Judicial chaos in Hungary

I simply can’t decide the source of the problem. Every time I hear officials, police chiefs, the chief prosecutor, the spokeswoman for the Supreme Court I can’t quite believe my ears. Everything they utter sounds so alien. Why are things so complicated? The explanations are often confusing and I am convinced that behind confused speech there is usually confused thought. Also, I suspect, there is quite a bit of disorganization. Important pieces of information simply don’t get to those who should know about them.


Here is a prime example. The question of egg throwing. Is it a crime or not? For days after the judge announced that the egg throwers at the Gay Parade were not guilty because they assumed that it was an accepted manifestation of free speech, the media was full of contradictory statements concerning the question. Journalists were confused. But they weren’t alone. It seems that even fellow judges believed that their colleague simply followed an existing ruling backed up by a Constitutional Court decision.


Now we learn from the chief prosecutor that the judge based his decision on earlier prosecutorial error. Here’s the timeline: (1) some time back in a similar case the prosecutor of Budapest’s District III made a mistake. He interpreted a decision of the Constitutional Court incorrectly. (2) It took some time for the chief prosecutor’s office to discover this “mistake.” After all, said the chief prosecutor, there are more than one hundred offices under the jurisdiction of the chief prosecutor’s office (Főügyészség). However, once they discovered the error they immediately rescinded the wrong ruling. That allegedly happened way before the presiding judge, on the basis of the incorrect decision, found the three or four egg throwers not guilty.


So let’s analyze this confusing series of events a bit. First comes a district prosecutor who doesn’t seem to be able to interpret the decisions of the Constitutional Court. Thus one person trained in the law can’t follow the legal explanation of others. That seems to me incompetence. The second question is why it took so long for the central office to discover what happened at one of its branches. Third, how it is possible that the information from the chief prosecutor’s office concerning the invalidation of the wrong decision didn’t reach the courts and the judges? In brief, there seems to have been both professional incompetence and serious problems with communication. The result was a court decision that shook the whole country. People came to believe that the law is lax, that chaos is unavoidable. After all, what kind of country, what kind of judicial system would think that egg throwing is a legitimate expression of free speech?


But one can go even further. How is it possible that it took a whole month to find out what happened? Why was it necessary for two SZDSZ politicians to write to the chief prosecutor and demand an explanation? Why didn’t the chief prosecutor, immediately after the wrong decision, send his spokesman out and explain what happened? I have the sneaking suspicion that he knew nothing from nothing until he got the letter of the SZDSZ politicians and was forced to look into the whole decision-making process. It didn’t seem to bother him that half the country was outraged at the judge’s decision. Admittedly, the chief prosecutor is new and I’m sure that he inherited a mess, but the way he handled this particular case is not impressive. He seems a bit stodgy and not exactly on the ball.

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Odin's lost eye
Guest
@Prof Balogh *** “After all, what kind of country, what kind of judicial system would think that egg throwing is a legitimate expression of free speech?” The answer is a country, which has suffered 50 years of the suppression of the “right of free speech”. There are two problems here. The first is the reluctance of judges to do anything, which might be construed as a return to the conditions of the Communist era. The second is the lack of imagination on the part of the police/prosecution. The charges for egg throwers could be : – 1. Assault if the egg hit someone. a. If you hit someone with a missile be it an egg, brickbat or a length of railway line that would be just as much of an assault as hitting him or her with a club (Night Stick), your fist or a grand piano. b. If you hit them with an egg and spoil their clothing that is ‘criminal damage’. 2. If the egg missed and broke in the street then you are in breech of the anti litter laws. a. If the egg contained salmonella or some other ‘Oh-Nasty’ then perhaps there would be all sorts… Read more »
Sandor
Guest
Eva, your problem is (did you know that you have a problem?) that you are just all too naïve, or failing that, you are just applying too much good intentions to the bloody Hungarian rot. Let’s go back, if not to Adam and Eve, at least to the restarting of the Pazmany Peter University, somwhere in the hills of Buda. This university was established to disseminate the “correct” christian values to the intelligentsia of the future while insulating them from all the destructive ideas of the age, such as the enlightenment, liberalism, and cosmopolitanism. (No less of a notabilitas is teaching there than Lovas Istvan for example.) Now, the main occupation of this parody of a university is the mass-production of lawyers. But all those ignoramuses (or is that ignorami?) with legal diplomas, are just not suitable to attempt the bar exam, besides a nice government job is always more secure, so, like locusts they descend on the ministries and the justice system and in short order they become prosecutors. Thanks to the Fides-era attorney general, Peter Polt, these substandard “legalistas” are the majority work force in the prosecutorial offices today. And it is not strictly true only that, even… Read more »
Sandor
Guest
It seems my contribution is lost, so I add it again. If it should turn up later then I apologise for the double entendre. Eva, your problem is (did you know that you have a problem?) that you are just all too naïve, or failing that, you are just applying too much good intentions to the bloody Hungarian rot. Let’s go back, if not to Adam and Eve, at least to the restarting of the Pazmany Peter University, somwhere in the hills of Buda. This university was established to disseminate the “correct” christian values to the intelligentsia of the future while insulating them from all the destructive ideas of the age, such as the enlightenment, liberalism, and cosmopolitanism. (No less of a notabilitas is teaching there than Lovas Istvan for example.) Now, the main occupation of this parody of a university is the mass-production of lawyers. But all those ignoramuses (or is that ignorami?) with legal diplomas, are just not suitable to attempt the bar exam, besides a nice government job is always more secure, so, like locusts they descend on the ministries and the justice system and in short order they become prosecutors. Thanks to the Fides-era attorney general,… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Sandor: “But I’d go a bit further asking you: what kind of goddam judge is that who takes the prosecutor’s point of view, and with it also his interpretation?”
Don’t think that I didn’t ponder over that. I did. But I have to go even further. What on earth does a prosecutorial opinion have anything to do with the judges’ interpretation of the law? In fact, I was so troubled by this that I decided to write to a friend of mine who is a legal expert and ask him. I simply don’t know even about the structure of the Hungarian judicial system to make sense of this. In Canada or the United States a district prosecutor’s opinion has nothing to do with anything. I wanted to write to him today but I forgot. He is a very diligent correspondent and I’m sure he will write back immediately.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Sandor: “Let’s go back, if not to Adam and Eve, at least to the restarting of the Pazmany Peter University, somwhere in the hills of Buda. This university was established to disseminate the “correct” christian values to the intelligentsia of the future while insulating them from all the destructive ideas of the age, such as the enlightenment, liberalism, and cosmopolitanism. (No less of a notabilitas is teaching there than Lovas Istvan for example.) Now, the main occupation of this parody of a university is the mass-production of lawyers.”
Don’t even mention that so called university or the Hungarian Catholic Church. Unbelievable what’s going on there.

Melissa Hahn
Guest

Dear Ms. Eva S. Balogh,
I would like to send you an email inviting you to join our Talk Blog community, but I do not see an email listed for you. If you will reply to my email, I’d like to send you our letter and information. I hope to hear from you soon!
Melissa Hahn

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