Standing Up for the Accused


Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi speaks to supporters in Milan

For all his "get tough on crime'' talk, Silvio Berlusconi's overhaul of Italy's justice system is remarkably sensitive to defendants' rights. The billionaire Prime Minister has pushed through new laws that ease penalties on fraud cases and require judges to toss out evidence gathered abroad if it has been mishandled along the way. This week, the lower house of Parliament will begin debate on a Berlusconi-backed "change of venue" bill that would give the accused wide latitude to request moving a trial to a new jurisdiction if he suspects judges are biased.

Is Berlusconi a closet bleeding heart...

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