Criminal Justice Questions
Read the article starting on p. 169 in the course
pack about Germany’s criminal justice and juvenile
justice system and write a one-page essay
responding to the following prompts:
1). How does Germany’s system of adjudication differ from
the U.S. system?
2). How does Germany’s juvenile justice system differ from
the U.S. juvenile justice system?
3). How does Germany’s crime rate and recidivism rate differ
from the U.S. crime and recidivism rate?
1. How does Germany’s system of adjudication differ from the U.S. system?
The adjudication system for the two countries is different, especially in the roles played by the judges. In Germany, the judge plays the inquisitorial role of establishing the facts of the cases, applying the applicable statutes, questioning the witnesses, interrogating suspects, reaching a verdict and deciding on the penalty. In the United States, they will preside over trials and maintain order in court. The judges will rarely question the witnesses and interrogate suspects as that is the work of the prosecution and the lawyers.
While Germany has a comprehensive legal training protocol for its judges before their appointment, there are different kinds of judges in the US based on their professional credentials (Brownsberger, 2018). Both legally trained professional judges and lay judges lack legal training and are not career judges. Hence, it is evident that the German justice system places its daily focus mainly on smart, civil servants of high integrity coming from the Ministry of justice. The American justice system places truth-finding in the hands of a lay jury and expects the defense counsel to assert the available arguments that could cause the case to fail. The judges are typically senior lawyers who refer to the performance of both prosecution and the jury (Brownsberger, 2018). If the judge has a perspective of where the truth lies, it is not their duty to convey it to the jury.
2. How does Germany’s juvenile justice system differ from the U.S. juvenile justice system?
In Germany, the juvenile justice system is focused on rehabilitating juveniles under 18, which would be evident in the sentences given. It is expected that the intervention remains limited (Brownsberger, 2018).. Therefore the court will evaluate the individual acting like a juvenile or an adult. Many of the cases would determine that these young emerging adults were acting as juveniles, hence sentences per juvenile law. The maximum penalty for any juvenile defendant is ten years. Conversely, the juvenile system in the United States is focused on conviction. It is possible to find many juveniles being tried as adults and facing longer sentences. Considering the collateral consequences, they are way more limited in Germany than in the United States (Brownsberger, 2018). The defendants will have their names not posted on newspaper criminal records remain private and are easily deleted after five years of clean time or ten years for the serious offenders. This is the opposite of the United States justice system in which the names of juveniles are easily published, criminal records are known and easily accessible. Also, their expungement is rarely done.
3. How does Germany’s crime rate and recidivism rate differ from the U.S. crime and recidivism rate
Crime rates and recidivism rates among the youth have not been rising in Germany compared to the United States (Brownsberger, 2018).. In Germany, crime issues such as gun violence and drug problems are less prevalent, which is the complete opposite of the United States. These are the two main challenges from the United States across the American population.
Brownsberger, W. (2011). Young Adults in the German Criminal Justice System. Massachusetts, Criminal Law.