A “study” in the effects of confirmation bias, victim-centered investigations, or flawed investigations followed by a flawed judicial process?
N. P. Kirillova and E. N. Lisanyuk, Truth and Legal Argument in Fydor Dostoevsky’s The Karamazov Brothers. 48 Bulletin of Tomsk State Univ., 193-204 (2019).
There were several reasons of the judicial error. The court investigator and the prosecutor investigated only one version of the murder, which seemed obvious to them but in fact was false, and they made no attempt to verify the defendant’s ver-sion, which in fact was true. Along with the prosecutor’s erroneous bias against Dmitry Karamazov, there were many circumstantial evidences pointing to him guilty, which led to the fallacious decision of the juries.
Dostoevsky portrays how the prosecutor’s opinion over the crime was emerging and shows how his strong desire to boost his career by ‘winning’ a loud crim-inal case was guiding him towards opposing the defense’s position not so much with arguments or evidence as with eloquence and ‘theatrical’ effects, which mis-led the jurors.
The jurors’ error was caused by the way the prosecutor had been justifying the accusative claim and by some weak aspects of the criminal process’s adversary proceedings of that time,
which both contributed to the jurors’ wrong assessment of the arguments of the prosecutor and Dmitry’s defender. We show how three reasons of the judicial error, the prosecutor’s and the jurors’ faulty performance of their judiciary obligations and the flaws in the criminal process, reflect the evaluative role the conceptions of truth play in establishing the truth and assessing the arguments. We explore the acquisition of different truth conceptions which are leg-islatively implemented in the types of criminal process and focus on the fact that it is rather the way these conceptions affect the arguments’ assessment than the im- plementation of the conceptions that is crucial for avoiding judicial errors.