Tue, May 07, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Biased judges with bad attitudes are dinosaurs, head of reform group says

By Wu Cheng-feng and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Retired police officers state a protest over “dinosaur judges” in Taichung on Nov. 11, 2017. The foreground placard reads: “Dinosaur judges: Bloody fools!”

Photo: Chang Jui-chen, Taipei Times

Bad attitude, rashness, bias and incompetence are the main issues with Taiwan’s so-called “dinosaur judges,” a nickname bestowed for their being out of touch with society, Judicial Reform Foundation chairman Lin Yung-sung (林永頌) said.

The most common problem with “dinosaur judges” is their attitude, Lin said, citing his years of observing court proceedings and dealing with appeals.

Some judges speak loudly or harshly, while others mock or make fun of trial participants, or fail to give them a chance to speak, he said.

A judge in Taoyuan told a defendant, on penalty of jail time, not to speak unless giving a confession, he said.

Next is rashness, Lin said.

Rash judges are overconfident and believe that reading the case before court begins is unnecessary, he said, adding that people can tell that the judge did not prepare and has no knowledge of the case.

These judges delay the trial by not asking crucial questions, he added.

Another common problem is judicial bias, Lin said.

Judges should be objective, gradually forming an inner conviction about the case as each court session leads up to their deliberation, but some have preconceptions due to their environment, personal or religious beliefs, or external pressures, he said.

Biased judges often interrupt litigants after one or two sessions in court, or even refute their claims, he said, adding that these judges have already made up their minds before hearing the case.

Some judges are incompetent — they are simply incapable of reviewing cases, Lin said.

Incompetent judges are usually not harsh, rash, or biased, rather they tend to be hardworking, but misinterpret cases and are unable to render judgements, he said.

They cannot provide a clear rationale for decisions and are clearly unqualified, he added.

Judges mostly learn from more experienced colleagues or other members on their panel, he said, adding that they have few opportunities to observe other courts or broaden their horizons.

The Judicial Yuan, to identify and get rid of so-called “dinosaur judges,” should study the complaints filed by litigants, he added.

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