An American observer comments on French politics.
@Art Goldhammer,I agree that this is the best analysis of the dismissal I’ve read (although your article in Le Monde---which I’m diligently working my way through---is also very good and you make many of these same very important points). There is, however, one point which both of you have overlooked and it would have been absolutely determinative in my mind if I have been weighing dismissal.To my mind, it isn't just that Diallo told the police and prosecutors a false story about at least one of her claimed previous rapes that bothers me, although obviously a lie about a previous rape is hugely damaging to her credibility. It’s the fact that she told the admittedly false story so very movingly. That she was able to tell her story so persuasively and that she apparently cried at just the right moments scares the hell out of me. How can anyone ever again believe anything she says? What lawyer (possessed of any integrity) could put her on the witness stand? Moreover, no lawyer could allow her to testify without putting himself in jeopardy of disbarment.
The People of the State of NY v DSK. Lack of understanding of the concept that the Prosecutor represents the interests of the People, not those of an individual is a key concept in American jurisprudence. It has often been misunderstood and ignored by French journalists and "legal experts". In a criminal case, there is no "partie civile". Needed to be said and extremely well done:"What seems to be overlooked in calls to give Diallo “her day in court” is that our criminal justice system pursues cases in the interest of public order, not on behalf of an individual complainant. That’s why criminal cases are titled “The People” of a jurisdiction versus an alleged criminal actor. (A civil—or more “private interest”—claim, on the other hand, would allow “Ms. Diallo as an individual” to bring a case against “Mr. Strauss-Kahn as an individual,” and, given the lighter burden of proof in civil cases, would offer a better chance of winning such a suit.) Vance does not represent either “the police,” as so many seem to think, or Diallo, but rather the broad justice interests of the entire state;..."
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