NYC Legal System Criticized After DSK Case Weakens

By Chris Glorioso
|  Saturday, Jul 2, 2011  |  Updated 5:57 PM EDT
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Some call the DSK case another high-profile setback for Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance.

Some call the DSK case another high-profile setback for Manhattan district attorney Cy Vance.

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NYC Legal System Criticized After DSK Case Weakens

Chris Glorioso reports.

DSK Leaves Apartment a Free Man

For the first time since his arraignment last month, Dominque Strauss-Kahn left his townhouse tonight free of security and other court-mandated restrictions. The former head of the IMF was released from house arrest today amid questions about the strength of the prosecution's case.
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The deteriorating case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn captivated French media Friday with Parisian television pundits predicting the French diplomat's political future and bashing New York City's criminal justice system. 

In Brooklyn's Cobble Hill neighborhood, where French bistros dot Smith Street and Court Street, there was plenty of criticism too. 

Enjoying dinner at the bustling French restaurant Bar Tabac, David Murelli said the case against Strauss-Kahn illustrates how unsavory it is for police to parade a handcuffed suspect in front of press photographers before he or she is formally charged, a custom known as the "perp walk."

"We certainly jump to a lot of conclusions about people before we know what really happened," he said.

Foreign critics also say the U.S. justice process is too political. American judges are often elected by popular vote, whereas most French judges earn their positions by scoring well on demanding law exams. 

Michael Wildes, a former federal prosecutor, suggested the case against Strauss-Kahn is an opportunity to re-examine the architecture of the American criminal court system.

"The fact that we have elected judges [and] the fact that we have high profile cases that may have political dialogue or consequences is a very significant problem," he said.

Other analysts say the case against Strauss-Kahn highlights exactly what is right about the American legal system. 

John Gapper, a columnist for the Financial Times, says the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office have treated the former IMF chief fairly, offering no favoritism due to his wealth and power.

"I think he was given due process.  He was arrested.  He was charged.  It then turned out maybe the evidence wasn’t as strong as prosecutors thought, and when they found that out they went to court and admitted that openly,” he said.
 

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