Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Donner gets touch

I am TOUCH too!Minister Donner (Justice) reacted this Monday, unusual tough when he talked about the reactions of the neighborhood on the death of robber Ali el Bejjati.

Donner thinks that there will be need for many more prison cells, considering the reactions. He said he was shocked, "what I saw on television, was a group that said, stealing and robbing is normal, we all do that. We can not have groups like that in our society", Donner said. He found it shocking that people in the neighborhood called Ali el B. a good person, despite that he was steeling and robbing.

Donner made his statements at a celebration held for the start of the construction of a new prison in the city of Lelystad.

See also:
French criticize Donner
Robber Dies (4)
Robber Dies (3)
Robber Dies (2)
Robber Dies

Source: Omroep Flevoland


Blogger ambisinistral said...


I thought you might be interested to know you have a regular reader from Florida. I don't remember exactly how I came upon this blog, but the case of the woman and the purse-snatcher some how caught my interest.

I have a question about the Dutch legal system. Searching about the internet I found a page that said a trial like this would not have a jury, but would be conducted by a three judge panel. The defense and prosecuters would make statements, but the questioning of witnesses would be conducted by the judges.

Are the judges in Holland fairly neutral, or do they have political bias? And what is the likely punishment if she is found guilty of manslaughter?

6:20 AM  
Blogger DutchReporter said...

Hello ambisinistral,

Thanks for letting me know, your reading our stuff. It's always good to hear from readers!

Regarding your question:
In The Netherlands we do not have jury trials. Judges rule all trials. In general you can say that a single judge runs a lower court and a trio runs higher courts. In The Netherlands the judge follows the proceedings of the prosecutor and defendant, he normally has not a very active role. But when he finds it necessary he can asks questions himself.

I assume that the courts in the US are different, it is said that legal people have a special denounsiation for bad legal system based on the Dutch situation. A good example is that in The Netherlands it is possible to be a lawyer and judge for the same court district. On certain days you work as a layer for a law firm and on other days you work, in the same courts, as a judge. It is a practice that has grown in the years. It is critiqued, but nothing changes. Judges are impartial it is said.

It happens that a judge, who is also working for a law firm, is ruling in cases where a lawyer of the same law firm represents one of the parties. But due to new measures, that cannot be researched any more. Under the banner of privacy, the court rulings documents are no longer publicly available. Also court cases are not always announced in public, although the proceeding it self is not secret.

In my opinion judges seem to be more influenced by left wing ideology than the general public and rather wants to help the criminal in becoming a better person than that they also punish him for his crimes.

One parliamentary member, Boris Dietrich (D66), once explained why he stopped as a Judge and became a politician: "I always wanted to help the people, but as a judge I only had limited means".

That seems to me to be a quite accurate description of what's wrong. They want to help "the people" instead of enforcing the laws of the country.

1:54 PM  
Blogger ambisinistral said...

Thanks for taking the time for such a detailed response.

Yes, in the U.S. this would be a jury trial. I would imagine a conviction for a case like this would not be a certainty in a jury trial. Most likely the defendent, the judge and the prosecuter would try to work out a plea bargain (that is where they bypass a trial by all agreeing to the punishment). Court records are public in the US.

What surprised me the most in your answer is that judges are still members of law firms, and they could sit in a case where one of the lawyers was a member of the same firm. Seems like a pretty overt conflict of interest to me.

4:35 AM  
Blogger DutchReporter said...

Of course court records are public in the US, the US is a free country.

BTW not all judges are member of law firms, only the replacement judges (there are many, very many). These replacement judges work both as judge and as lawyers.

You see it as a pretty overt conflict of interest, but not many people seem to bother in The Netherlands.

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