US criminal process, fiche de 5 pages en anglais sur le procès américain
The criminal trial process in the United States is the angle stone of criminal law generally speaking, meaning it's more important than material criminal law itself, that is to say a person may not even be trialled even though he committed a crime, for procedural reasons. Besides, criminal procedure and fundamental rights are tightly connected because an important part of these rights are related to the protection of individuals during the procedure.
[...] He doesn't investigate nor examines in the name of the people. He can't call witnesses_ the parties do. He can only look at the questions when it's strictly necessary”. Conclusion: Even though major differences separate the two systems, we can observe more and more similarities between them especially with the European Human Rights Convention that enacts certain procedural rights, such as the right to a due process, the right to be represented by an attorney, the right to have access to justice in a reasonable time. [...]
[...] II_ THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES WITH THE INQUISITORIAL SYSTEM: The Procedural Protections: a _ The Miranda Rights: ( in the investigative phase) This complex procedural is mainly directed by the prosecutor and the police authorities, that is to say that the defendant has absolutely no power on it and can only make choices concerning the pleas. Therefore the Constitution and the US Supreme Court precedents enacting fundamental rules where made to protect the citizen from the possible abuses of the public authorities. The constitutional character of those procedural protections is one of the major differences of the US criminal law with the inquisitorial system. Miranda rights are one of the most commonly known rules. Actually, those rights derive from a US Supreme Court decision of 1966, Miranda v. [...]
[...] During this phase, the suspect can't be interrogated by the prosecutor and a witness, if there is any, may not appear. The investigation might also take the form of an interrogative stop which is also regulated by procedural rules. The police may actually stop a person in the street and question him or search for weapons or drugs if it has a reason to believe that the person is dangerous. They must have a reasonable suspicion that may justify a detention for a period of time, usually not more than a few days. [...]
[...] In fact, the common law trial is a “fair play”. The parties expose their evidence and opinions in an attempt to prove the truth. Therefore, evidence is very important. It's even more important because the parties must convince the jury and not only a professional judge based on legal evidence, which isn't the case of the inquisitorial system where the judge has the most important role especially during the investigation. Another element is essential in the US procedure, the jury, which is inherited from the English Magna Carta (1215) and the “right to be trialled by one's own fellow citizens”. [...]
[...] This would be an unconstitutional way of acting or proceeding. Also, the lack of good faith of investigating agencies (private agencies hired by the parties usually the defendant in a criminal trial) may be taken into account by a court to prohibit evidence. This is called the Exclusionary Rule, according to which a person is allowed to go free since the rule permits exclusion of evidence from the defendant's trial where he evidence was obtained in violation of the 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. [...]
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