10 February, 2011

Last week USA Federal Attorney Carter Stuart visited Georgia. According to the US legislation, Federal i.e. State Attorney is appointed by the President of the United States of America and a lot depends on him – from the investigation of primary causes to the coordinated work of police and other law-enforcing departments.
Q. – It’s your first visit to Georgia. What is your impression?
C.S. - I am in raptures over hospitality and cuisine. To say the truth, I have

never seen such a variety of dishes simultaneously served at the table. My coming here was also especially conditioned and interesting due to the fact that I come from the State of Georgia and was always interested to see the country with the same name.
Q. – Our state structure differs from that of the United States. What does it mean to be a Federal Attorney?
C.S. – It means that I am the chief law-enforcer functionary of my State. We represent Federal authority in civil affairs as well. But I can say that 80% of my official responsibility rests with exercising justice in criminal cases. 60 prosecutors and 50 other executives who are posted in Columbia, Dayton and Cincinnati are subordinated to me. Direct responsibility of my office is to investigate and institute criminal prosecution of gravest crimes. For instance, drug offences are being investigated on the state level as well but we interfere when it’s extremely large quantities. The same can be said about the organized crime, fraud, trafficking. We are rather busy – in order to imagine the scale of our work suffice it to say that the area under my subordination is almost that of Georgia – with the population of 4.5 million people.
Q. – We know that you are assisting the Georgian side to improve the criminal law. Do you think that extreme toughening of punishment is justified for preventing the crime? Here, once, it was call ‘zero tolerance’.
C.S. – The group working on criminal code reform will soon pay us a visit in America. Our cooperation deals with jurors’ institution as well. For years this system has been successfully functioning in America and I hope it will be justified for Georgia as well. Certainly, we won’t tell them what and how to change in Georgian Code; we’ll simply assist them to get familiarized with the American experience, meet the opponents of the system as well and listen to their arguments. I think after analyzing everything Georgian lawyers will make right decisions. As for the excessively strict administration, a stringent legislation may sometimes curb concrete direction of crime but I still consider that human beings should always be given a chance, not everything can be solved and judged with a ‘heavy hand’.
Q. – There are opponents of this reform in Georgia – they consider that the verdict of laymen will mostly be based on emotions...
C.S. – In the United States before consideration of a case a professional lawyer briefs the jury about the details. He warns the jury that when making a decision that must rely only upon the facts but of course there is threat in America too that the verdict can be emotional.  Besides, there are several stages of picking up the jury members during which the emphasis is made exactly on this. Both sides, prosecutor as well as lawyer, present to the jury the nuances, which will be brought for discussion to the court. They are asked if they can be objective and unbiased when discussing such a case. As a rule, when people understand that they will have to decide others’ fate, they give an honest answer and if they are not sure of themselves, they reject their candidacy; but in case of accepting it, they make objective decision. This is how the system works in America and I hope it will be the same in Georgia as well.

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