Pre-trial Detention

Pre-trial Detention in Europe

Decoding the Process of Decision-making on Pre-trial Detention in Spain: a Preliminary Study

Jose R. Agustina, from the INTERNACIONAL UNIVERSITY OF CATALUNYA, made a contribution to the 2012 Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, in the category “Criminal Justice and Human Rights,” under the title “Decoding the Process of Decision-making on Pre-trial Detention in Spain: a Preliminary Study”. Here is the abstract: From the letter of the Spanish Law, it is clear enough that pre-trial detention should always satisfy a legitimate goal. According to Article 503 of the Spanish Criminal Procedure Act, pre-trial detention may be decreed (1) to guarantee the presence of the accused at trial (flight risk); (2) to avoid alteration, destruction or hiding of evidence relevant to the case; (3) to prevent the accused from taking action against the interests of the victim; and (4) to avoid the risk that the accused will commit another offence. Therefore, Judges must accomplish such legal standards in their decision-making rationale. However, there is no tradition in Spanish Criminal Justice System to evaluate in empirical terms the risk of any of those goals that legitimise a pre-trial detention decision. In this paper, by analysing a small sample of court decisions in Barcelona, we stress the importance of a criminological approach to the pre-trial detention issue. Upon the base of empirical data related to each case, Judges and Magistrates could easily provide more information, transparency, predictability and reasonableness to the always-complex process of bail/custody decision.

Resources

See Also

Further Reading

  • “Decoding the Process of Decision-making on Pre-trial Detention in Spain: a Preliminary Study”, by Jose R. Agustina (Proceedings)

Leave a Comment