In this document, we present the Brenton Butler case, where Mary Ann Stephens, who was a holiday, is shot in the head in front of her husband. Later, Brenton Butler, a 15 year old Black citizen, was arrested just because he was in a street near the place of crime and it was confirmed that he was the murderer. Mr Stephens identifies him and Butler signs a confession. So, one could imagine that anyone involved with the case is ready to condemn Brenton Butler. The American justice in that case would have been very simple. There is an eyewitness; there is confession, so Brenton Butler is clearly guilty. Fortunately, Butler's lawyer, Patrick McGuiness has reopened the inquiry, and discovered troubling elements about this case. So, he succeeded in proving his innocence. But, it's difficult to realize that a young Black can be tried for murder just because someone (especially someone a little bit disturbed because he saw a murder) identifies him as a murderer. In this case, there was no enquiry to prove that he was innocent, no material verification, and a lot of confusions in the conclusions drawn by the police.
[...] For example, experts would have looked for fingerprint in the victim's bag and found the real murderer. With the film “Un coupable ideal”, the American justice seems to be more unfair as you have to pay for private investigator, the jury judge only with fact exposed in front of them and decide if you are guilty or not whereas they don't know anything about law. But, I don't thing that the solution is to replace the American system by the French one. [...]
[...] The fundamental principle underlying trial proceedings is the presumption of innocence. Indeed, in virtue of constitutional Rights of 1789 and of the Declaration on the Rights of Man: “every man is presumed innocent until declared guilty." On the contrary in United States, the fundamental principle is to show that the person is guilty beyond the reasonable doubt. Also, you may note that strong methods are used in United States with suspects. We can wonder what kind of rights has a suspect in United States when we are watching this film. [...]
[...] Comparative Criminal Law: comparison between the French and the American system by studying Brenton Butler case ➢ Comparison between the French and the American system by studying Brenton Butler case A white woman, Mary Ann Stephens, was shot in the head in front of her husband. Later, Brenton Butler, a 15 year old black young guy, was arrested just because he was in a street that was very close to the crime place. Mister Stephens identifies him and Butler signs a confession. [...]
[...] In France, I think that the judge would have heard witnesses and suspects and ordered searches for other investigations in this case as there were confusions in the declaration of Brenton Butler. His goal was not the prosecution of a certain person, but to find the truth. As he has to look both for incriminating and exculpating evidence, you can deduce that he would have reopened the inquiry. The prosecution and the defense request actions from the judge and appeal the judge's decisions before the trial. The “juge d'instruction” needs a mandate given by the prosecutor's office to investigate crimes. [...]
[...] The judge is also a human being, you can understand that sometime it's difficult for him to look both for incriminating and exculpating evidence : he can have convictions in certain cases. In short, this case reveals that the failing of the French system can be considered as an advantage in the American one and vice versa. In fact, a good solution would be to make changes in these two systems instead of replacing the American one with the French one. Bibliography “Perspectives on French Criminal Law” par Sophie M. Clavier “Le systeme penal francais : quelles évolutions souhaitables“ par Georges Fenec “Basic Criminal Procedures” par Edward E. [...]
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