parallax background

Criminal Law

Convincing a German criminal court

The freedom of estimation of an evidence material is the core element of the German court system, it means that the judge or the court department or the court chamber are free to draw conclusions they assume as the most convincing.

The highest criminal court is only allowed to override a decision of the lower court because of mistakes regarding the logic (like circular reasoning), neglecting the obvious facts or neglecting the law of nature. The highest criminal court is not allowed to replace the conclusions of the lower court (like estimating a witness as not credible despite the contrary estimation of the lower court).

This tightened control power is probably one of the reasons for the quotas of the appeals at the highest criminal court - only about 5% are successful.

The odds of the not-guilty verdict should be carefully weighed against the guilty verdict. The odds of the not-guilty verdict are limited, regarding the fact that the prosecution representatives press charges only if the evidence material gathered will most probably lead to a guilty-verdict.

Every alibi has better odds to inspire doubts if there are leads and evidence material supporting the alibi-version.

The court is not allowed to draw incriminating conclusions from the defendant remaining silent.

The defense attorney can testify for his client, but the courts are not obliged to take a statement made by the attorney while making decision.

If a defendant wants to present an alibi or another version of the events, it should be considered as the most convincing if made by the defendant himself. The examination by the judge or the court chamber and by the prosecution can be very intense.

If the evidence material is strong, one has to consider the confession and concentration on the facts and elements of the biography of the defendant or the situation leading to the crime or concentration on the most early possible release from prison as the best strategy.