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A Survey of Comparative Criminal Procedure through Foreign Films
  • Samuel W Bettwy, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Textbook for course in Comparative Criminal Procedure through Film. Constructs of comparative legal analysis are described and then applied to examine the adjudicative process through foreign films, beginning with police contact with a crime suspect and ending either with a judge or jury’s acquittal of an accused or with execution of sentence. The analytical constructs include the inquisitorial-adversarial dichotomy, role-specific constructs, and the Civil Law-Common Law dichotomy. In addition, differences in criminal procedure are examined through the Socialist, Islamic, and indigenous legal traditions. Role-specific constructs measure the degree to which a suspect is expected to cooperate, the degree of independence and neutrality of the prosecutor, and the degree of lay participation (jurors) in adjudication and sentencing. The author concludes that a survey of foreign films confirms that suspects and accused enjoy greater protection of the presumption of innocence in Common Law, adversarial justice systems, and that there are several aspects of U.S. criminal procedure that could be changed to further safeguard the presumption of innocence.

Publication Date
December, 2014
Opinio Juris in Comparatione
Citation Information
Samuel W. Bettwy. A Survey of Comparative Criminal Procedure through Foreign Films (Special Issue). Pisa: Opinio Juris in Comparatione, 2014.