Police officers in Paris, France
Police officers in Paris, France iStock

An 82-year old French judge who has been on the bench for over 25 years resigned on Monday in protest of the decision earlier in the month by France’s highest court that the murderer of Sarah Halimi would not have to stand trial.

Sarah Halimi, a 65-year old Jewish woman, was murdered by 31-year old Kobili Traore who claimed as his defense that marijuana usage had caused him to become temporary insane on the night of the murder.

In an interview in Le Figaro entitled “To protest against the judgment of Kobili Traore, I returned my judge’s robe!” Judge Jack Broda, who was a judge at the commercial court of Nancy, explained why he resigned in protest of the high court’s ruling.

Broda, who is Jewish, told the French newspaper that his first reaction as a judge was to say to himself, “I’m dreaming!”

“To protest, I decided to resign from my post. My resignation was accepted and… regretted,” he said.

He went on to explain that using legal experts, in this case to judge whether someone’s intoxication with drugs could amount to temporary insanity, is in itself problematic because the conclusion is one person’s opinion.

“I will say that there is the law and the spirit of the law. There is no automatic response to a legal problem through an expertise, because the expert expresses an opinion which must be corroborated by all the documents in the file.”

He said that he “strongly hopes for a new trial.”

“It would be useful to institute a new university degree in judicial ethics comparable to that of medicine,” said Broda, who was a pharmacist before becoming a judge.

He added that as a Jew he was troubled by the court’s decision. “What is this justice that takes up the cause of what appears to be an anti-Semitic assassination? Yet I want to continue to believe in the institution I have served for over 25 years.”

Broda hopes that the “discernment” rule that allowed Traore to plead temporary insanity by way of drugs will be amended.

“If the person wanted to put himself in this position of delirium: if he drinks, takes drugs, he therefore seeks a state which should allow him to break the law,” said Broda. “In this case clearly Kobili Traoré is criminally responsible according to the Latin axiom: Nemo auditur propriam turpitudinem allegans (‘No one is admissible to invoke his own turpitude’).”