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ISSN 2611-8858


Drug offences

The Unbearable Softness. Decriminalization of Soft-Drug Offenses Between Law in the Book and Law in Action

The article moves from Italian drug-policy’s failures and goes on to analyze how the Italian legal system endeavors to minimize soft-drug offenses relevance. A two-faced picture thus emerges: on the one side, the legislator proves incapable of reforming the current, wasteful drug-policy; on the other, some judges tend to ‘practically decriminalize’ low-danger offenses. The author maintains that this case-law approach, although somehow alleviating, does neither match the goal of legal certainty, nor prove effective in fighting mass drug-dealing.

Is the Minimum Limit on the Penalty for Dealing in Hard Drugs Unconstitutional? Three Questions Pending Before the Constitutional Court

Two judges of first instance and the Supreme Court raised three questions of constitutionality, asserting that the minimum limit to the penalty provided for under Article 73(1) of Presidential Decree 309/1990, in the wording resulting from judgment no. 32/2014 of the Constitutional Court, is unconstitutional. The paper concerns these three questions of constitutionality and addresses the controversial issue of the constitutional review of a criminal provision that introduces more favourable treatment for the convict as well as judicial review of the determination of the penalty. With reference to the latter issue, the author proposes a form of judicial review that is not based on the identification of the traditional requirement of a tertium comparationis, but rather inspired by the method established by the Constitutional Court in judgment no. 236/2016. The current system of penalties for drug-related crimes provides for a difference of four years between the maximum and minimum terms of imprisonment provided for under respectively Article 73(5) and Article 73(1) in relation to conducts that may be classified along a continuous spectrum; therefore the system of penalties appears to be unreasonable, unequal and disproportionate. The maximum limit of four years’ imprisonment set by article 73(5) is not a tertium comparationis but is the only legal base that guarantees a review by the Court involving an univocal inference in order to render Article 73(1) of Presidential Decree 309/1990 constitutional.

The “Massive Quantity” of Drugs: the “Never-Ending Story” of an Aggravating Circumstamce at the Crossroads Between Law in Books and Law in Action

Having analysed several questions concerning the aggravating circumstance of “a massive quantity” of drugs, this article focuses on the long interpretative path followed by the courts in order to resolve the constitutional doubts raised by the rules laid down by Article 80 of Law no. 309/1990 and to define its scope. The article then considers the further questions raised by these judgements, without neglecting the most recent rulings of the Court of Cassation required by the recent change in the regulatory framework applicable to drugs.

L’illegittimità costituzionale della legge c.d. “Fini-Giovanardi”: gli orizzonti attuali della democrazia penale

Gli Autori, in un commento ‘a prima lettura’ della sentenza della Corte costituzionale n. 32 del 2014, che ha dichiarato l’illegittimità costituzionale di talune importanti disposizioni della legge cd. “Fini Giovanardi”, ne indagano gli effetti immediati – consistenti nella ‘caducazione’ della fonte impugnata, inclusi gli effetti abrogativi di quest’ultima, e nella conseguente reviviscenza della disciplina previgente – e ne ripercorrono le implicazioni dal punto di vista intertemporale. L’analisi mette in luce, altresì, l’importanza della citata pronuncia nella sistematica della giurisprudenza costituzionale, evidenziandone in particolare la rilevanza sul versante della giustiziabilità del principio della riserva di legge in materia penale, anche alla luce degli obblighi di penalizzazione ‘eurounitari’.