Trials Without Truth

Trials Without Truth

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by David Samuel
     
 

Reginald Denny. O. J. Simpson. Colin Ferguson. Louise Woodward: all names that have cast a spotlight on the deficiencies of the American system of criminal justice. Yet, in the wake of each trial that exposes shocking behavior by trial participants or results in counterintuitive rulings—often with perverse results—the American public is reassured by

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Overview

Reginald Denny. O. J. Simpson. Colin Ferguson. Louise Woodward: all names that have cast a spotlight on the deficiencies of the American system of criminal justice. Yet, in the wake of each trial that exposes shocking behavior by trial participants or results in counterintuitive rulings—often with perverse results—the American public is reassured by the trial bar that the case is not "typical" and that our trial system remains the best in the world.

William T. Pizzi here argues that what the public perceives is in fact exactly what the United States has: a trial system that places far too much emphasis on winning and not nearly enough on truth, one in which the abilities of a lawyer or the composition of a jury may be far more important to the outcome of a case than any evidence.

How has a system on which Americans have lavished enormous amounts of energy, time, and money been allowed to degenerate into one so profoundly flawed?

Acting as an informal tour guide, and bringing to bear his experiences as both insider and outsider, prosecutor and academic, Pizzi here exposes the structural faultlines of our trial system and its paralyzing obsession with procedure, specifically the ways in which lawyers are permitted to dominate trials, the system's preference for weak judges, and the absurdities of plea bargaining. By comparing and contrasting the U.S. system with that of a host of other countries, Trials Without Truth provides a clear-headed, wide-ranging critique of what ails the criminal justice system—and a prescription for how it can be fixed.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814766507
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
06/01/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
257
Sales rank:
1,439,112
Product dimensions:
0.61(w) x 9.00(h) x 6.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction1
1Soccer, Football, and Trial Systems5
2Technicalities and Truth: The Exclusionary Rule25
3Truth and the Amount of Evidence Available at Trial46
4A Trial System in Trouble69
5Discovering Who We Are: A Look at Four Different Trial Systems89
6Criminal Trials in the United States: Trials without Truth117
7Trials without Truth: Weak Trial Judges140
8The Supreme Court: An Institutional Failure154
9A Weak Trial System: Who Benefits?183
10Juries: The Loss of Public Confidence200
11Starting Down the Path to Reform221
Notes235
Further Readings243
Index249
About the Author257

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