Assuming that the Defendant Is Not Guilty: The Presumption of Innocence in the German System of Criminal Justice

Criminal Law and Philosophy 8 (2):285-299 (2014)
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The presumption of innocence is not a presumption but an assumption or legal fiction. It requires agents of the state to treat a suspect or defendant in the criminal process as if he were in fact innocent. The presumption of innocence has a limited field of application. It applies only to agents of the state, and only during the criminal process. The presumption of innocence as such does not determine the amount of evidence necessary to find a defendant guilty. In spite of these limits, the presumption of innocence protects suspects and defendants from specific dangers inherent in the criminal process. German procedure law is used to show these areas



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