Legal Updates

The Rule of Corpus Delicti

In earlier times and in other countries, people have been convicted of crimes that never occurred. Throughout history, political parties systematically eliminated “undesirables” or threats to power through show trials or bogus charges.  In Communist Russia, Joseph Stalin regularly executed political opponents under the guise of criminal charges.  The criminal charges were substantiated by “confessions” from the accused.  These so-called confessions were the result of either physical torture or extreme psychological stress.  Often times, the defendant confessed to a crime that had never been committed.

In Pennsylvania and The United States, we have the rule of Corpus Delicti.  The essence of the rule is that a confession is inadmissible where no evidence of a crime exists.  The purpose of the rule is to prevent Stalinisitic-like persecutions of people who have done no wrong.

In the State of Pennsylvania: You may not consider a statement as evidence against the defendant unless you first find beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed.  The object of this rules is to guard against convicting a person of a crime that never really happened even though the defendant confessed that it did occur.  This is called the Corpus Delicti Rule, and it is honored in all Pennsylvania criminal trials.

If you have been charged with a crime that was not committed, you need to speak with an aggressive and zealous criminal defense attorney.  Contact The Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos to set up a free consultation.