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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