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Law | The German Prosecution Service - Guardians of the Law?

The German Prosecution Service

Guardians of the Law?

Boyne, Shawn Marie

2014, XV, 249 p. 1 illus.

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  • ​​Unique, ethnographic study of a prosecutorial decision-making that contrasts with decision-making in an adversarial system
  • Detailed quotations from German lawyers
  • Analysis of actual case studies
  • On-the-ground analysis of the German prosecution service rather than academic theory
Acclaimed as the "the most objective prosecutors in the world", the German prosecution service has long attracted the attention in the past of comparative law scholars. At first glance, the institutional position and statutory mandate of German prosecutors indicate that that reputation is well-deserved. Unfortunately, the introduction of charge-bargaining has opened the door to criticism that German prosecutors have abandoned their role of objective decision-makers. Using interview data collected from interviews with German prosecutors themselves as well as quantitative data, the book uses the actual voices of German prosecutors to show how real-world constraints, rather than changes in the law, undermine the ability of German prosecutors to objectively seek the truth. The book will take readers behind closed doors where prosecutors discuss case decisions and unveil the realities of practice. As a result, it will critically revise previous studies of German prosecution practices and offer readers a well-researched ethnographic analysis of actual German decision-making practices and the culture of the prosecution service. Unlike prosecutors in America's adversarial system, whom critics claim are driven by a "conviction-mentality" and gamesmanship, German prosecutors are institutionally positioned to function as (at least semi-)judicial  officials dedicated to finding a case's objective truth. The book argues that, organizational incentives and norms, rather than the boundaries of the law determinately shapes how prosecutors investigate and prosecute crime in Germany.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Comparative Criminal Justice - German Prosecutors - Objectivity and the Law - Organization of Prosecution

Related subjects » Criminal Law and Criminology - Criminology & Criminal Justice - Law - Social Sciences

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