Views on Admitting Guilt and Its Effects in Criminal Law and Criminal Proceedings Law Areas

By Galaţeanu, Oana | Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice, July 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Views on Admitting Guilt and Its Effects in Criminal Law and Criminal Proceedings Law Areas


Galaţeanu, Oana, Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice


1.Admitting Guilt and Its Forms

In criminal law, according to the provisions of the new Criminal code, admitting guilt can take the form of a general criterion of punishment individualization provided by article 74, paragraph (1), letter f) - Criminal code, according to which one of the criterion for assessing the gravity of the offence committed and the threat represented by the offender is the offender's conduct after committing the offence and during the criminal trial; according to this assessment, it is established the duration and the size of the punishment. It is a criterion the court is compelled to take into consideration both when deciding the size of the punishment and when establishing one of the alternate punishments in the situations when the law allows this way of holding criminally liable (Stoian, 2013: 229). There will be taken into consideration the offender's conduct after committing the offence and before starting the criminal trial, manifested through acts of trying to stop the result being produced, through filing a self-incrimination report, returning the stolen goods and during the criminal trial, through admitting the deed, entering into a guilty plea, etc.

At criminal proceedings level, the judiciary practice from the previous years and the opinions from the doctrine in the area have evidenced the necessity of a speedy criminal trial in order to re-establish the rule of law, which was infringed. At the same time, it appeared an increase of the criminal phenomenon, being outlined more and more the concept of the real utility of appealing to a modality of encouraging the offenders to cooperate during the criminal trial, thus coming to support the speedy trial so much desired by the judiciary bodies, by the state, as well as by the participants to the trial. Accordingly, the state would manage to achieve a correct, legal and sound sanctioning of those guilty of committing offences, using much smaller costs and complying with the basic principles of the criminal trial. On the other hand, the accused person has the possibility to have a sanctioning treatment more lenient and the injured party will reclaim the prejudice suffered faster.

Following to these desiderata, a new Criminal procedure code was adopted through Law no. 135/2010 published in the Official Gazette no. 486 from July 15th, 2010, through which two institutions have been introduced for speeding up the criminal trials solving: the judgment in case the defendant admitted the deed/deeds put on his/her account, completely, and the special procedure of guilty plea agreement which can be entered into in the phase of criminal prosecution, only after the criminal proceedings were put to motion, in writing, between the prosecutor and the defendant/defendants, for one or more deed(s) for which the criminal proceedings were put to motion.

In the simplified procedure, the judgment in the case of defendant's complete admission of the deeds put on his/her account can be done with one single exception, represented by the case when the criminal proceedings refer to an offence which is punished with life imprisonment.

The special procedure of guilty plea agreement can be operative with two exceptional cases provided by article 478, paragraph (6) and by article 480, paragraph (1) of the new Criminal procedure code:

* The case of offences for which the law provides the punishment by imprisonment higher than 7 years;

* The case when the defendant is a minor.

Defendant's admission must be specific and it can be partial or total. The partial admission is allowed by the legislator in the new Criminal procedure code only for the criminal prosecution phase, being provided the possibility that during this phase, after being initiated the criminal proceedings, the defendant admits he/she committed only some of the deeds for which the criminal proceedings had been initiated against him/her, case in which a guilty plea agreement could be entered into by him/her and the case prosecutor for these deeds, in the limits established through the written and prior notice of the prosecutor which is hierarchically superior to the case prosecutor, as it results from the provisions of article 478 paragraph (1), (4) and article 483, paragraph (2) of the new Criminal procedure code. …

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