Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Compromise (in Italy)

Over in the USA people are upset about a a "compromise" on protecting telecom companies.

over here Parliament is taking bold action. The Italian Senate just approved the following amendment to a bill which says roughly that roughly all trials for crimes committed before June 30 2002 are to be suspended for one year, but appeals can go forward.

It is purely a coincidence that the trial of the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, for suborning perjury in an effort to hide the massive tax evasion by his firm* is nearing completion.



Sospensione dei processi penali relativi a fatti commessi fino al 30 giugno 2002
L'emendamento salvapremier approvato
(Ddl Senato 692 Emendamento 2.0.800

Sospensione dei processi penali relativi a fatti commessi fino al 30 giugno 2002. E' quanto prevede l'emendamento al decreto in materia di sicurezza, approvato dalla maggioranza in Senato, il 18 giugno. Pd e Idv hanno lasciato l'Aula al momento del voto. La sospensione riguarda processi penali relativi a fatti commessi fino al 30 giugno 2002 che si trovino in uno stato compreso tra la fissazione dell'udienza preliminare e la chiusura del dibattimento di primo grado, sono immediatamente sospesi dalla data di entrata in vigore della legge di conversione del presente decreto per la durata di un anno. (18 giugno 2008)



Also all udienza preliminare are suspended.

An udienza preliminare is in front of a judge but the outcome is either the subject is cleared or indicted, so they are like grand jury procedures.

In Italy both prosecution and defense can appeal on the merits of the case (and without claiming there is new evidence) so all trials are double. Double jeopardy is normal practice for people acquitted of extremely serious crimes in their first trial. I think that all defendants except for indigent defendants with irresponsible court appointed lawyers appeal convictions.

*This tax evasion resulted in a fine of roughly $ 150,000,000 at then current exchange rates and zero but no criminal conviction for Mr Berlusconi, because the relevant law on criminal responsibility for false accounting was changed by parliament the last time he was in power.

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