Czech Govt to take up bill to establish central misdemeanor registry
The Czech state could potentially establish a central registry for some misdemeanors so that recidivist perpetrators of those offenses can be punished more severely. That is the presumption of a draft amendment to the law on misdemeanors and other norms which the Czech Government is scheduled to review tomorrow.
The cabinet, led by Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas (Civic Democrats - ODS), will meet two days after he has resigned over a scandal concerning Jana Nagyová, a staffer of his. Czech President Miloš Zeman accepted the PM's resignation and then entrusted him and his cabinet with performing their functions until a new government is named. Cabinet ministers are scheduled to meet today after the session of the lower house closes.
According to the bill, the state would maintain a registry of misdemeanors such as those against public order, against civil coexistence, and against property. The Czech Interior Ministry and Czech Justice Ministry, which are jointly submitting the bill, have sent it to the Government with several unresolved questions. The Office for Personal Data Protection (Úřad pro ochranu osobních údajů) is the main entity objecting to some parts of the text.
Municipal and regional authorities, police, state prosecutors, prisons, courts, the Justice Ministry, and the Office of the President of the Republic would all be able to request data from the new registry. The cost to set it up has been estimated by the ministries at CZK 31 million, with annual operations costs estimated at CZK 8.1 million.
The existing Sentencing Registry would maintain the new electronic misdemeanor registry. "If the proposed form of the misdemeanor registry proves workable, it will be possible to gradually expand it to include other kinds of misdemeanors," the bill's submitters state in their explanatory report.
Governing politicians have been investigating the possibilities of a misdemeanor registry over the past few years, particularly in response to the rise in tensions between majority-society members and Romani people in North Bohemia. Nečas previously advocated the creation of the registry as well.
No such central registry currently exists, with the exception of certain categories of misdemeanors such as the traffic offenses recorded in the central registry of drivers. According to the ministries, administrative or judicial bodies can only access information as to whether someone has previously committed a misdemeanor "basically at random".
According to the authors of the bill, it primarily concerns data essential to making decisions as to what kind of sanctions and what length of sentencing should be used to punish perpetrators. However, such information could also be included for decision-making when someone requests a weapons permit.
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