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Comparative Criminal Law and Enforcement: Russia - The Admissibility Of Evidence

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Upon receipt of the case the trial judge reviews the accusatory pleading and, depending on the sufficiency of the evidence, may set the case for trial, return the case to the investigator for further investigation, or dismiss all or some of the charges. This pretrial hearing is often the setting for motions to suppress evidence due to violations of the law committed by investigative officials. The prohibition against the use of illegally seized evidence has been constitutionally based since 1992 (Art. 50(2) Const. RF) and was codified as part of the 1993 Jury Law (Art. 69(para. 3) CCP). In jury cases there is a special preliminary hearing before trial at which motions to suppress illegally seized evidence may be made based on the documents in the investigative dossier (Art. 433 (para. 3) CCP). Motions to suppress evidence have been common in jury trials and are beginning to be made in nonjury trials. The Supreme Court has ruled, for instance, that a statement made by a suspect without having been advised of the right to remain silent or without waiving the right to counsel must be excluded from the trial, a ruling quite similar to the famous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona. Courts have also routinely excluded evidence seized following unlawful searches or other procedural violations. The Russian exclusionary rule applies to evidence gathered in violation of a statute, even if the violation was not of constitutional magnitude.

The exclusionary rule has not been effectively applied, especially in relation to alleged use of torture or other coercion to compel confessions by suspects. Allegations of the use of improper methods are commonly rejected by the trial judge after at most a perfunctory investigation by the procuracy. The Supreme Court has also ruled that a finding by the trial judge that a confession was voluntary will preclude the defendant or other witnesses from testifying before the jury that the confession was the product of torture, threats, violence, promises, or other inducements and should not therefore be believed.

Comparative Criminal Law and Enforcement: Russia - The Criminal Trial And The Presumption Of Innocence [next] [back] Comparative Criminal Law and Enforcement: Russia - Fair Trial And Independent Judiciary

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