Attorney Jerry Cheng (鄭文龍) and Taiwan Jury Association chairman Chang Ching (張靜) yesterday urged the public to join them at a rally today calling for judicial reform.
Cheng said he was riled by Judicial Yuan President Hsu Zhong-li (許宗力) during their meeting on Thursday, when Hsu rejected calls by a number of civic groups and reform-minded organizations to implement a jury system in criminal trials.
“The Judicial Yuan led by Hsu has continued to be rigid and stubborn, and has an irresponsible attitude about the public,” Cheng said. “It is going against public opinion by pushing for a ‘citizen judges’ system and turning down the jury system.”
“We oppose this, because if citizen judges are introduced, it would be more difficult for people to fight against unfair and biased rulings,” he said. “If people do not come out to air their views at this time, they might not have anybody who will stand up to support them in the future.”
Cheng and other judicial reform advocates called on the public to join today’s rally in support of a jury system, which is to begin at Taipei’s Liberty Square at 2pm before marching to Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building.
At Thursday’s meeting, Cheng and other judicial reform advocates told Hsu that the jury system has stood the test of hundreds of years of history and has been in place in 52 countries, saying that Taiwan should give it a try.
“However, Hsu surprised us by saying that the prospect of citizen judges is exciting, and that if it does not work, then it can be changed to a jury system in five or six years,” Cheng said. “We were quite annoyed by Hsu’s flippant remarks and impudent attitude, so the meeting ended in verbal wrangling and acrimony.”
Afterward, Chang said on social media that “the Judicial Yuan is full of ‘dinosaur judges’ who are unable to listen to the views and opinions of ordinary people.”
Other judicial reform advocates said the decision to institute the citizen judges system was opaque, as the Judicial Yuan did not hold public consultations to ensure transparency.
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