BGH, Criminal Law, Mental State, Police and Prosecutors

How Many Innocent People Are in German Prisons?

The German press is obsessed with the American justice system. The coverage varies from wire-service blurbs about police shootings to in-depth researched pieces. Quality varies enormously, but is often low: German reporters tend to approach the topic with prejudices firmly in place, and screen their research to ensure those prejudices are confirmed. I've documented one… Continue reading How Many Innocent People Are in German Prisons?

Comparative Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Murder, Police and Prosecutors

Jens Soering’s Guilt and a System Failure of German Journalism

UPDATE: 15 July. Full disclosure: this post has gotten some attention since I posted it. I've made a number of revisions to it after correspondence with people very familiar with the case, who graciously corrected some errors. I'm also reading 'Beyond Reason', the 1990 book about the case, and may update the post a bit… Continue reading Jens Soering’s Guilt and a System Failure of German Journalism

Comparative Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Federal Constitutional Court, Police and Prosecutors

The Difficult Birth of the Criminal Plea Bargain in Germany

  If there's one rule of legal politics that applies worldwide, it's that criminal justice is the red-headed stepchild of the law. Most of the people who are prosecuted for crimes are poor, and the state has to pay for the lawyers who prosecute and defend them -- if it guarantees them defense lawyers at… Continue reading The Difficult Birth of the Criminal Plea Bargain in Germany

BGH, Criminal Law, Murder, Police and Prosecutors

Christin and Her Murderers — Inside a German Murder Trial

(cross-posted to German Joys) The public radio station for Berlin-Brandenburg recently released an 8-part podcast -- "Christin and Her Murderers" exploring a German murder case. The podcast yields interesting insights into German criminal trials, mainly because the authors -- Martina Reuter und Uta Eisenhardt -- got unusual access to the main players in the case:… Continue reading Christin and Her Murderers — Inside a German Murder Trial