Nicola Gratteri tears apart the justice reform of Marta Cartabia. With a speech lasting about twenty minutes, in videoconference with the Justice Committee of the Chamber, the chief prosecutor of Catanzaro it disputes point by point most of the rules contained in the enabling law passed by the government of Mario Draghi. Starting with what is considered the “new prescription“That is non-passability: if the trial lasts more than two years on appeal (three for the most serious crimes) and one in Cassation (or 18 months) can no longer pursue and the same process dies. “The consequences will be, in concrete terms – says Gratteri – the decrease in level security for the Nation since certainly even more so it is worthwhile to commit a crime, the total cancellation of the quality of work, because fixing a trap with such a short term means not ensuring that everything is adequately analyzed with due attention, immeasurable increase in appeals and appeals to the Supreme Court because if before someone did not present appeals with this reform to everyone, no one excluded, it is advisable to appeal and then appeal in Cassation if only to give more work to engulf the machinery of justice and to reach the impossibility of prosecution “
“One in two trial will die on appeal” – A gloomy picture the one drawn by the anti ‘Ndrangheta magistrate: “Fix one trap – he continues – means not ensuring that everything is examined carefully. Indeed it will cause a immense increase of the appeals in Appeal and Cassation: everyone is better off taking action, even if only to engulf the machinery of justice At this point, the prescription of the crime is better as it was before the Bonafede reform. It would cause less damage“. Still on the impossibility of prosecution, Gratteri explained that, among the negative sides, it should be noted that “it completely disregards the time elapsed since the commission of the crime”. So in the processes for direct line that end in one day, for example those for robbery in flagrance, on appeal the inadmissibility would trigger in two years, while currently the statute of limitations takes effect after seven years. “The special preventive consequences seem obvious to me,” says the magistrate. Which quantifies in 50% the processes that “will end up under the ax of inadmissibility“. Among these also “the 7 maxi trials” against the ‘Ndrangheta that are being celebrated in the district of Catanzaro. Comperso the famous Scott rebirth, maxi proceeding against the Mancuso clan that sees defendants 355 people.
“Trials against the public administration will go in queue” “- According to Gratteri, in addition to security, the same “credibility of the State” is at stake, since not only “the trials against the public administration“, Intended, like all trials without prisoners to “go in line”, and that at risk inadmissibility in addition to the Mafia trials, there are also those for robberies and those who “sells drugs in the squares“. Not only that: the reform of the statute of limitations, the prosecutor accuses, starts from a “wrong approach: the idea that the excessive time for appeals is related to the low productivity of the judges”, who instead are “the most productive in Europe” . If the judgments in Italy last longer, the reason is the number of cases on the shoulders of the judges: “the appeals proposed in Italy are double those of Spain and triple those of France. And in the Supreme Court the appeals are equal to 10 times the number registered in European countries ”. Also for this reason “we need to start talking about resources: for a year and a half there have been no competitions for access to the judiciary and thus it will not be possible to fill the posts of those who retire”. Gratteri, then, pointed out that the terms of the Appeal process “in addition to being very short, run from the 90th day from the filing of the first degree sentence, while for the transmission of the file on appeal or in the Supreme Court in general it takes much more time. Therefore, the term for the conduct of the trial begins to run when the judge does not yet have the file “. As if to say: the Appeal processes will not die after two years of trial, but much sooner. The beauty is that this reform, written to speed up the processes, will have no effect on these fronts: “The current appeals – says Gratteri – are essentially not affected, which means that there is no reasonable reason to believe that the times currently used can be reduced “.
Time lost due to crimes then canceled – For Gratteri, the further penalty discount of 1/6 in the case of failure to lodge an appeal. In fact, if the defendant knows he can benefit from the inadmissibility, would find it more convenient to challenge the sentence and see the penalty canceled in case of overrun of the two years “. Another contested point is the strengthening of the institution of the concordat on appeal: “This institution appears absolutely inconsistent with the whole procedural system, so much so that it had been abolished in the past. In fact, after the first instance trial, in which the evidence was taken before the judge, with all the delays that this entails and after the judge had to draft the sentence, an agreement is reached that can literally dismantle the contested judgment, avoiding the celebration of the appeal judgment. Since the agreement is unlimited, it is possible to negotiate the cancellation of a crime, or an aggravating circumstance with a substantial reduction of the penalty “. A system that can be extended to serious crimes such as those of the mafia: “If the reform passes, the parties, after the first degree trial in which the accused was convicted of mafia association with the role of promoter, or for participation in an association aimed at drug trafficking, in addition to individual drug offenses, could agree on the elimination of the status of promoter. The appeals court has the power not to grant the request for settlement. But, burdened by many causes and in order to avoid the inadmissibility of a process that is complex, it would hardly not endorse the agreement reached and thus would weaken the judgment of the first instance. So the State, after having invested resources to celebrate a trial of first instance, would effectively make it possible to nullify the time and money spent, with agreements on appeal that would empty the content of the trial celebrated at first instance “.
“Backdated registration will burden processes” – Another aspect of the reform dismantled by the anti-Ndrangheta magistrate is that which allows “the suspect to ask the judge to retrodatare the registration of his name in register of crime reports in case of unjustified and unequivocal delay “. But what does unjustified and unequivocal delay mean? “They are very nuanced concepts and such as to create many problems. Normally the issue is raised in complex trials, marked by numerous charges and people involved “, says Gratteri, before giving an example:” A crime report of over 3000 pages is filed, in which the judicial police defer hundreds of people. Well, what is the appropriate time to assess the need to register people in the register? The judge will have to study the information and maybe only after 3 or 6 months will he be able to say what was the right time. And if the prosecutor was busy in the meantime to examine another information as well ponderosa? The judge will also have to study the other information to assess whether the delay was justified or not. As can be seen, the question is more complex than it appears. So much so that, opportunely, the legislator had not imposed any procedural sanction to late registration, leaving the behavior to be possibly censurable from a disciplinary point of view “. In short, another rule that weighs down the processes. “Obviously, if the judge of first instance were to reject the question, it would also be re-proposed on appeal. In that case, the situation is much more dramatic, since the Court is already obliged to race against time, in order not to run into the trap of the fateful two years, on pain of the inadmissibility of the crime “.
The alternative – Then Gratteri then explained some of his alternative proposals: “We need to change the system of appeals, include the possibility of also celebrating judgments on appeal before a single court for crimes of lesser importance. The ban on reformatio in peius must be removed ”. For the head of the public prosecutor of Catanzaro, “the system of appeals must be changed, the system of appeals must not be left unaltered (on appeal and then in cassation) but then ‘fix’ a term trap. All this makes no sense, moreover through an institution that our legal system does not know ”. For the investigator “Any proposal to reduce time must start from upstream and not downstream changes”. The magistrate then criticized his colleagues out of office, because “while this is being done there guillotine processes there are 250 external magistrates who work as technicians in the ministries ”. A situation – that of gaps in the workforce – destined to worsen, given that “there have been no competitions for a year and a half, so in a year we would be in trouble”. In closing, the prosecutor of Catanzaro wonders why “there are reasons for alternative penalties rather than construction four prefabricated prisons“.