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NCJ Number: 64574 Find in a Library
Title: APPLICATION OF THE SPECIAL LAWS REGULATIONS DEALING WITH PUBLIC ORDER - AN EXEMPLARY CASE - ITALY
Journal: QUESTIONE CRIMINALE  Volume:3  Issue:3  Dated:(SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 1977)  Pages:431-475
Author(s): L PICOTTI
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 45
Format: Article
Language: Italian
Country: Italy
Annotation: A CASE OF ALLEGED ABUSE OF POLICE POWERS AND JUDICIAL ACQUIESCENCE IS DESCRIBED FROM A RADICAL CRIMINOLOGIST'S PERSPECTIVE TO ILLUSTRATE THE SELECTIVE CRITERIA WITH WHICH PUBLIC ORDER LAWS ARE ENFORCED IN ITALY.
Abstract: THE EMERGENCY LAWS ENACTED IN ITALY BETWEEN 1974 AND 1975 TO CONTROL POLITICAL VIOLENCE, ALREADY REPRESSIVE IN THEMSELVES, HAVE BEEN APPLIED SELECTIVELY AND CONTRADICTORILY IN VIOLATION OF THEIR OWN TERMS. FOR EXAMPLE, A VIOLENT CONFRONTATION TOOK PLACE IN AN ITALIAN CITY IN 1975 BETWEEN POLICE AND DEMONSTRATORS BELONGING TO EXTREME LEFTIST GROUPS (NOT REPRESENTED IN PARLIMENT) DURING AN ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN. THE AVOWED PURPOSE OF THE DEMONSTRATION, ANNOUNCED ON A LOCALLY DISTRIBUTED, MIMEOGRAPHED LEAFLET, WAS TO PREVENT A NEOFASCIST POLITICIAN FROM ADDRESSING A RALLY OF HIS PARTY. THE POLICE CHOSE TO INTERPRET THE PRINTED STATEMENT AS CRIMINAL INTENT, AND THEY MOVED IN ON THE ASSEMBLY (WHICH WAS NOT IN VIOLATION OF ANY LAW) AND, CLAIMING THAT THE DEMONSTRATORS WERE WEARING MASKS OR DISGUISES TO CONCEAL THEIR INDENTITY, THEY ORDERED THEM TO DISPERSE. THE DEMONSTRATORS REFUSED AN A CONFRONTATION ENSUED, IN WHICH SOME POLICEMEN WERE INJURED BY MOLOTOV COCKTAILS AND ROCKS, AS THE DEMONSTRATORS MELTED AWAY INTO NEARBY STREETS AND ALLEYS, COMMITTING OCCASSIONAL ACTS OF VANDALISM. TWO YOUNG MEN WERE ARRESTED AND RUSHED THROUGH A QUICK TRIAL, AS A RESULT OF WHICH ONE DEFENDANT WAS GIVEN A 3-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE AND THE OTHER TWO WERE ACQUITTED. THE NEOFASCIST RALLY, WHICH HAD SPARKED THE DEMONSTRATION, WAS HELD WITHOUT INCIDENT ON A NEARBY SQUARE, WITH SEVERAL OF THE NEOFASCISTS WEARING MASKS AND DISGUISES, AND COMMITTING ACTS OF OCCASSIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST SUPPOSEDLY UNFRIENDLY SPECTATORS AND PASSERBYS (CONVENIENTLY OVERLOOKED BY THE POLICE). THE TRIAL JUDGE ACCEPTED THE POLICE VERSION OF THE INCIDENT WITHOUT QUESTION. THE TRIAL AND THE DISPOSITION OF THIS CASE SHOW THE JUDGE'S BLATANT POLITICAL BIAS AGAINST LEFTIST IDEOLOGIES IN COMPLETE ACCORD WITH THE SAME IDEOLOGICAL BIAS BY THE POLICE: IT ALSO SHOWED A JUDGE DISREGARDING HIS PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND MANDATE TO BECOME A TOOL OF POLICE REPRESSION. A BIBLIOGRAPHY IS APPENDED. (LGR)
Index Term(s): Collective violence; Criminal intent; Defiance of law; Freedom of assembly and association; Italy; Judicial discretion; Police discretion; Political influences; Political offenders; Public order offenses; Radical criminology; Riot control
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64574

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