Hansen’s guilt so that he could get the sentence that he truly deserved. In this case, the victims’ lawyers made the jury understand clearly that Hansen was guilty of all the charges that were pressed against him and as a result, he was prosecuted to life sentence and an additional 461 years in jail without parole (Peck, 2001).

The role of the police in Robert Hansen’s case

The American legal system states that for a suspect to be prosecuted in a court of law, sufficient evidence should be tabled before the court against the suspect in question. The police are the ones who help a great deal in the investigation process which gives rise to the evidence that will be tabled in the court by the lawyers and the other parties who are involved in court proceedings. In Robert Hansen’s case, he was a suspect of several killings and rape cases and so the police were called upon to investigate on the matter so that Baker could be prosecuted. The police, investigators, went to his work place and asked him to accompany them to the police station for questioning. He was not surprised by their request and therefore, he accompanied them without any hesitation. The American legal system advocates that in an investigation of any particular case, warrants should be issued to the involved suspects and so in the Hansen’s case, the investigators issued warrants on Hansen’s house as well as his plane (Scheb, 2002).

On the course of the investigation, there were many weapons that were found in his house but the investigators still did not have any evidence that would prove him being responsible for the women killings. During the process of the investigation, one investigator discovered that there was a hidden space in the rafters of the house. After searching the space, they found pieces of jewelry, a driver’s license and a clinging newspaper. Some of these discoveries were possessions of one of the women that he was alleged to have killed. In this case, the police played the role of finding the evidence that was used against Hansen and tabled before him by the victims’ lawyers during the prosecution. The police also conducted some ballistic experiment and provided the court with its results. They proved that the shell casings found in the grave sites of Hansen’s victims had all come out of his rifle (Segal, 2005).


It has been clearly shown that the American legal system plays a big part in insuring that justice has been served. Robert Hansen was a man who had been killing and raping women for a couple of years without anyone’s know how but finally he was investigated and through the well laid down laws that are contained in the American legal system, he was prosecuted and convicted for the wrong deeds that he did. The essay also shows that the prosecution is a long process which involves many different parties and thus people are supposed to exercise patience so as to bring the truth into light. The police investigated Robert Hansen for a long time without getting any evidence but they later found what they were looking for. This shows that patience and determination was the key to the discoveries that led to the prosecution of Butcher Baker. The American legal system therefore contains well laid down frame work that lets people suffer from the wrong deeds that they do.

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