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Title: Between crime-fighter and judge : a study of the legal and cultural influences on the pre-trial role of the Italian prosecutor with particular reference to the definition of the crime problem
Author: Montana, Riccardo
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 8813
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2009
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The Anglo-Saxon literature on Italian prosecutors (and the Italian criminal justice system in general) is limited. Moreover, the literature using a socio-legal approach and trying to understand what prosecutors do in practice is almost inexistent. This study seeks to fill, partially, this gap. Legal actors are, obviously, an extremely important focus for those who intend to study criminal justice and criminal procedure. Legal systems are applied and interpreted (translated to use Langer's words) according to different legal cultures. Amongst the judicial actors who appear to be, legally, in the position to determine the way the legal system works there are prosecutors. Prosecutors carry out many functions and, in Italy, they are involved from the beginning of the investigation till the end of the trial. In other words: Italian prosecutors play a very important part during both the pre-trial and trial phase. We will concentrate on the former trying to answer one main question: what prosecutors do in practice In particular, this is a study of the legal and cultural influences on the role and function of Italian prosecutor with particular reference to their gate-keeping role. In this sense the thesis brings out the distinctive impact of both the legal framework and prosecutors' professional culture and identity on the prosecutors' capacity to mediate of 'crime control' policies. While we will study this we will also analyze Italian prosecutors' legal and professional culture and their relationship with the police. This will be crucial to understand the way prosecutors take gate keeping decisions. The analysis of the Italian case seems to be very important. It shows that, when it comes to definition of the crime problem, prosecutors still play an important and distinct role. Important because their decisions still influence the definition of priorities (i. e. they do not seem to be mere executors of anticrime policies). Distinct because prosecutors appear to be able to mediate the impact of external influences. So. they have a (partially) different idea of priorities compared to the dominant political culture. This puts them in a different (distinct) position. To sum up: in Italy the prosecutors' role during the pre-trial phase of being 'between' crime fighter and judge is visible. There is room for prosecutors' choices and decisions. To corroborate this thesis we used the examples of street crime, immigration and the impact of moral panics on prosecutors' decisions. These are all issues which concern very much the "fight against insecurity" which is considered, in the western capitalistic countries, a crucial problem for the central state, the public and the media. We will try to demonstrate that, although Italian prosecutors are affected by the "problem of security" and, certainly, can not block the evolution (or involution) of the criminal justice system, they are in the position to limit the impact of these external influences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available