Two lessons emerged from my two-week stint of French jury service. The first is that if you want to commit a murder in France, make it as savage as possible: you will have a good chance of getting off more lightly. Keep stabbing until the corpse is in shreds, and a forensic psychiatrist will almost inevitably pronounce the balance of your mind to have been disturbed, and the jury will have to take this into account. The second lesson is that if you are intending to rob someone at gun-point, or using some other instrument of persuasion, do not, under any circumstances, demand anything or try to extract any information. The maximum sentence for extortion with violence is ten years longer than for robbery with violence.
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