Ho exactly did the magistrate in Paris in 1911 order Picasso to give testimony?


With regard to the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911, how exactly did the magistrate in Paris in 1911 order Picasso to give testimony? He wasn’t arrested, (was he arraigned?). How did the process of giving testimony work and is it still the same today?

I look forward to your feedback.

Threat of imprisonment due to contempt of court? This is back when France still had Devil’s Island, not saying they would send him there but that the French were known to be A-holes.

Was he giving testimony in a trial for the theft of the Mona Lisa? Or was he there because he and his acquaintance, Apollinaire, were charged with possession of other stolen art from the Louvre? Story from this site: When Picasso Went on Trial for Stealing the Mona Lisa | Artsy

I’ve no doubt the authorities at the time thought Picasso and the rest of the ‘Wild men of art’ had something to do with the theft, but the linked article made it sound like they were only charged with trafficking in other Louvre stolen property. (The statues mentioned in the article.)

As to criminal procedure in question. You’ve got me: I don’t know how Continental civil law legal systems compel witness testimony, what the charging instruments are, etc…

In French criminal procedure at the time, there was the office of juge d’instruction or “investigating magistrate”, who had the power to compel testimony from potential witnesses to a crime. It was similar to being summoned to testify in front of a grand jury in English/American law, to determine if there was probable cause to issue a charge. The difference is that a grand jury was in the prosecutor’s supersvision (executive branch) while the juge d’instruction was part of the judiciary.

France still has examining magistrates, but they can order arrests on their own anymore. Another judge has to authorize it.

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But you don’t need to be arrested, to be called to give witness; they’re two completely different things. Heck, in a crime, two of the parties who usually receive the order to witness before the judge are the victim(s) and the LEOs who handled the investigation: it would be quite unusual for them to be under arrest at the time and if it happens, the arrest is usually for something else. Anybody can be called to act as a witness and you’re supposed to, you know, actually go and do it. Penalties faced if you don’t do it will depend on the cause under investigation or trial, and are set within the appropriate laws.

For example, failing to appear in a trial in which you’re being sued automatically fails against you, but this is a principle which we’ve kept from Roman Law (in this respect, French and Spanish law work the same way). Failing to provide testimony in a criminal case can lead to finding yourself fined for contempt, or indicted… but the specifics will vary on the situation.

French prosecutors are part of the judiciary.

Thank you alphaboi867. Are you saying that in 1911, the examining magistrate did have the sole power to arrest?

No, the police would normally have been the people doing arrests. “On their own” doesn’t mean that “only they can do it”, it means “they can do it without calling someone else to assist”: I can stand on my own, but if I had a broken hip I wouldn’t be able to.

Sorry Nava, I , meant to write “order an arrest”. Did the magistrate have the sole power to order an arrest in 1911?

No. That system wouldn’t make sense: cops always have to be able to arrest someone without an order from on high. Needing to ask for permission beforehand would be a horror show nowadays (with cellphones and so forth); in 1911, it could have meant the whole night before someone caught in flagrante got officially arrested.

I assume you meant “cannot order”?