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Prison overcrowding, night searches…: facing lawyers, Eric Dupond-Moretti defends his record and his reforms


In sports, this is called “playing at home”. Friday, June 9, Eric Dupond-Moretti spoke before the general assembly of the National Bar Council (CNB), an institution representing French lawyers. In “this unprecedented exercise”, according to the expression of the president of the CNB, Jérôme Gavaudan, the Keeper of the Seals, a former criminal lawyer, was first to make a speech and then answer questions from the room. He finally preferred to free himself from his notes to plead his case and that of his action at the Chancellery for three years.

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Mr. Dupond-Moretti was not on hostile ground. “The Minister has not forgotten the lawyer he was and he has not forgotten the judiciary”thus launched the president of the CNB in ​​his introductory remarks, welcoming ” the support [du garde des sceaux] to the profession and its interest in the judicial institution”.

However, the exercise was all the same (a little) perilous: several provisions of the two texts under discussion in Parliament – ​​orientation and programming bill for justice, draft organic law on the status of the judiciary – are criticized by the former brothers and sisters of Mr. Dupond-Moretti.

“The burial of the rights of the defense”

Aware of these possible points of friction, he addressed some of them during his speech. Recalling, as often, its budget report – “justice has never been so well endowed as in recent times when the “whatever the cost” is over” – he justified several of his proposals which are debated among lawyers. First, on the remote activation of mobile phones provided for in the justice orientation bill. A measure strongly criticized by the Paris Bar Association.

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A new article must, in fact, be thus created in the code of criminal procedure, targeting certain offences. When the necessities of the investigation require it, the judge of freedoms and detention (at the request of the prosecutor) or the investigating judge may decide to switch on remotely, without the consent of the defendant, any device can locate it. Initially, the device was intended for misdemeanors and crimes punishable by at least five years in prison. A criterion too broad that the senators increased to ten years. “Geolocation already exists, it is the installation of beacons”, recalled the minister. According to him, this pose involves a risk for the police officers responsible for carrying it out, since remote activation is safer.

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