Denunciation and the Limits of Ralliement: Mentalité Baroque in the New Regime
The Code permitted the practice of denunciation, but its framers presumed they had sufficiently circumscribed the procedures to tame the excesses it had reached during the 1790s in France. In 1810, Coffinhal, the member of the Cour de Cassation sent to investigate the judicial work of the Roman Consultà, was not impressed by the cavalier way Dal Pozzo handled denunciations. He felt Dal Pozzo simply did not know the requirements of the Code and spelt out the correct procedure: both official and private denunciations had to be dealt with by the public prosecutors. It was an affair only for the courts.1 There are three revealing aspects to the censorious tone of Coffinhal’s report. By implication - and on other occasions, more explicitly — Coffinhal felt that even the supposedly ‘acculturated’ Piedmontese magistrates had not really grasped this aspect of French legal procedure, but were still trapped in a very different world, where the weak governments of the old order had to seek information in any way, and from any source, that came to hand. Second, it was soon clear to the French in Rome, as it had been to their predecessors in all the départements réunis, that Coffinhal had pinpointed a widespread problem.
KeywordsPolitical Culture Private Sphere Public Prosecutor Criminal Court Local Elite
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