Judicial Reform Foundation chairman Lin Yung-sung (林永頌) and other reform advocates yesterday criticized a survey released by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) purportedly showing majority support for the party’s proposed lay judge system.
“From the Presidential Office to the Judicial Yuan and DPP legislators, these government leaders are digging in, rigid in their hardline stance against judicial reform measures. They do not want to know about the many problems in the Judicial Yuan’s drafted proposals,” Lin said outside the Legislative Yuan, where a sit-in calling for legislators to include a proposed jury system on the legislative agenda continued for an eighth day.
“We are very disappointed with their attitude. They just want to ... get the procedure over with, while excluding the jury system, which is favored by a majority of society,” he added.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Taiwan Renewal Party convener Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智), a former DPP official, also attended the event.
“DPP legislators are undermining their own party’s charter,” by excluding the jury system, Su said, adding that the party is cheating the people who voted for it.
“China’s recent national security legislation rejects trial by jury, and the DPP is doing the same in Taiwan,” he added.
Taiwan Jury Association founder Jerry Cheng (鄭文龍) said that it is not possible for the DPP’s survey to claim that more than 70 percent of respondents support the lay judge system.
“Our poll showed that only 8 percent favor the Judicial Yuan’s proposed bill to conduct criminal trials using the lay judge system,” Cheng said. “Despite this, the DPP wants to force it through the legislature. It is being done in haste, without careful thought, and that is why we oppose it.”
A TVBS poll in January last year found that 74 percent of respondents supported the jury system, while 12 percent opposed it, 4 percent said they did not know what it was and 10 percent said that they had no opinion.
Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation chairman Michael You (游盈隆) also disputed the DPP’s figures.
“How trustworthy are the DPP numbers, and can the figures stand up to testing?” You asked. “They dared not reveal what the poll questions were, and only gave the numbers. [The poll] seemed to be crudely conducted. Can society accept its results?”
Law professor and former Examination Yuan member Chang Cheng-shuh (張正修) criticized legislators who said that jury members can be bribed.
“Yes, that is true, but it is much easier to bribe and influence a ruling in the lay judge system,” he said. “Jury members are isolated and cannot return home when deliberating, and they hand down a ruling faster.”
“This is why we are opposed to the current court judge system. In the past [judges] were under political pressure, and now they have too much power when handing down judgements,” he said, adding that their personal bias or outside influence could affect a ruling.
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