Lay judge lays down the law/Schöffe wehrt sich

Germany involves laypersons in the criminal justice system in the form of Schöffen. A Schöffe – lay judge, lay assessor – is attached to a particular panel for two years and sits a couple of times a month, as far as I recall. The most serious cases are tried by a panel of three professional judges and two lay judges, and four of them have to agree. That’s only one example of the kinds of panels with lay judges. A new generation of Schöffen are just starting this January.

One of them, Bernd Ramm (64), put an ad in the Berliner Morgenpost on Tuesday announcing he is going to do what he can to ensure punishment and deterrence take precedence over resocialization:

bq. “Die lasche Handhabung der Justizbehörden erweckt bei vielen Menschen den Anschein, als seien die Kriminellen und nicht die Geschädigten die Opfer der Gesellschaft”, sagte Ramm. Als Schöffe wolle er künftig mitwirken, daß bei schweren Verbrechen die Abschreckung und nicht die Resozialisierung in den Blickpunkt der Richter gelange. Als Beispiel nennt der Akademische Direktor an der Berliner Charité in seiner Anzeige die Verurteilung eines Täters zu 18 Monaten Bewährung, nachdem er ein 13 jähriges Mädchen vergewaltigt hatte.

It’s difficult to discuss these things without concrete examples. I don’t know the circumstances of the rape case in question. – We’ll also have to see if Schramm is now allowed to sit. Even if he does sit (February 4th is the first possible date, apparently), lawyers would challenge the court for bias.

From Die Welt via Handakte WebLAWg.

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