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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74202 Find in a Library
Title: Shanghai - A Case on Appeal
Journal: American Bar Association Journal  Volume:66  Dated:(December 1980)  Pages:1536-1539
Author(s): F E Snyder
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article, written by an American who visited the People's Republic of China, describes a case study of one appeal that portrays a combination of legality and morality.
Abstract: A worker (Wang) in a clothing factory stole some factory-made clothing to sell on the black market. He and a friend (Ling) who helped him were charged and sentenced for their crime. The offender filed a notice of appeal, claiming that the sentence was too severe. The Code of Criminal Procedure, which went into effect on January 1, 1980, affords defendants on appeal the same rights they had in the lower court: to have a representative plead on their behalf. If the defendants do not select a representative, the court must appoint someone for them. The investigative process is described to show what kind of information is required before the appeal can proceed. In form, Wang's day in court on appeal seemed very much like a judicial proceeding in the civil law-Soviet tradition. The presiding judge remained the dominant figure from beginning to end, interrogating Wang and Ling in detail about the facts of the case and their perception of their guilt, questioning witnesses, and listening to the pleas of leniency made by the lawyers and to the statement of the prosecutor. The assistant judges, sitting on either side of the presiding judge, also were allowed to question the various participants. This inquisitorial approach leaves no room for objections or cross-examination by either the defendants' lawyers or the procurator. Unlike judicial process in an adversarial system, the Chinese judge does not share his control over the inquiry. Wang's appeal seemed, to a certain degree, to be a hybrid form of the American guilty plea hearing and the sentencing hearing. The court seemed to be motivated by two concerns: whether Wang clearly understood the nature of his guilt and the error of his ways, and Wang's strength of character--the extent of his capability to reform his attitude toward Chinese law and society. In the end, leniency was recommended. The bench decided that although the original sentence (1-3 years imprisonment) was correct, it was too severe. Wang received 2 years probation (supervised labor) and a 2-year suspended prison term. Ling received exemption from formal punishment, rather than his original sentence (supervised labor).
Index Term(s): Appeal procedures; Appellate courts; Attorneys; China; Court system; Judicial decisions; Judicial review; Laws and Statutes; Sentencing/Sanctions
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