Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 56,000 complaints have been filed with the Moscow courts for fines for violation of self-isolation. Journalists of the Vosthnye Stories and Kholod publications conducted a study of the work of the courts and talked to Muscovites who are now defending their rights. Here's what they learned.
The judges had to violate the procedures provided for by the laws in order to have time to consider tens of thousands of cases in a couple of months.
For example, Olga Shumova, judge of the Nagatinsky District Court, set a record for productivity - on September 21, she held 268 meetings on "coronavirus" fines. There was a period in the morning when she spent only 37.5 seconds on one case. Her case is not unique - we found other judges who tried more than two hundred "quarantine" cases a day.
“The workload of these judges is clearly incommensurate with human capabilities. High-quality work on the consideration of cases in such conditions is simply impossible. The procedural rules assume that each case must be considered individually. If a judge [considers cases] "wholesale", he, in fact, performs procedural actions in all these cases at the same time. This is a violation of the law, ”says lawyer and specialist in compensation claims Vladimir Khaldeev.
More than 13,000 complaints are still pending, and fines for leaving the house for those in quarantine are still being issued, which means that there will be even more complaints.
At the same time, "quarantine" fines contradict federal legislation - they must be abolished, and people have the right to demand compensation for damage (reimbursement of expenses and moral damage) for illegal decisions. But the Moscow mayor's office wants to save face and refuses to admit its mistakes.
“The judges are interested in having as few reversals of their decisions as possible. Bonuses and career depend on these statistics. The Supreme Court immediately explained that everything that we have in the regions invented, that is, including the mayor of Moscow, is right. And the judges found themselves in a delicate situation. They were given a signal from above that everything was legal. But they do not understand how this can be legal, they naturally see: many things do not fit into the federal Code of Administrative Offenses, ”explains court lawyer Leonid Polikarpov.
Courts refuse to cancel fines for violation of self-isolation in only 2% of cases. However, most of the fines are canceled on non-rehabilitating grounds - that is, so that a person does not have the right to claim compensation for damage due to illegal regulations, and “automatic” fines from the mayor's office do not look like a mistake or arbitrariness. Only in 15% of cases the courts recognize the fined person as not guilty.
The majority of citizens are offered to admit their guilt in exchange for the abolition of fines "in connection with the insignificance of the offense." It was the "insignificance of the violation" that turned out to be the most comfortable formulation for the courts - it deprives people of the opportunity to demand compensation and does not spoil the statistics for the Moscow departments.
This is not the only scheme by which the courts mask the mistakes of Moscow officials. More judicial tricks and detailed statistics can be found in the full version of the study.