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NCJ Number: 65059 Find in a Library
Title: CRIMINAL TRIALS - A 'SEARCH FOR TRUTH' OR SOMETHING ELSE? CRIMINAL TRIALS - A 'SEARCH FOR TRUTH' OR SOMETHING ELSE?
Journal: CRIMINAL LAW BULLETIN  Volume:16  Issue:1  Dated:(JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1980)  Pages:41-49
Author(s): C PULASKI JR
Corporate Author: Warren, Gorham and Lamont, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Warren, Gorham and Lamont, Inc
Boston, MA 02111
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE SUPREME COURT'S PREFERENCE FOR WIDE-OPEN ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE IS CRITICIZED. THE PURPOSE OF CRIMINAL TRIALS IS NOT TO DETERMINE TRUTH, BUT TO DETERMINE THE PROBABILITY OF GUILT.
Abstract: THE SUPREME COURT HAS REPEATEDLY EXPRESSED ITS PREFERENCE FOR A PROCEDURE THAT PERMITS PARTIES TO BRING ALL MATERIAL EVIDENCE TO THE JURY'S ATTENTION AND THEN LET THE JURY DECIDE. IT GIVES LITTLE COMFORT TO PROCEDURES THAT PREVENT THE PROSECUTION OR DEFENSE FROM INTRODUCING RELEVANT EVIDENCE IN CRIMINAL CASES. THE COURT'S PRECONCEPTION OF CRIMINAL TRIALS AS A SEARCH FOR TRUTH IS MISGUIDED. JURIES ARE ASKED TO MAKE PROBABILITY-OF-GUILT DETERMINATIONS FOR REASONS OTHER THAN TRUTH-SEEKING. THE ADVERSARY CHARACTER OF THE CRIMINAL TRIAL GIVES CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS THE APPEARANCE OF FAIRNESS WHICH IS OF CENTRAL IMPORTANCE TO MAINTAINING THE MORAL STATURE OF THE CRIMINAL LAW. PROCEDURAL INNOVATIONS IN THE CRIMINAL PROCESS MAY AFFECT THE BALANCE OF ADVANTAGE BETWEEN THE STATE AND THE DEFENDANT, YET THE SUPREME COURT HAS SHOWN LITLE CONCERN IN THIS MATTER. FURTHERMORE, EVEN IF CRIMINAL TRIALS ARE SEEN AS OCCASIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO DEMONSTRATE ITS RIGHT TO PUNISH OFFENDERS, PROCEDURAL LIMITATIONS SERVE AS BARRIERS WHICH THE PROSECUTION MUST SURMOUNT BEFORE INFLICTING PENAL SANCTIONS. WHEN EVALUATING THE DESIRABILITY OF PROCEDURES THAT MAKE SURMOUNTING THIS BARRICADE EASIER, IT MUST FIRST BE DECIDED IN PRINCIPLE HOW ARDUOUS THE PROSECUTION'S TASK SHOULD BE. FAILURE OF THE COURT TO CONSIDER THESE ISSUES MAY CAUSE IT TO DISMANTLE THE SOCIETAL PROTECTION OF THE CRIMINAL PROCESS. NOTES ARE PROVIDED. (MJW)
Index Term(s): Criminal proceedings; Judicial process; Trial courts; Trial preparation; Trial procedures; US Supreme Court
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65059

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