An Adversarial System

Daniela Leandro

“If you were a criminal defendant, would you rather be tried under the adversary system or the inquisitorial system of justice? Why?”

If I were a criminal defendant I would rather be tried in an adversary system. An adversary system is the type of system we have in America today. This type of system assumes that justice is going to result in confrontation between the defendant and the prosecution. The prosecution party has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, and they hold the burden of proof. However, the defendant does not have to prove his innocence, and is innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution. Also, in this system you have a representative known as a lawyer, and they must defend you no matter if they believe or know that you are guilty of the crime.

In an inquisitorial system the judge serves as both the decision maker of the trial and the prosecutor of the trial which could make for a biased decision. On the other hand, some people might argue that they would rather be tried in an inquisitorial system which is supported in most European countries. In an inquisitorial system you don’t have a prosecutor, instead the judge also serves as the prosecutor for the case and trial.  There are fewer lawyers involved, and fewer jury trials which makes your trial shorter and most people like this idea. Also, an inquisitorial system ensures that the truth is presented whether it is for or against you, unlike an adversary system where only evidence that helps you is presented and could be falsified. The people who support this system believe that the adversary system is unjustifiable and that during the confrontation of the prosecution and the defendant both will hide the truth, and state opposing statements.

In the US Constitution, the 6th amendment states that you have a right to a fair, and speedy trial but also that you have the right to a jury trial. In the inquisitorial system only the judge proceeds the trial. This gives way too much power to one person, the judge, the one who decides what penalty you receive.  Some people claim that a trial by jury is more impartial than a trial by members of the government.  In an inquisitorial system you are less represented because they complete more trials without lawyers then they do with lawyers, and this is also a violation of the 6th amendment right to counsel in all criminal prosecutions.

“Bill Cosby sex abuse trial scheduled for 2017”

Bill Cosby a 79-year-old entertainer was accused of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, these accusations have been going on for years. On Tuesday, September 6 Bill Cosby finally had his preliminary hearing trial, and there it was stated that his court date will be in 2017.  Mr. Cosby pleaded not guilty to all three counts, and yet this is not the first time he has been accused of this type of crime. He has been accused by over 50 women and this is the first time he has been charged with any crime. The district judge ruled that 13 women only would be allowed to be witnesses in the trial. He also ruled that the evidence found in 2005 against Mr. Cosby can still be used.

Mr. Cosby has an attorney representing him which is his right to counsel under the 6th amendment. However, he is not granted a speedy trial because since 2004 Mr. Cosby just recently had his preliminary hearing in 2016, and now has to wait another year for his court date in June 5, 2017.

This not only pertains to the 6th amendment but also to the 5th amendment. Mr. Cosby is practicing his right to plead not guilty of these crimes, which is stated in the 5th amendment the right to not self-incriminate yourself. This amendment of the US Constitution is also taking action in the motion his lawyer is trying to obtain against the evidence found in 2005 because Cosby’s rights against self-incrimination are being violated. This is because the evidence is a phone call of Cosby answering deposition questions only because the district attorney in 2005 stated that if he answered the questions a criminal case would not be brought against him.

We must know our rights, and we must know to what extent they are being violated. Mr. Cosby knows his rights are being violated because the deposition questions self-incriminate him and that is against what the 5th amendment states. It also proves how important it is for each individual to practice and protect their rights. Not just for criminal purposes but for civil purposes as well.


One thought on “An Adversarial System

  1. Daniela,
    I agree with your reasons of wanting to keep our adversary system. We have rights to suit the way we have our courts set up and it would absolutely infringe on those rights if were to use an inquisitorial system of justice. I would also not like for evidence that is against me to be brought up by my lawyer like in an inquisitorial system. Bill Cosby was also a very good example, he used his rights to defend himself and his rights being infringed upon may work in his favor.


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