quill.gif (3183 bytes) Ministre de la Justice v. Frérot, n° 237437, Conseil d'Etat, 12 mars 2003, AJDA 2003 Jurisprudence p. 1271

Facts: on May 24, 1996 a decision was issued to put M. Frérot in detention in a disciplinary cell on preventive grounds. This happened because during a visit that M. Frérot received where he was detained he refused to be searched and to obey to the jail supervisors and open his mouth. He stayed in a disciplinary cell during 8 days thereafter by the president of the disciplinary committee of the jail in Fresnes. M. Frérot asked the Administrative Court of Melun to cancel this decision, but his claim was rejected twice. He appealed before the Conseil d'Etat on the ground that the sanction taken against him (placement in a disciplinary jail during 8 days) violated article 3 and 8 of the European Convention.

Holding: the Conseil d'Etat rejected the applicant's claim

Reasoning: the decision of the director of a jail to place a detained person in a disciplinary cell for preventive reasons, pursuant to article D. 250-3 of the Penal Procedure Code, is not a disciplinary sanction but an internal measure that the Judge for Excess of Powers is not competent to judge. Searching measures on detained persons are regulated by article D. 275 of the Penal Procedural Code and not by the Bill of the Minister that sets the conditions of their implementation. Pursuant to article D. 250-3, the director of a jail has the power and right to put a detained person in a disciplinary cell on preventive grounds if the detainee's behavior constitutes a fault in the first or second degree and if that preventive measure is the only way to maintain order in the jail. The placement in disciplinary cells is applicable to detainees of 16 years or more only.   The length of the sanction is dependent on the detainee's behavior.   By refusing to be search during his visit, M. Frérot committed a disciplinary fault in the second degree. The sanction taken against him (disciplinary cell during 8 days) was consistent with the Penal Procedure Code and did not violate article 3 and 8 of the European Convention because it was necessary to maintain order in the jail.

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