Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Douglas Preston, American Writer, Explains How Italy Puts Saving Face Before Justice

Douglas Preston, whom I have quoted here frequently, has another thought-provoking article on the Italian justice system that railroaded Amanda Knox.  Writing in the U.K. Guardian, he says:
About 50% of all criminal convictions in Italy are reversed or greatly modified on appeal. Knox and Sollecito join the 4 million Italians since the war who have seen their lives ruined by false criminal charges, only to be proclaimed innocent after many years of agony and imprisonment.

While they don't like others pointing it out, many Italians are well aware that their judicial system is dysfunctional. Silvio Berlusconi is absolutely right when he says the judiciary needs fundamental reform. The Italian judiciary, a holdover to a great extent from the Mussolini era, when Italy was a police state, acts with no checks and balances, in which prosecutors and police wield enormous power.

If you are arrested for a crime and have no alibi, you are in very serious trouble. The de facto burden of proof is on you to prove your innocence, despite lip service in the Italian constitution to the idea of innocent until proven guilty.
Read it all here.

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