- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
Suspect’s treatment stuns French
Sex charges against former IMF chief show differences of U.S. justice system
PARIS — The trans-Atlantic gap separating the U.S. and French justice systems and moral codes is as wide as the ocean itself - appalling a nation witnessing the unraveling fortunes of a favorite son, jailed former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Some in the United States, meanwhile, have expressed surprise that French media have identified the alleged victim by name - nearly unthinkable in U.S. journalistic circles, which avoid publishing a victim’s name in suspected sex crimes.
The photos of a potential French president - handcuffed, stooped, unshaven, tieless and whisked away to court before photographers - knocked the breath out of the French public.
The initial response was a collective “that would not happen here.”
Not in a country whose laws protect even a petty thief from flashing cameras in a public space and televised court hearings like the one broadcast last Monday from Manhattan Criminal Court. Not in a country whose traditions have long shielded the philandering of the powerful, at the risk of failing to uncover travesties of the law.
So different are French laws and mores, it is conceivable that Mr. Strauss-Kahn - guilty or not - failed to grasp the speed by which American justice runs its course, the weight given to alleged sex offenses and the egalitarian premise on which the U.S. judicial system is based until he sat in the infamous Rikers Island prison.
Despite the weight of the charges, it is likely, experts say, that had the alleged hotel scene taken place in Paris, Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s dignity would have remained intact.
In France, unlike the U.S., the judicial process takes place largely behind closed doors, and the political powers-that-be hold sway over prosecutors. It is also a country where for centuries, infidelities were a royal ritual and bedroom secrets known to all were never more than court chatter.
That unwritten bedroom code of silence is still largely respected, although the practice is bit by bit giving way to a demand for more public accountability.
“The French accept many more moral transgressions of their president, of their political class, of their elite. There is something … a bit aristocratic” in French moral and legal culture, said Antoine Garapon, a magistrate and author of the book “To Judge in America and in France.”
“The American culture is more democratic. You can head the IMF and be a citizen like others,” he told the Associated Press.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski, another Frenchman, gained the status in France of a hounded hero when he was pursued by U.S. justice authorities around the world for jumping bail decades ago on a sex-crimes charge.
Like Polanski, Mr. Strauss-Kahn has garnered more than a measure of sympathy in France, not just from fellow Socialists who counted on him to challenge conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year’s election, but as an alleged victim humiliated by the U.S. justice system.
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Harry Reid using tax dollars to fight Koch brothers, La. GOP chair charges
- Washington Redskins' 2014 schedule opens with Texans
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014