Despite six failed negotiations with civic groups, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration is adamant about pushing through its proposals for introducing a lay judge system, rather than a jury system, sources with knowledge of the matter said yesterday.
Lawmakers have failed to reach a consensus on at least 100 draft articles on the lay judge system, which are expected to be voted on during an extraordinary session this week.
During the previous legislative session, the Judicial Yuan and the Executive Yuan pushed the legislation, which languished.
Photo: Lin Liang-sheng, Taipei Times
With the new session having begun in February, the Executive Yuan in March reintroduced the lay judge bill and titled it the “citizen participation in criminal trial procedures act.”
The DPP caucus has proposed that it be renamed the “national judge act.”
The DPP commissioned its caucus whip, Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘), to lead negotiations with civic groups, but after six meetings, no agreement was reached, sources said.
The DPP reportedly considered it “too risky” and “too much of a break from the current system” to implement a jury system, sources said, adding that it later rejected a compromise proposed by civic groups to combine the jury and lay judge systems.
The DPP caucus insisted on a six-year trial of the proposed lay judge system, because of concerns about the higher costs of a jury system, they added.
Separately, Northern Taiwan Society chairman Li Chuan-hsin (李川信) on Saturday called on the DPP to clarify its shift in support from a jury system to a lay judge system.
He said he was concerned that a lay judge system would allow career judges to sway lay judges’ verdicts, adding that the DPP should wait and not allow itself to be hijacked by people working in the judiciary.
Taiwan Nation Alliance deputy convener Wei Jui-ming (魏瑞明) said that attempting to ram through the bill in the extraordinary session would be reckless, and asked why the DPP administration needs to rush the effort.
A judicial reform bill of such importance should be given time and be discussed during the regular session, he said.
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