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Article

Access_open The Meaning of the Presumption of Innocence for Pre-trial Detention

An Empirical Approach

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2013
Keywords pre-trial detention practice, presumption of guilt, incapacitation, presumption of innocence
Authors Lonneke Stevens
AbstractAuthor's information

    The presumption of innocence (PoI) is considered to be an important principle for regulating pre-trial detention. The idea is that pre-trial detention should be a last resort. However, pre-trial detention practice demonstrates that pre-trial detention does not function on the basis of a presumption of innocence but rather from a presumption of guilt and dangerousness. It must be concluded that, with regard to pre-trial detention, the PoI has a rather limited normative effect.


Lonneke Stevens
Lonneke Stevens is Associate Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at VU University Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Retributivist Arguments against Presuming Innocence

Answering to Duff

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2013
Keywords broad presumption of innocence, retributivism, punishment of innocents, vicarious liability of car owners, drink-driving tests of non-suspects
Authors Alwin A. van Dijk
AbstractAuthor's information

    Factors justifying not presuming innocence are generally incorporated into the Presumption of Innocence (PoI). A confusing discourse has resulted: numerous guilt-presuming acts are deemed consistent with the PoI. I argue for an unusually broad PoI: any act that might convey to a reasonable actor that he is not presumed innocent of a punishable offence constitutes a PoI interference. Thus, academic debate need only be about the question what PoI interferences are justifiable or unjustifiable. This question must be answered using pro- and anti-PoI values. I analyse three PoI interferences in relation to Duff’s retributivist punishment theory: presumptions of guilt, vicarious liability of car owners and coercing non-suspects into proving their sobriety. Retributivists tend to castigate such procedures based on their (supposed) consequentialist rationale. I argue, however, that they might also be justified on retributivist grounds. The retributivist anti-PoI duty to punish the guilty may be the worst enemy of innocents.


Alwin A. van Dijk
Alwin A. van Dijk is Assistant Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Groningen.
Article

Access_open Presumption of Innocence Versus a Principle of Fairness

A Response to Duff

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2013
Keywords rules, principles, fairness, PoI
Authors Magnus Ulväng
AbstractAuthor's information

    In my response to Duff I focus mainly on the following two issues. Firstly, I examine what kind of a norm the presumption of innocence (PoI) really is and how it ontologically differs from other types of rules, principles, rationales, etc. My tentative conclusion is that a PoI does not suffice the requirement of being a dogmatic rule and, thus, has less weight than what Duff perhaps assumes.
    Secondly, I examine what role the concept of innocence plays in the debate on fundamental (moral and legal) principles and the underlying rationales of a criminal law system. Although I am sympathetic to much of what Duff purports in his plea for civic trust and a parsimonious use of criminal law, I am reluctant to believe that it is really a broader version of a PoI that warrants the kind of morally decent criminal law system that he suggests normatively ought to be. In my view, most of what Duff wants to ascribe to the PoI can be derived from a principle of fairness which, in my view, is already embedded in the fundamentals of criminal law doctrine.


Magnus Ulväng
Magnus Ulväng is Professor of Criminal Law at Uppsala University.
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