Legal Dictionary

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Adversary System

The American system of criminal prosecution is an Adversary System, meaning the government, after accusing the defendant must prove its allegations by an adversary process. An adversary process is one in which each side (the prosecution and the defense) presents its most persuasive arguments through the examination and cross-examination of witnesses. The fact finder (the judge or jury) decides the case almost entirely based on the evidence that has been by the adversaries (the prosecution and the defense). Accusatorial system is another term for adversarial system.