French Justice in Angers

You know, with a name like “Angers,” you’d EXPECT the story to make you mad (assuming you speak English — hey, how are you reading this, anyway?)

Linked from my local paper.

Upshot: There’s this big pedophilia trial going on in Angers, France, with some 4 dozen victims and sixty-six defendants.

My Take: There are half a dozen different angles a blogger could take with this one. I’m interested in two:

1) This provides an interesting insight into how the French criminal justice system differs from the one here at home. Defendents do not plead innocence or guilt at the beginning of the trial. The press is allowed in, but is not allowed to use any of the victims’ or defendents’ names in their reporting. The sixty-six defendants are all on trial at once, in the same room. I’m not passing judgement on the French here — I’m just saying it’s interesting.

2) This quote: “Defense lawyers plan to argue that government social workers, who dealt with many of the suspects, turned a blind eye to signs of abuse.” Okay, tell me PLEASE how this is a valid defense. It seems to me that this argument is an attempt to lay the blame for the crime on the government for not catching the perpetrators sooner. Now I’m not going to claim that this loony abdication-of-personal-responsibility defense is a uniquely FRENCH thing. Far from it! I think they may have learned this tactic from slimy partnership drones here in the USA. I hope and pray, for the sake of the children in France, that this defense backfires conflagrously, immolating the entire defense team along with their clients.

The crime really is an horrific one, and it brings to mind Christ’s own suggested sentence: “it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Okay, we can argue the meaning of THAT passage in light of Christ’s other teachings until the cows come home and lie down with the lamb and the lion.)

–Howard

4 thoughts on “French Justice in Angers”

  1. It is unlikely the defense will backfire; it *is* likely that will lead to more clear rules on what kind of leeway social workers are given. This is both a good and a bad thing, but on the whole will hardly affect the eventual treatment of the suspects much.

    My prediction is it’s not going to be fun being one of the 36, and that there will be a lot of bureaucracy in motion to prevent this from happening again. At the end of the say, social workers will have more memos with rules they have to mostly ignore to get their work done, and the perps will be in the slammer.

    It’s funny, France has the judicial system closest to the US one in all of Europe (excepting the UK), and yet it’s so very different. In other countries it’d be much more different still.

Comments are closed.