August 1, 2011

Italy: A Disneyland for the Mafia

The Italian Parliament has approved Friday a new law with an apt nickname "Processo Lungo" (Long Trial), this is a milestone in the many attempts of the Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi to stall the judicial machine and avoid being sentenced to jail in any of his many trials ranging from bribery to child prostitution.
First let us see what is this Long Trial. It allows the defendant to bring an unlimited number of witnesses, just to give an example if the place where the crime has been committed is a stadium this law allows defendants to bring as witnesses every single spectator in the stadium, a judge cannot refuse to bring those witnesses since the law remove the possibility for the judge to refuse witnesses considered unrelated to the case. A judge is forced to hear everyone the defendant deem relevant to his case, should it be the far relative living abroad or the entire neighborhood.
In Italy thanks to a previous law introduced by Berlusconi which was creatively called Processo Breve (Short Trial) there is a maximum time frame for the trial to be concluded, if for a crime the trial is not completed within a specific time frame (depending from the crime the average time frame is 6-7 years) then the crime is declared expired and the accused can go home.
This new law will make easier to reach the expiry date by effectively stalling the judge decision with an endless list of witnesses. As in previous cases to save Berlusconi's ass the government is bringing the judicial system to collapse, if the penal system was not shining already with lengthy trials and lack of efficiency with this law it will practically stop working.
Good news for the Mafia who has to ability now to bring entire neighborhoods to their trials to ensure a lengthy and safe absolution.
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