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NCJ Number: 50407 Find in a Library
Title: TEACHING CRIMINALS A LESSON - A REPORT ON JUSTICE IN CHINA
Journal: JUDICATURE  Volume:61  Issue:6  Dated:(DECEMBER/JANUARY 1978)  Pages:278-288
Author(s): G W CROCKETT JR; M GLEICHER
Corporate Author: American Judicature Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: American Judicature Soc
Chicago, IL 60601-7401
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: OBSERVATIONS ON A CHINESE CRIMINAL TRIAL, RECORDED BY THE FIRST AMERICAN DELEGATION PERMITTED TO VIEW THE WORKINGS OF THE POSTREVOLUTIONARY CHINESE LEGAL SYSTEM FIRSTHAND, ARE REPORTED.
Abstract: THE DELEGATION OF JUDGES AND LAWYERS VISITED CHINA IN 1977 AND ATTENDED THE TRIAL OF A MAN WHO HAD STRUCK A BICYCLIST WHILE JOYRIDING IN A STOLEN GOVERNMENT-OWNED VEHICLE. THE TRIAL TOOK PLACE AT THE FACTORY WHERE THE DEFENDANT WORKED AND WAS PRESIDED OVER BY A WOMAN JUDGE. TWO COURT ASSESSORS, LAY PERSONS SELECTED BY THE JUDGE PERFORMED THE ROLE OF PROTECTING THEIR COEQUAL (THE DEFENDANT) BY VOTING THE PEOPLE'S INTERESTS IN THE CASE. OTHER TRIAL PARTICIPANTS INCLUDED THE COURT RECORDER, ADVOCATES FOR THE SECURITY BUREAU (THE PROSECUTION) AND THE DEFENDANT, TWO UNIFORMED POLICE OFFICERS, AND THE DEFENDANT'S NEIGHBORS AND COWORKERS--THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 'MASSES,' WHO WERE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO REPRIMAND THE DEFENDANT AND TO STATE THEIR OPINIONS REGARDING AN APPROPRIATE SENTENCE. THE JUDGE URGED THE DEFENDANT TO CONFESS TO THE CRIME, WHICH HE DID. BOTH THE DEFENDANT AND HIS ADVOCATE EXPLAINED THAT THE DEFENDANT HAD BEEN LED ASTRAY IDEOLOGICALLY BY THE 'GANG OF FOUR' AND HAD BEEN 'CORRUPTED BY BOURGEOIS IDEAS.' THE JUDGE AND THE ACCESSORS, AFTER LISTENING TO THE OPINIONS OF THE TRIAL AUDIENCE, GAVE THE DEFENDANT A 2-YEAR SUSPENDED SENTENCE. THE JUDGE THEN POINTED OUT THE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM THE CASE. THE AMERICAN DELEGATION WAS ALSO GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK WITH CHINESE LAWYERS AND JUDGES. THE DELEGATION WAS PARTICULARLY IMPRESSED BY THE EMPHASIS ON DIRECT PARTICIPATION BY THE PEOPLE IN THE CONDUCT OF TRIALS AND HEARINGS; BY THE CHINESE CONCEPT OF LOCALIZING LEGAL PROCEEDINGS TO FACILITATE ATTENDANCE BY THE PEOPLE; AND BY THE CONCERN ABOUT EDUCATING THE MASSES THROUGH THE LEGAL PROCESS. THE DELEGATION ALSO LEARNED OF THE LIMITED OPPORTUNITIES FOR APPEAL IN THE CHINESE COURTS, THE FACT THAT THE DEFENDANT ACTUALLY HAD BEEN FOUND GUILTY BY THE JUDGE PRIOR TO THE TRIAL, AND THE FOCUS OF THE CHINESE LEGAL SYSTEM ON LOCAL CONCILIATION AND MEDIATION COMMITTEES, WHICH HANDLE MOST CIVIL AND CRIMINAL DISPUTES OUT OF COURT. (LKM)
Index Term(s): China; Trial procedures; Trials
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50407

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