2020-05-11

Judicial Yuan Lists Reasons Against Jury System

Taiwan's Judicial Yuan presented its position and listed 10 reasons that it opposes the implementation of a jury system in Taiwan. The Judicial Yuan stated that it favors a system such as Japan’s, where people become lay judges, over the jury system used widely in the West. The 10 reasons include:

1. There will not be good communication and interaction between citizens and court judges under the implementation of a jury system.
2. So-called “hung juries” are a common problem of jury systems.
3. A jury does not need to give reasons for a verdict, which contradicts the Constitutional requirement regarding people’s rights in the trial and appeal process.
4. A jury is not involved in sentencing, and thus cannot reflect people's opinions in relation to sentences.
5. The cost of forming a jury is substantial.
6. Allowing a jury to hand out verdicts could contradict Constitutional Court Interpretation No. 378, which defines what constitutes a court.
7. The original purpose of the jury system is to check the ruling class, which would not be a purpose of using a jury system in Taiwan.
8. There are many criticisms of the jury system in America according to the related literature.
9. Nations such as Japan and France, which previously used a jury system, are shifting to the lay judge model.
10. Surveys conducted by the Taiwan Database for Empirical Legal Studies and National Chengchi University's Election Study Center, as well as opinions collected through mock trials over the past several years, show that most people favor the lay judge model.

The Judicial Yuan suggested that citizen participation should be limited to cases involving major felonies that carry prison sentences of 10 years or more, as well as cases involving intentionally caused deaths. The Judicial Yuan stated that these limits are appropriate because the jury system is a new system, but such limited uses are beneficial for review and amendment.
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