Short process (judgment)

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Short process describes the imposition and enforcement of a judgment if the duration of the process is shortened by unlawful restrictions or the lack of procedural elements guaranteed by the rule of law. Such restrictions can e.g. As a waiver or denying an instance path be insufficient investigation of the facts or the denial of legal counsel.

In the Middle Ages, for example, criminals who were caught in the act (if formal criminal proceedings were carried out at all) were subject to hand detention in many Central European countries . In the modern world, the “short trial” could arguably only be discussed as part of martial law and in the event of a state of emergency .

Background: duration of legal proceedings

A short duration of investigation and court proceedings is generally useful. The gathering of evidence and assessment is easier when the facts to be assessed are fresh. The cost of the procedure may be lower. In particular in juvenile criminal law, the hoped-for educational effect of conviction and punishment is higher if the offense and punishment are closely related. Therefore, there are instruments in many legal systems which in some cases provide for simplified or accelerated procedures. In Germany these are z. B. the accelerated procedure , the document process or the dunning procedure . However, all of these procedures guarantee the rule of law.

Short process at the expense of the rule of law

In a modern constitutional state, it is inadmissible to condemn and punish people who have been caught in the act , often even only suspect of criminal offenses, without the rule of law , i.e. actually without a trial . If the fast-track procedure for the convicted person ends with the execution of a death sentence , this is equivalent to murder or legally unexplained killing , applying the rule of law - regardless of the guilt of the person killed .

If state authorities are responsible for punishment that takes place a short time after capture, this can be a politically motivated, possibly legally disguised arbitrary act . Punishments of this kind are means of targeted terror if they are carried out with publicity. They are supposed to create deterrence through fear and thus direct people's behavior.

In recent German history, the term “short trial” has been inseparably linked to the judgments of the special courts and tribunals and the People's Court in the final phase of the Third Reich , to which many people - then referred to as disintegrators , deserters or pests - fell victim. Another example from this period is the Polish Criminal Law Ordinance .

Linguistic use

The term short process is predominantly used negatively to criticize serious shortcomings in court proceedings. However, it does not have an exclusively negative connotation. Occasionally it is used in a positive way to express that an unnecessary (since the result is fixed anyway) continuation of the process has been canceled.

Other meaning

In a figurative sense, the term “short process” is used when someone immediately and irrevocably brings about a quick decision in a matter or a dispute. A boxer who lands an early knockout victory in the first round makes "short work" of his opponent.

See also