Criminal trials in a small state that rarely has them are interesting to watch. The case of the pope's butler, Paolo Gabriele, who was accused of leaking confidential Vatican papers to the Italian press ended in a conviction for theft and an 18 month prison sentence in October. The case was a bench trial before a three judge panel. The Vatican state civil and penal courts are separate from the church's ecclesial courts as the Vatican state is a separate entity. The Vatican uses Italian criminal procedure and law for the most part. There are no jury trials, most prison sentences are served in Italy though these are rare, and there is no plea bargaining. Some cases are handled by the Italian courts. Today the pope issued a pardoned and commuted the prison sentence of Gabriele.
s/ Kurt Koehler
308 1/2 S. State St. Suite 36
Ann Arbor, MI 48198 (Washtenaw County)