Lessons from Inquisitorialism

34 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2013

Date Written: September 3, 2013


The adversarial system as it is implemented in the United States is a significant cause of wrongful convictions, wrongful acquittals and “wrongful” sentences. Empirical evidence suggests that a hybrid inquisitorial regime would be better than the American-style adversarial system at reducing these erroneous results. This paper proposes the integration of three inquisitorial mechanisms into the American trial process — judicial control over the adjudication process, non-adversarial treatment of experts, and required unsworn testimony by the defendant — and defends the proposals against constitutional and practical challenges. While other scholars have suggested borrowing from overseas, these three proposals have yet to be presented as a package. Together they could measurably enhance the accuracy of the American criminal justice system.

Suggested Citation

Slobogin, Christopher, Lessons from Inquisitorialism (September 3, 2013). Southern California Law Review, Forthcoming; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 13-36. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2320103

Christopher Slobogin (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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