U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Politics, Criminal Prosecution, and the Rationalization of Justice: Italy and the United States

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 14 Issue: 1-2 Dated: (Spring/Winter 1990) Pages: 15-24
Date Published
10 pages
This paper analyzes the differing views of the United States and Italy regarding politics and criminal prosecution in terms of rationalization of a legal system according to two Weberian interpretations of that concept.
Comparativists suggest the inquisatorial model of criminal justice may solve some problems in American justice including prosecutorial discretion, but Goldstein and Marcus conclude that more discretion is exercised than suggested in the literatures. This analysis based on information derived from four months of interviews of Italian police, prosecutors, and judges further qualifies Goldstein and Marcus' conclusion. The Italians are shown to follow the principle of formal rationalization regarding legal decisionmaking, whereas the Americans allow deliberate tailoring of the legal decisionmaking to include religious and political principles. Discretion is thus placed in the context of the relationships between politics and criminal prosecution. The analysis shows how ideological differences determine the exercise of discretion or prevention of its application to crime control. 16 notes and 27 references (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1990