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Maciamo
Mar 29, 2005, 22:32
Japan Times : New courtroom for citizen participation shown (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20050325f2.htm)


At present, courts only rely on panels of three judges.

The new system, expected to start by 2009, would let ordinary citizens be jurors, giving them the right to determine guilt or innocence in serious criminal cases.
...
The changes would help shorten trials, whose sessions are only held about once a month and can plod on for years, Karei said.

Human rights groups say they hope the reforms will also bring fairness and more transparency to the justice system.

They have criticized police and prosecutors for interrogating suspects without defense lawyers present.

That's a concern because verdicts often hinge on a suspect's written confession, and 99 percent of criminal cases brought to trial end with a conviction, said Kenta Yamada, a lawyer and director at the Japan Civil Liberties Union.
...
Japan's system will differ from other countries' systems.

Japanese jurors will participate in trials of serious crimes, including murder, arson, child abuse and hit-and-runs. They will sit alongside judges at a semicircular bench at the front of the courtroom, and will vote together with judges on verdicts and sentencing. Decisions will be reached by a majority.

By contrast, in the United States and Britain, jurors can take part in either civil or criminal cases and usually sit at the side of the courtroom, away from the judge. Their job is to determine guilt or innocence in both types of trials, but they also decide on damages in civil cases.
...
"I can't help but think that letting ordinary people step in and decide the fate of trials will let criminals get off with light punishments," said Sato, 40, who runs a construction business. "Officials say juries will mean shorter trials. But it sounds to me like judges will shorten trials to let jurors get back to their lives -- not do what's right for victims and their families."


Do you think that the introduction of jurors is a good thing or a bad thing for the Japanese judicial system ?

It is a fact that the judicial system needs reforms (especially because 99% of cases brought to trial end with a conviction, which is not normal). However, I have reserves regarding the critical sense of the average Japanese, and it could very well be, as Mr Sato said in the article, that criminals will get away with lighter punishments or be found innocent when they are guilty, because the jurors will not want to condemn someone if they have any doubts.

DoctorP
Mar 29, 2005, 22:36
I agree with you...I don't think that Japanese citizens can/will find it in themselves to issue out strict punishments. As for the conviction rates? I don't think that there will be a drastic change here. The prosecutors use that 23 days of confinement to build their cases and ensure that they have enough to go to trial with. If the prosecutor feels that there is not enough evidence to proceed then they simply drop the case.

PaulTB
Mar 29, 2005, 22:48
The changes would help shorten trials, whose sessions are only held about once a month and can plod on for years, Karei said.

I find it interesting that in the UK shortening trials, stopping them from dragging on, is often used as a reason for more trials without Juries. :relief:

Mycernius
Mar 29, 2005, 23:30
I find it interesting that in the UK shortening trials, stopping them from dragging on, is often used as a reason for more trials without Juries. :relief:
I've read that they want of get rid of juries in complex fraud trails.
Quick question for anyone: In Japan are you Innocent until proven Guilty or Guilty until proven Innocent? I do know this differs in a lot of countries.

PaulTB
Mar 29, 2005, 23:55
I've read that they want of get rid of juries in complex fraud trails.
And also in minor cases. (Some already are, but actually I'm very hazy on the details). :relief:


Quick question for anyone: In Japan are you Innocent until proven Guilty or Guilty until proven Innocent? I do know this differs in a lot of countries.
I think it's "Innocent until locked up, sleep deprived and 'fallen down stairs' into signing a confession."

Still you can get a nice scare estimating how many people have been executed in the US who would have been proved innocent if genetic testing had been available and carried out.

Mycernius
Mar 30, 2005, 00:06
I think it's "Innocent until locked up, sleep deprived and 'fallen down stairs' into signing a confession."
:D :D :D :D :D


Still you can get a nice scare estimating how many people have been executed in the US who would have been proved innocent if genetic testing had been available and carried out.
Not a big fan of capital punishment, myself.

thetreeman
Nov 26, 2006, 10:56
I disagree with juror participation in criminal trials.
As a person who has had multiple felony arrest in the US as well a person highly involved with civil plaintiff lawyers in the US, jurors in the criminal court will only hurt Japan in the long run. They have virtually NO crime because of their penalties. Growing jurors in Japan will only lead to more complicated legal processes hence crime on the rise with more civil rights involved. I do understand that there are innocent people that might suffer from keeping the laws the same, but innocent people suffer here too.
Japan should stay strict and stick to their customs involving thousands of years of culture. The USA will not be around for too many more centuries with our drug abuse and crime issues. Although our justice sytem and equal rights is a beautiful thing, it will not be effective forever. Genocide. Low income, illegitimate kids and minorities are slowly taking us over!!
However, I do believe that jurors would help in the Japanese civil system.

Fluwten McGunch
Dec 19, 2006, 20:01
I disagree with juror participation in criminal trials.
As a person who has had multiple felony arrest in the US as well a person highly involved with civil plaintiff lawyers in the US, jurors in the criminal court will only hurt Japan in the long run. They have virtually NO crime because of their penalties. Growing jurors in Japan will only lead to more complicated legal processes hence crime on the rise with more civil rights involved. I do understand that there are innocent people that might suffer from keeping the laws the same, but innocent people suffer here too.
Japan should stay strict and stick to their customs involving thousands of years of culture. The USA will not be around for too many more centuries with our drug abuse and crime issues. Although our justice sytem and equal rights is a beautiful thing, it will not be effective forever. Genocide. Low income, illegitimate kids and minorities are slowly taking us over!!
However, I do believe that jurors would help in the Japanese civil system.

Put the bong down before you start typing your post please.

Dr. J. M.
Jan 12, 2007, 00:50
I think that jurors might be beneficial. However this does not apply to any given system, especially not the one employed in the US. The jurors there are afaik the only ones who decide whether one is guilty or innocent and they are normally mere people without any legal backround or training. Thus they can be easily swayed by lawyers with great rethorical skills.
This is harder to accomplish for example in the German system. Depending on the case and the court there can be several judges and several jurors who together form 'the jury'. This way the people are not deceived by legal terminology.