Do rules of evidence apply (Only) in the courtroom? Deceptive interrogation in the United States and Germany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Scholars who compare common law and civil law countries have long argued that civil law legal systems such as Germany do not employ formal rules of evidence comparable to those which govern American courtrooms. Civil law systems that commit fact-finding to mixed panels of lay and professional judges are said to have less need for formal rules of evidence that withhold information from decision makers. This article challenges this widely held view. Scholars have failed to recognize that evidentiary rules can restrict not only the presentation of evidence at trial but also the manner of its acquisition during the pre-trial investigation. For this reason, existing scholarship overlooks a rich source of evidentiary norms in the criminal process of civil law countries such as Germany. I argue that German regulation of police interrogation-particularly its prohibition of deceptive stratagems-plays an important role in shaping the factual record on which the legal system assesses guilt or innocence. The article identifies a number of institutional factors on which this system of pre-trial evidentiary regulation depends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-474
Number of pages32
JournalOxford Journal of Legal Studies
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 10 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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