Without lawyers the cases can be decided much faster!

This is not a joke. András Cser-Palkovics, vice-chairman of the parliamentary commission on constitutional issues, said that the government believes that limiting the presence of defense lawyers in the first 48 hours in certain "special" (kiemelt) cases is essential because "if there are no such limiting rules, the goal from the very first minute is slowing down the procedure." I.e. the goal of the accused and his lawyer.

That reminded me of a conversation I heard between a caller and György Bolgár a few weeks ago. The caller turned out to be a man who holds extreme political views. It was difficult to ascertain whether these views were coming from the right or from the left, but it really doesn't matter. Just like Cser-Palkovics, this fellow was very dissatisfied with the slowness of court procedures. And he recalled the speedy trial of Archbishop József Grősz of Kalocsa and 24 others. Grősz was arrested on May 18, 1951, and on June 28 he was found guilty and received a jail sentence of fifteen years. On June 31 the case went to the court of appeals which left the verdict unchanged. Of the 24 others 15 received death sentences in the same speedy manner. Our caller suggested that perhaps the present regime could learn something from the 1950s. The whole conversation was chilling.

Mr. Cser-Palkovics, I agree: defense lawyers are an awful bother. They slow things down. "The citizens expect speedy trials, especially in corruption cases involving members of city councils, mayors, members of parliament, and members of the central government." And what kinds of cases did Cser-Palkovics have in mind? Surprise, surprise, the example he offered was "Sukoró," where an Israeli-Hungarian citizen–as they never tire of mentioning–tried to set up a hotel-entertainment-casino complex that would have employed 3,000 people. It is this case on which Viktor Orbán, who doesn't forget or forgive, pins his hopes for jailing Ferenc Gyurcsány, prime minister at the time of the proposed real estate swap that would have made the deal possible.

The Sukoró case is very weak and although Gyula Budai, the Orbán government-appointed commissioner, has been trying for almost a year to find evidence of Gyurcsány's guilt, until now he has come up empty-handed. The case got so far as a request to parliament to suspend Ferenc Gyurcsány's parliamentary immunity, but even the Christian Democratic chairman of the committee deciding on immunity cases found the request so weak that he asked for further proof. Weeks have gone by and still no word from the prosecutors.

Just to give you an idea of how Fidesz lawmakers operate, here is the history of this particular piece of legislation. On Monday István Balsai, chairman of the committee on constitutional affairs, turned in the proposal in his own name. As it turned out, the proposal was drafted by the Central Office of the Investigative Prosecutor (Központi Nyomozó Főügyészség = KNyF). According to Gergely Bárándy (MSZP), "KNyF has such a reputation among practicing lawyers that among themselves they call the office AVH [the dreaded political police of the Rákosi period] because of their style and the way they conduct business." He ought to know. Both his father and his grandfather are practicing lawyers.

According to Balsai's proposal, in the so-called "special cases" the accused could be held for 120 hours instead of the current 72, which is already considered high by European standards. In the first 48 hours he couldn't meet with his lawyer. So, if he is being questioned in the first 48 hours he can have no lawyer present. The prosecutors in these "special" cases could also decide which court should hear the case. A most peculiar suggestion. The Helsinki Committee called it "absurd." While the accused must appear in the court in his district, the prosecutors can pick and choose their favorite judges. All that again in the name of expediency. For the fast handling of "special" cases. At least that is what they claim, but one must be suspicious about the prosecutor's real motives: to send the cases to judges that would rule in their favor.

Also maddening in these outlandish proposals of the Fidesz members of parliament is that they usually justify them by bringing up fictitious foreign examples. This was the case with the media law and it is the situation with this proposal as well. Cser-Palkovics announced that "there are similar rules in the Anglo-Saxon legal system as well as in Belgium and in France." I'm madly searching in my mind for similar rules that would prevent the accused from having a lawyer for 48 hours in the U.S. legal system and I can't come up with any. Yesterday András Giró-Szász, a so-called political scientist who is a fervent Fidesz supporter and apologist, in a round-table discussion on ATV (András Bánó's "A tét" [The stake]) kept insisting that in France there are restrictions similar to the proposed Hungarian law. The others present naturally didn't know what the situation was in France, but one of the participants commented that he doesn't care what the situation is in France, he wouldn't want to live in a country where such a piece of legislation is on the books. As it turned out, the French law Giró-Szász was talking about no longer exists.

As for the "general discussion" of the proposal. On Monday the Balsai proposal was released for "general discussion" by the whole parliament. On Tuesday the session started at 1 p.m. The agenda consisted of all sorts of fairly mundane points, including a discussion of whether the anniversary of the Battle of Nándorfehérvár (Belgrade) of 1456 should be a holiday. The speaker of the house (László Kövér, Fidesz) is in charge of the schedule. And, behold, this very important legislative proposal was dead last on the agenda. It was discussed at 6 a.m. the next morning! By that time there were only four people in the House because they had to be there: they were the designated keynote speakers (vezérszónokok). I consider these tricks absolutely childish. Do they really think that they can fool anyone? That people will not notice that they are planning to pave the way for political show trials? Because most lawyers are convinced that this is precisely what they are doing.

The Hungarian Bar Association is planning to turn to the Constitutional Court because they consider the proposed legislation unconstitutional even under the new Fidesz Constitution. The Helsinki Committee pointed out to members of parliament that Balsai's bill doesn't conform to the stipulations of the European Commission on Human Rights. The Helsinki Committee predicted that if this bill is passed the case will end up in the European Court of Human Rights. They called the whole idea illegal and absurd. People who still remember the Rákosi regime kept referring to similar changes in the legal system before the show trials began. The outcry in the legal profession can be called uniform.

And adding insult to injury, Viktor Orbán nominated István Balsai to be one of the new judges on the Constitutional Court.

 

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Paul
Guest

“Do they really think that they can fool anyone?”
I trust this was rhetorical – because clearly they do.
And they can.

Johnny Boy
Guest

I don’t know why they included this directive in the proposal that for 48 hours in special cases the accused may be deprived of the right to have legal defense during all phases of the proceedings.
This surely does not look good, but I’m sure this is for a strong reason. I very much miss however that this reason is not disclosed. I think it is in relation with how ‘high-ranking’ suspects can arrange things with their lawyers to destroy evidence or organize an exit through the back stairs.
But this should be communicated.
But what does not get mentioned if the author is malignant enough (as this obviously applies on this blog), that all other parts of the proposal are excellent and spot-on.

Paul
Guest

There’s only one “malignant” poster on here, JB, and it certainly isn’t Éva.
As for your “all the other parts… are excellent…” ‘logic’, I don’t think even you can really believe that.
If you went in for an operation and the initial consultation was excellent, the procedure was carried out speedilly, and the after care was top quality, but they cut your leg off by mistake, would you say “OK, so they cut my leg off, but what does not get mentioned is that all the other parts of the procedure were excellent”?
There’s a reason why Éva is concentrating on the police being given the freedom to beat the shit out of suspects for 48 hours without any witnesses. See if you can spot it.

GW
Guest

Johnny Boy wrote:
“I think it is in relation with how ‘high-ranking’ suspects can arrange things with their lawyers to destroy evidence or organize an exit through the back stairs”
…and not to mention the fact that 48 hours wuthout the guidance of a lawyer gives the police plenty of time to pound a confession out of you or fabricate evidence against you. Your blind trust in this government (“but I’m sure this is for a strong reason”) is going to do you a lot of good should you ever happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The erosion in rights in your country is real, and you’ve done your best to let it happen.

Member

@Johnny “suspects can arrange things with their lawyers to destroy evidence”
You are probably right. But this is very sad. Because this is basically the admission of the clueless dysfunctional law enforcement and legal system that cannot prevent it or cannot catch the accomplice (the lawyer) and prosecute, disbar and put him in a “pound-me-in-the-butt” prison for years.
PS: Would it be physical pain to you if you don’t assault Eva? Are you payed for it or something? For Pete’s sake you actually almost agreed with her …

Member

Maybe somebody with legal expertise can enlighten me. Isn’t this again one of the same ineffective bull crap laws the Fidesz is cranking out these days? These guys cannot do anything right. What if the accused just simply doesn’t say a word until he/she gets gets legal representation? 3 days or 5 days. Who cares. They cannot torture the accused, they cannot convict the accused. They cannot do anything. Again the same pattern: pissing of a whole lot people and gaining nothing.

Odin's lost eye
Guest
The procedures used in the Parliament to introduce this bill are very questionable. Our good hostess reports that only 4 (four) members were present in the chamber at the time. Did this make up a ‘quorum’? (Look it up Johnny Boy). Just 4 members making a quorum of the house or a committee! Ye Gods, this bill was automatically ‘talked out’. András Cser-Palkovics, vice-chairman of the parliamentary commission on constitutional issues and the reported remark ** “The citizens expect speedy trials, especially in corruption cases involving members of city councils, mayors, members of parliament, and members of the central government.” ** No Mr. Cser-Palkovics the citizen expects JUSTICE! Paul – “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.” Even His Mightiness Orban Viktor cannot do it. By dragging in other nations and saying that they have similar laws could be liable and slander. It would be fun to see Mr. András Giró-Szászas as the defendant in a French court for his remarks. Any nation of the ‘EU’ who passes such laws will be ‘skinned alive’… Read more »
Hoping
Guest
I live in Hungary and what make me nervous are 2 things… 1. The “where is this going” question. The proposal for the denial of access to a lawyer during questioning goes against every accepted and estabilshed notion of a fair and reliable criminal justice system. Why would they propose such a thing? It is oh so very clear that it is nothing to do efficiency. And the selection of judges for trials… again why? The mind obviously wanders into ideas of show trials, extraction and fabrication of evidence and in general the strategy of creating fear… a tool used most effectively in the 50s-80s. 2. The lack of response of the general public to huge attacks on basic structures of democracy. This is nothing to do with party allegiance, or who you do or don’t support. These are fundamental elements of a democratic country which are independent to party allegiance. The lack of response “on the street” (term used loosely) does not indicate support for Orban and his jokers. The lack of response indicates an indifference to the wish/ideal/objective of living in a democratic society. For a country that suffered under a dictatorship less than 25 years ago I… Read more »
Johnny Boy
Guest

Paul.
Éva is certainly and obviously malignant as she constantly gloats upon the government’s and Hungary’s failures (I know they are not the same, but she is glad for both!) She roots for Hungary’s opponents in EVERY SINGLE little conflict. She roots for Tarlós to be unable to get back BKV’s due money. She is lying about that and will never admit she was ‘wrong’, even despite constantly being faced with evidence.
What do you call that?
And you are malevolent most of the time too, because you can’t imagine I don’t post on Fidesz order and pay. You have no knowledge of most of the Hungarian society.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

JB: “Éva is certainly and obviously malignant”
It seems that you got so rattled by the demonstration of clowns that your English completely deteriorated. The message in which sentence appeared barely made sense.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Odin: “The procedures used in the Parliament to introduce this bill are very questionable. Our good hostess reports that only 4 (four) members were present in the chamber at the time.”
Yes, but this was just what they call “general discussion.” The vote will come on Monday when parliament convenes again. If Fidesz goes through with this monster of a law, don’t worry the whole crew will be there to vote.

Odin's lost eye
Guest

Professor Johnny Boy has a problem. At the moment his Lord and Master is busy with some of his other glove puppets and OV only has two hands.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“going to do you a lot of good should you ever happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
It’s probably the difference between my ideology and yours, but for me it’d take a little more ‘effort’ to be a suspect in a special criminal case than ‘to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.’
You may call the cases of Hagyó, Hunvald and your other friends like that but my morals are somewhat different.
‘Ah Johnny Boy what will you do when they come for you? It will also be a ‘special case’’
IF someone comes for me it will be MSZP.
It’s their practice, habitually and historically. Some knowledge of history could help you out in assessing that correctly.
But I expressed my concern about that 48 hours in custody. Not because the government would do any harm to the suspect but the police. Under Gyurcsány, they proved they gladly beat up suspects. They are happy to bend under a little political pressure or encouragement.

Lutra lutra
Guest

Have there been any cases of lawyers being found guilty of “destroying evidence” in Hungary, or is it another urban myth? Under the new laws will prosecutors be sacked without compensation (and pension rights) for failing to pass evidence on to defence lawyers in due time?
Seems like every playing field should be fixed so it slants 65% towards FIDESZ.

Johnny Boy
Guest

“Have there been any cases of lawyers being found guilty of “destroying evidence” in Hungary”
I see. No lawyer ever cooperates with the suspect in guilty affairs.
Are you living on Mars?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

JB: “No lawyer ever cooperates with the suspect in guilty affairs”
The meaning of this sentenceis a bit difficult to decipher but do you want the defense lawyer to cooperate with the prosecution? I call to your attention the movie, The Witness. There the accused is told by a relative: “Don’t be too surprised if your lawyer will be asking for a very harsh sentence.”

Odin's lost eye
Guest
Professor if the whole of the FIDESZ circus are there and this outrage gets voted in then the rumpus about the Media Law (which is not yet finished by a long chalk) will seem like a Vicarage tea party compared with what will come. I hope that when the chicken’s come home to roost those who voted the bill into law will share the fines, costs and compensation equally and not charge it to the nation. One thing worries me is that men like István Balsai(or his minions) must know about the ‘European Charter of Human Rights’. Hungary had to sign up to it to become a candidate for membership of the E.U. Is this perhaps a smokescreen to distract attention away from something even nastier? Johnny Boy All the conversations and correspondence between lawyers and their clients is ‘privileged’! No one not even the Judge may overhear it. The defence has the right to remain silent, even in court. The defendant has the right to choose to enter the witness box in his own defence (and be cross examined by his accusers). If either he elects to remain silent then the judge must not comment on this and must… Read more »
Jim
Guest

JB: “No lawyer ever cooperates with the suspect in guilty affairs.”
So the lawyer is also a judge? Excellent! We can do away with judges completely then.
Oh wait…that’s already afoot…

Odin's lost eye
Guest

Jim a defence lawyer HAS to beleive his client. His/Her job is to defend the client. To do this the defence must exploit every error made by the prosecution. The state/prosecution has almost unlimited recourses, the defence does not

Jim
Guest

Odin: That was my point exactly. Johnny has a fundamental misconception about the judicial process.

Paul
Guest

Johnny has a “fundamental misconception” about a great number of things!

Johnny Boy
Guest

“cooperates with the suspect”
How do you decipher it as cooperating with the prosecution?
I may have worded my sentence incorrectly but what I meant was that there are of course lawyers that cooperate with suspects in destroying evidence.
But with all that said, I oppose this idea of separating the suspects from their lawyers.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Paul: “Johnny has a “fundamental misconception” about a great number of things!”
At least I, unlike you, have some concept about things.

Paul
Guest

“At least I, unlike you, have some concept about things.”
Of all your weird sentences, that has to be the weirdest.
What exactly do you mean?
Do I not have any ‘concepts’ about things? Do you actually think before you write?
As Buzz Lightyear says to Woody in Toy Story – “You are a strange little man”.

Kave
Guest

“I may have worded my sentence incorrectly”
We normally respond to BS like this with “No sh*t, Sherlock!” in cases like these. Dear “an university qualified translator and interpreted.” Try learning English, FIDESZ Payroll Troll.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Kave I don’t remember seeing your name before, and I’m not sad about that at all.
Considering the speed I’m pooping here my posts at (about 2/minute), of course there are errors, but it takes a real moron like you to latch onto misspellings. But I invite you a duel in Hungarian any time, let’s see if your Hungarian is better than my English.
Until you prove that your foreign language skills are better than mine, you can just stfu.
I hope I was understandable for your intellect, I responded in your own style after all.

Member

Shot the F00k up flying F00k Johnny Boy keep your dirty vomit in your mouth until you arrive to your mother’s house, where you picked up your fine style to begin with. She will be proud to how you perfected your fines qualities from the pages of Magyar Hirlap and Magyar Nemzet.
Hi Kave, it is nice to see any new opinion.

Paul
Guest

SB, you really do live in a strange world.
For criticism to be justified, does the critic have to be as good at the subject as the person being criticised?
Would you have all ballet critics able to dance like Nureyev? All opera critics able to sing like Gheorghiu?
If your English (or Hungarian) is wrong, it is still wrong, even if my English (or Hungarian) is crap. The two are not related.
Basic logic.

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