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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74622 Find in a Library
Title: Penal Res Judicata and Victim Fault, Part 3
Journal: Revue Internationale de Criminologie et de Police Technique  Volume:33  Issue:3  Dated:(July-September 1980)  Pages:251-262
Author(s): M C Desdevises
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: Switzerland
Annotation: The role of the authority principle of prior criminal court decisions in civil proceedings for matters of victim provocation is discussed in this third part of a three-part series.
Abstract: While decisions of criminal courts are generally considered binding on subsequent decisions of civil courts to preserve unity of civil and criminal responsibility, application of the principle is not uniform. In particular, indemnification demanded by a victim may not appear justified to a civil court if the civil court judge is privy to information regarding victim responsibility which was not available to the criminal court judge. In many cases, the prior judgment of the criminal court regarding the perpetrator's responsibility has little effect on the discretionary powers of the civil judge in determining damages. A decision of the perpetrator's guilt in a criminal court is no obstacle to a division of responsibility between offender and victim by a civil court. If an offender's criminal responsibility is denied in the criminal court, objective responsibility may still be found in civil court in connection with the victim's provocation. However, if the criminal court requires that responsibility be divided between offender and victim, the civil judge cannot deny the victim's fault in determining damage, even if the victim's degree of responsibility is reduced in the criminal court. The system is somewhat justified according to several principles. First, it is not really the role of the criminal judge to assess the victim's responsibility. Second, the absolute authority of the penal judge must be recognized. Finally, contradictions between civil and criminal responsibility must be avoided. Yet difficulties arise from the paradoxes of existing practice: e.g., the division of responsibility between victim and offender in civil court is independent of prior criminal decisions in some cases and is a function of such decisions in others. While the legal practices do not explicitly question the fundamental relationship between the authority of criminal and civil courts, affirmation of the independence of criminal and civil responsibility threatens the very principle of authority of criminal over civil decisions. Notes are supplied. For the first two parts of this article, see NCJ 70696 and NCJ 74607.
Index Term(s): Civil liability; Criminal responsibility; France; Judicial decisions; Restitution; Victim compensation
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