A fun puzzle weekly mag called” If you were the judge “: has, for years, presented simple legal queries to be solved by its readers which are based on actual stories examined by law, explained very briefly and at the same time more in detail on the famous page 46, the last page of that nice magazine.
Let’s try to change the rules and pose a query that from tomorrow, one might ask. If you were the judge, and a party to the proceedings whom you are judging, were to fall under the new system, and assuming you took a wrong decision in their proceeding, would you feel at peace with yourself having to rule out a judgment or would you doubt your ability in taking impartial decisions? Would you retain it appropriate to refrain from continuing your job as a judge or completely ignore what is happening to you because of the conduct of persons subject to your judgment?
Let’s try changing the rules of the mag and let’s deal with what we’ll call “If you were part of a civil trial.” The judge who will assess your reasons and your wrongdoings has been subpoened by the State, and you have been sued in turn, i.e. the person who sues you or against whom you are proceeding against. Well would you wish that judge to remain there until the end to judge your behaviour or would you rather that all the facts were to be examined again under a different Prosecutor? And this could push you to settle for a conciliation that you perhaps had never wanted?
The game could continue with “If you were the civil party in a penal proceeding where the defendant maybe, sees his personal liberty restricted during the proceedings because he is considered a danger he sues the State Prosecutor and the entire hearing panel. How would you react? It is clear that you will find the solution on page 46.
But the problem could arise tomorrow in your hearing, in a hearing that today you would never have even hypothesized could exist, because no one ever speculates on a proceeding in which he is taking part. The easiest answer would be that the new law prohibits the magistrates liability thus preventing to request damages and to conduct the proceedings before the judgment established has been completed. But this prohibition, which is summarized in the technical term as ‘Declaration of inadmissibility of the application’, must be declared by another court after the commencement of proceedings for civil liability established by the party claiming on the behaviour of the former judge, who was designated as the one who had to evaluate the rights and wrongs of the two private parties.
Previously, a filter assessed the totally unfounded and inadmissable requests or, as in our examples, in the form and within the times expected. Now the legislature has taken off. And anyone can take up proceedings for alleged conduct held by the magistrate, asking for the State’s intervention in the judgement, informing the judge designated that, in the future, and through a legal mechanism, his personal assets will be targeted, by oppressing the serenity of his judgment, pushing him away from the proceedings via those mechanisms technically referred to ‘exclusion and objection.’
But “If you were an honest citizen” what would you think of all this?
Prosecutor at the Prosecutor’s Office in Rome
Former member of the Superior Council of Magistracy
Translation provided by Marina Stronati