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NCJ Number: 156807 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Justice Truth in Prosecuting: Borrowing From Europe's Civil Law Tradition
Journal: ABA Journal  Volume:77  Dated:(January 1991)  Pages:59-63
Author(s): C Maechling Jr
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 5
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The harshness and ineffectiveness of the U.S. criminal justice system may stem in part from the adversarial nature of courts; all European countries except Great Britain and Ireland employ variations of the so-called inquisitorial method which is rooted in civil law.
Abstract: Effects of the adversarial approach on testimony, evidence, plea bargaining, and court proceedings in general are discussed. The civil law tradition in Europe is examined in relation to the inquisitorial process in Europe, and aspects of civil trials that are relevant to criminal trials are described. In this context, the focus is on prosecutors, defense counsel, rights of suspects and defendants, and evidence admissibility. The author points out that the inquisitorial process does not make the trial the supreme event in the way the adversarial process does. Rather, the trial is the public finale of an ongoing investigation. The author also notes that courts have become arenas in which questions of guilt or innocence are eclipsed by disputes about constitutional safeguards.
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Civil proceedings; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Criminal justice system effectiveness; Criminal proceedings; Europe; Foreign courts; Foreign criminal justice systems; Trial procedures; US/foreign comparisons
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