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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200841 Find in a Library
Title: Social Intergration and Lay Participation: The Situation in Argentina
Journal: International Review of Penal Law  Volume:72  Issue:1-2  Dated:2001  Pages:515-523
Author(s): Edmundo S. Hendler
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 9
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: France
Annotation: This article discusses lay participation in legal proceedings in Argentina.
Abstract: The Argentine Constitution mandates jury trials but Argentina has yet to establish jury trials. As a result of a common cultural background, the development of criminal procedure shows a great deal of uniformity. The procedure is divided into two stages. The first one is the “instruction,” conducted pursuant to the inquisitorial method. The second one is the trial, conducted pursuant to the adversarial method. The features of this mixed system are: (1) the proceedings are only in writing; (2) a long stage of secret proceedings; and (3) a long period of “preventive detention,” sometimes with no bail. The stated purpose of this stage is to gather evidence. The trial is little more than a formality with no noticeable effect on the final outcome. The inquisitorial proceedings before the “instruction judge” is to determine the facts and gather incriminating evidence that will be used in the trial. The product of the instruction consists of a number of voluminous files full of formalities but lacking transcripts or any other accurate recording. The trial also lacks transcripts or records of any type. Lawgivers in many jurisdictions have resorted to using the no bail as punishment device to assure that certain offenses would be punished. Examination and cross-examination of witnesses and expert witnesses by counsel is not provided for even the trial stage, thus preventing real confrontation between the parties. The oral debate in the trial stage, implemented in 1992, made the proceedings more transparent. The changes made lack any implementation of the jury trial required by the Constitution. Oral trials have not increased the confidence of the people in the criminal justice system. It is notorious that when the public disagrees with criminal sentences, the media criticizes the judge and the criminal courts choose to please the public by deciding the cases to satisfy quick emotional reactions. 16 footnotes, addenda
Main Term(s): Argentina; Criminal justice system effectiveness
Index Term(s): Criminal justice system analysis; Foreign criminal justice systems; Government reactions to crime; Sentence effectiveness; Social control; Trial procedures
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