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Advocacy and the Making of the Adversarial Criminal Trial 1800–1865$
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David J. A. Cairns

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198262848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198262848.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 March 2021

The Context of Upheaval

The Context of Upheaval

(p.1) 1 The Context of Upheaval
Advocacy and the Making of the Adversarial Criminal Trial 1800–1865

David J. A. Cairns

Oxford University Press

During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries capital punishment dominated the criminal process. There were nominally over two hundred capital felonies, ranging from the most serious crimes against the person and property to species of poaching, pick-pocketing, and shoplifting. This prevalence of the death penalty distracted prosecutors, witnesses, counsel, judges, and jurors from a strict investigation of the facts and application of the law, and hindered the rational development of criminal law and procedure. When the widespread repeal of capital statutes began in the early 1820s this influence of punishment on the trial slackened, and created the opportunity for procedure to develop in an adversarial way and indeed pressed it in that direction.

Keywords:   capital punishment, capital felonies, crimes, prosecutors, criminal law, criminal process

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