Tue, Mar 27, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Jury association urges support for jury system

‘PEOPLE’S WISDOM’:The citizen judge system is ‘fake reform,’ an advocate said, adding that in simulated court sessions the judge berated citizen judges

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Taiwan Jury Association and other groups advocating judicial reform yesterday wave banners outside the Judicial Yuan building in Taipei to promote a planned march for judicial reform on May 5.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

Members of the Taiwan Jury Association, along with members of judicial reform advocacy groups, yesterday gathered in front of the Judicial Yuan building, urging the public to join a march on May 5 to demand the implementation of the jury system in Taiwan.

The National Congress on Judicial Reform between November 2016 and August last year gathered experts to discuss whether a jury system or lay assessor system would be more suitable as a civic participation system for Taiwan, but they did not reach a consensus.

The government later decided to establish a citizen judge system and proposed a draft act in November last year.

An alliance promoting the jury system, led by the association and including the Judicial Reform Foundation, the Taiwan Judicial Reform Care Association and the Anti-Judicial Abuse Action Alliance, urged the government to implement a jury system and to believe in the public’s collective wisdom.

Taiwan Jury Association chairman Chang Ching (張靜), an attorney and former National Conference on Judicial Reform committee member, said the votes in favor of a jury system and a lay assessor system were tied in the conference, so the association is opposed to the government’s insistence on adopting a citizen judge system in disregard of other opinions.

“The jury system is the mainstream judicial trial system and 52 nations have embraced it,” association founder and an attorney Jerry Cheng (鄭文龍) said. “We should use people’s wisdom to conduct fair trials.”

Calling the Judicial Yuan the “private law yuan,” Cheng said the Judicial Yuan serves the exclusive rights of court judges and not those of the public.

The citizen judge system is “fake judicial reform,” because it requires three court judges and six citizen judges, which is likely to result in the court judges still leading the decisions, Cheng added.

In simulated court sessions in preparation for the citizen judge system, there have even been cases in which the court judge scolded the citizen judges, he said.

“Only with a jury system with the collective wisdom of 12 jury members from all walks of life can we prevent judges from being bribed,” Cheng said, adding that he believes a jury system can help prevent miscarriages of justice.

Hu Shih-ho (胡世和), uncle of Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘), an army corporal who died of abuse while serving in the military in 2013, prompting tens of thousands of people to attend a protest demanding legal reform, said the case was moved from military court to a civilian court due to public pressure, but the judge did not sentence the defendants or find the witness guilty of perjury.

People should not only be allowed to express themselves in court, but should have the right to vote as a way to balance the exclusive rights of judges, he said.

This story has been viewed 2448 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top