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A Trial by Peers

South Korea held its first trial by jury.  It worked out well, according to reports.

About the author: Psst, want to buy some used marble cheap?

  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr (Korea Law Blog)

    This is of wide interest around the world — reports are turning up all around thanks to the AP wire story, and fascination with jury trials in general. I just wrote about this on Korea Law Blog tonight, too.

  • http://www.ahnse.blogspot.com Sean Hayes

    Suspect a trial in Seoul next month. I spoke to a judge friend that is friends with the chief judge in this case and he noted the trial went without any major hitches.

    A French news publication did an interview with me on this matter, which a link can be found to at http://www.ahnse.blogspot.com.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    It went well?

    The jury “verdict” was only advisory, but the truly interesting thing is that they recommended only a suspended sentence for a 20 something mook who assaulted a 70 year old woman while robbing her in her home. It seems juries are just as unlikely to impose any significant punishment on criminals as the know-nothing judges here, cf., the Namdaemun arsonist.

    What are the chances I’ll get a similar walk when I shoot anyone who invades my house?

  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr (Korea Law Blog)

    What are the chances I’ll get a similar walk when I shoot anyone who invades my house?

    What do you think?

    Besides, what do you mean “shoot”? I thought with the new 2% body fat weightlifter physique you’re rocking, you’d grind the bastard to death on the Abs at 57, or crush his head with your claws.

  • http://www.radicalcontrapositions.com/left_flank/ Baltimoron

    In the BBC article BC linked to, “public trust” played a major part in the reasons for experimenting with a jury system. I wonder, though, if the “people” themselves understand their “responsibility” as opposed to how much the government wants to be “trusted”. How long will this all have to “wash” for the “people” to understand legal concepts, not just that suddenly they have a new cultural fad to practice with because of globalization.

    Perhaps, the lawyers can tell us here why the Germans and Indians have opted against juries?

  • http://www.ahnse.blogspot.com Sean Hayes

    Brendon you mentioned on your blog that a 4-year sentence was suspended.
    IMPOSSIBLE

    3 years or less can be suspended according to Article 62 of the Criminal Code. More on the issue can be found at http://www.ahnse.blogspot.com

    Criminal Code
    Article 62 (Requisites for Suspension of Execution of Sentence)
    (1) In cases where a sentence of imprisonment or imprisonment without prison labor for not more than three years is to be imposed and there are extenuating circumstances taking account of the provision of Article 51, the execution of the sentence may be suspended for a period of not less than one year but not more than five years

  • Maddlew

    Any sentence that ends with the word claws gets my attention. That was funny.
    How much compensation are these jurors getting for lost wages? Any chance their companies cover that here?

  • Maddlew

    For a low-middle income guy like myself in the States, jury duty’s a death sentence.

  • http://www.ahnse.blogspot.com Sean Hayes

    Each juror will be paid W100,000 per day.

  • slim

    Will foreigners accused of crimes still be tried by a jury of 49 million?

  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr (Korea Law Blog)

    Brendon you mentioned on your blog that a 4-year sentence was suspended.

    Actually, I repeated what was reported in the AP story. You know how sloppy reporters can be, especially when working against deadline. That happens to bloggers, too, Sean. Was the 2-1/2 year sentence suspended for a period of four years, perhaps?

  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr (Korea Law Blog)

    Will foreigners accused of crimes still be tried by a jury of 49 million?

    You hit the nail on the head, slim. With a “citizens’ participation” criminal system, the mob mentality — which is often whipped up by government-planted press reports in cases like the Lone Star affair — becomes a real worry. We already have a system which doesn’t do much to protect the foreign accused in cases of so-called public interest.

    For example, I can’t imagine that the Korean jury system will be a friendly development for GIs.

  • Maddlew

    100,000 won? Beats the thirty cents an hour back home.

  • http://www.ahnse.blogspot.com Sean Hayes

    Connecticut only pays after you served one week -few trials last past one week.

    However, I believe all states allow hardship reasons (sole bread earner, health etc.) for not attending and Korea also does.

  • Maddlew

    I was the sole bread earner in a house of one and already late with the rent. They said I’d already used that excuse once and couldn’t again.
    Funny how they always called me to jury duty within three months of registering to vote.

  • http://walkingalongtherailways.wordpress.com/ Matthew

    when I read this in the paper today I was pretty surprised that the country didn’t already have trial by jury…it’s me being naive but I thought that was a pretty standard thing in democratic nations

    co-teachers opinion – It’s stupid because people/jurors are stupid

    my response – judges are stupid/corrupt

  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr (Korea Law Blog)

    Perhaps, the lawyers can tell us here why the Germans and Indians have opted against juries?

    It’s simple: They’re wrong.

    The longer answer is that cases where the people returned outcomes that shocked their betters (such as the aforementioned O.J. murder case) led to a loss of confidence in the justice of juries’ decisions.

    Matthew’s got it right, though — the people are stupid, but the American perspective is that the State must be restrained even at risk of having too little government authority.

  • R. Elgin

    I wonder if the prosecutor and defending attorneys will vet the jurors, and then even by age so that they are equal. I’ve noticed a tendency for groups here to defer to the oldest amongst them (kong-ja), which could have some deleterious effect upon the process.

    (I am not an attorney, thus excuse my curiosity if my question is a poor one.)

  • http://www.davidtz.com tz247

    so does a trial by peers mean I will get a trial by foreigners who speak English? Or at the very least, by people who are close to the same age? Or better yet, a trial by people who are younger than me?

  • http://www.ahnse.blogspot.com Sean Hayes

    Jury trial was abolished in Germany in the 1920s and in India in the 1960s.

    Germany abolished jury trial, as the U.S. knows jury trial, but they still have a layperson system like Korea.

    In India, jury trials were stopped because of the famous case Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra. The case led to the conviction of Nanavati who was sentenced to life in jail for the premeditated killing of his wife. The reason the case led to the jury trial being scraped was because it was perceived that jurors were influenced by the media and the public and jurors were easily misled by judges. Today, the same is said of Indian judges. In reality, India jury trial was scraped because of the power of the court system and some politicians that hoodwinked the people into believing that the system doesn’t work

    In Germany, the system was abolished because “The complicated system of questions became difficult for the jurors and a source of mistakes for the judges, with the result that the jury system lost support.” (Experience with Criminal Juries in France and Germany by Bron McKillop) The system was abolished because of the complexity and failures in the trial procedure rules.

    It is often contended, because of a lack of studying this issue that these countries choice was to abolish jury trial because of the failures in decisions. The truth was the system themselves were flawed and thus the jury system was impossible to work. Simply, the systems failed not because of the jurors, but because of the courts, their procedures, and the lack of support by the political powers.

    For India, as is still the case today for judges, the jury was swayed by public opinion and the media. This is still a problem today so should be abolish the trial by judge system and maybe have Brendon be the trier for all cases.

    In Germany, the problem was the system was over complicated. Instead of reforming the system they just changed the system to the layperson system.

    Only reason I know about this is because I did substantial research for the court system when the change to the present system was being studied.

    Overall, in systems that try to work through problems inherent within the jury system – the problems can be worked out.

    In the OJ case the prosecution simply did a terrible job. They should have requested the case to be tried in the venue of the crime. If they did the jury pool would have been much different.

    Oh -Russia brought back the jury system in 1993 it was abolished in the 1860s.

  • http://www.ahnse.blogspot.com Sean Hayes

    R. Elgin question is a great one:

    “I wonder if the prosecutor and defending attorneys will vet the jurors, and then even by age so that they are equal. I’ve noticed a tendency for groups here to defer to the oldest amongst them (kong-ja), which could have some deleterious effect upon the process.”

    The prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges are aware of this and also fear this. This will be one of the most interesting things to watch when more cases come to court. I will update on my blog when a case is to be held in Seoul. I am looking for a case for my firm to take as we speak.

  • pawikirogi

    ‘Will foreigners accused of crimes still be tried by a jury of 49 million?’

    a very real concern for most people of color in this country for most of my lifetime. it’s just something you minorities in korea are going to have to deal with. we dealt with it. you deal with it too.

    ‘so does a trial by peers mean I will get a trial by foreigners who speak English? Or at the very least, by people who are close to the same age? Or better yet, a trial by people who are younger than me?’

    here we go again with special interest groups looking for special rights. you want a trial in english? then commit your crimes where they speak english. you want your peers? so did the hmong guy in wisconsin when he shot all those white folk dressed in flapjackets and hunting hats after they started using racial epithets toward him. the all white jury believed elmer’s denial.

  • Netizen Kim

    so did the hmong guy in wisconsin when he shot all those white folk dressed in flapjackets and hunting hats after they started using racial epithets toward him. the all white jury believed elmer’s denial.

    I followed that incident closely back when it happened. Not only were words exchange, aggravating an already tense situation where all persons were armed but as Chai Vang was walking away, one of the white hunters fired at him behind his back, Thats when Vang’s shooting spree began.

  • Zonath

    Not only were words exchange, aggravating an already tense situation where all persons were armed but as Chai Vang was walking away, one of the white hunters fired at him behind his back

    So much for an armed society being a polite society…

  • wjk

    prosecution in OJ trial did the best they could.

    reason why I understood the trial venue moved was they didn’t want the blame of

    hanging a black man, by a white jury.

    so, they moved, to have as many black jury members as feasible.

    that said, jury members are truly stupid.

    I think one OJ jury member posed for playboy afterwards, and a couple others sold their stories to Inside Edition, some sort of Hollywood tv news, and National Enquirer. They are stupid and they lack ethics. They ruled not guilty, and claimed they were pressured to do so by fellow jurors. And, they cashed in, when they could.

    OJ trial raised doubt on whether jury trials are the right way.

    that said, judges in ROK are traditionally corrupt. Lee Hwae Chang. Not subject to a jury trial in some cases, but ROK Gum Chal has traditionally sided step by step with whoever was sitting inside the blue house.

    shocker of shockers, when they didn’t side with Roh Moo Hyun and declared 2MB innocent of all charges around December 07. I was assuming they would charge him. See? ROK is progressing.

    that said, I truly believe deep inside my heart that 2MB is indeed innocent. Call me biased.

    talk of local ajushis.

    “he won the Presidency. It’s a non-issue. He’ll send Kim Dae Jung to prison.”

    “geuh kka ji guh,
    dae tong ryong
    dwae myun,
    geuh mahn ee ya.
    Uh suh, dae joong ee,
    gam-ok ae,
    bo nae ya ji,
    jook gi jun ae.”

    that said, I was amused they were assumingly forgiving 2MB’s crime, but were eager to use a “criminal” to punish a “criminal”. Jiyuk gam-jeong will be strong as ever in ROK for the next 50-100 years. There’s overflowing “jeong” in Korea, indeed. Koreans value tradition. That said, I think they should have voted for Lee Hwae Chang, not 2MB if they wanted that to come true. Of course, though, Kyong Sang couldn’t trust Seoul’s truly democratic vote, and thus couldn’t risk a 3 way split, where Chung Dong Young could possibly win. So, they abandoned Lee Hwae Chang.

    again, I honestly believe that 2MB did no crime in BBK.

    by the way, will that gyopo (a proven white collar criminal) who went to ROK to bring damning evidence against 2MB ever see daylight? Sitting in a ROK prison?

    get a JURY TRIAL?

    ha ha ha.

    Last week, I re-watched an old, movie, “the President’s Last Bang.”

    Director claims audiences laugh out loud in Japan, America, China.

    Nobody laughs when they saw his film in ROK, he claims. He got death threats, he claims.

    Why?

    in my opinion, a great movie.

    I thank Kimsoft.

    I wonder if I’ll see him in heaven.

  • wjk

    by the way, anyone able to answer why the KCIA or the K-cops in the 70s and 80s used 6-shot revolvers instead of cartridge fed pistols?

    Just asking…

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  • Konglick

    #31,

    For the same reason that North American cops used them, which is that they are cheap, they rarely malfunction, and having a 9mm wasn’t in fashion (yes, fashion).

  • Konglick

    #28,

    Didn’t he kill them all? Anybody can claim he was shot at first when there are no witnesses. Besides, some of the ones he killed were unarmed…and running away. Regardless of what happened before he killed them, killing them was not self-defense.

    http://www.redorbit.com/news/general/299776/hmong_killer_of_wisconsin_hunters_sentenced_to_life/

  • Konglick

    “a very real concern for most people of color in this country for most of my lifetime. it’s just something you minorities in korea are going to have to deal with. we dealt with it. you deal with it too.”

    Oh, please. Tu quoque is the best you can do?

  • dogbert

    Vang killed in cold blood, not self defense. Make no mistake about it.

    It was a serious error to import so many Hmong into the U.S. — they were clearly unprepared for it. As were we.

    As far as fairness to non-English speaking defendants in U.S. courts, pawi, I’m sure you’re aware that defendants are entitled to certified interpreters for just about any language under the sun. I’ve hired and worked with certified Korean-language interpreters — most are absolutely incredible at what they do.

  • Konglick

    “I’ve hired and worked with certified Korean-language interpreters — most are absolutely incredible at what they do.”

    I don’t doubt it. I don’t know how it’s done in Korea, but back home interpreters, real ones, must go through a rigorous testing process in order to become certified. Simply being fluent in the languages in which they work just doesn’t cut it. Interpreters must show an exceptional grasp of the languages they translate. I should know. My mother used to be a certified interpreter and translator.

  • cmm

    @37 no, not the best he can do. he also does a mean strawman.

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  • dogbert

    I don’t doubt it. I don’t know how it’s done in Korea, but back home interpreters, real ones, must go through a rigorous testing process in order to become certified.

    You are right. I was referring to certified Korean interpreters in the U.S.

  • http://www.davidtz.com tz247

    I think Pawi must love me.

    “To Kill a Mockingbird” comes to mind almost right away. Dealing with a little racism is fine, living like it’s 1950 in the southern states, when it’s 2008, is asinine. Having the Korean media label the visible minority foreigner as a jarhead American or dope-smoking, child-molesting Canadian– not matter what their actual citizenship may be– is beyond expecting special rights for special groups. I’m just looking at a fair or even a fighting chance.

    I was just joking about ridiculous of it due to the out-dated traditions (not all traditions are bad, but quite a few of them are not good here) Pawi holds so dear to his heart. I’m sure trial by jury will work great for other Koreans, but I’ll bet all sorts of problems will crop up the first time a foreigner has to be tried. The least of which will be communication and translation. And I’m not talking about 0.07% of white people in Korea.

    At the very least, ‘guilty until proven innocent’ may go the way of the dodo with any luck.

    And since this is a foreigner blog catering to foreigners, it’s only natural that a foreigner would have these legitimate concerns over a policy that affects everyone in the country where he/she resides. Snide comments by a dude in a different country, whose only connection is his ethnicity, do nothing to address those concerns to those who actually have to live with the government’s policies.

    and once again I took the bait, maybe I love Pawi too…:P

  • Benicio74

    Question is, like in the U.S., would the defendant have the choice of trial by judge or jury?
    Or would that be up to the court?

    I have been sued(wrongfully)in court here and I certainly would not want a jury trial in Korea!

  • Maddlew

    I think we’re jumping the gun here a bit. There’s been one freaking jury trial. I think it will take a whole lot of upheaval before it becomes the norm. In Korea, that may take a few minutes. Didn’t it state in the article that “it is being gradually reformed”? I don’t think you have to worry about nine pairs of glaring eyes staring down at you, nobody waving bye-bye, just yet.

  • Benicio74

    ’tis better to beware of the threatening storm that is looming in the distance than to realize it only when it is already raining holy hell upon you!

  • Benicio74

    You can quote me on that!

  • Konglick

    “And since this is a foreigner blog catering to foreigners, it’s only natural that a foreigner would have these legitimate concerns over a policy that affects everyone in the country where he/she resides. Snide comments by a dude in a different country, whose only connection is his ethnicity, do nothing to address those concerns to those who actually have to live with the government’s policies.”

    I can imagine Pawi’s brain upon reading this…

    “Abort, Retry, Fail?”

  • Maddlew

    They’re not ready. I think for the next couple decades you’ll only see juries in certain criminal proceedings. Peers? How would they see that? A bunch of dogs dressed in people suits sitting in the jury box?
    Impartial? When they sentence a guy guilty by virtue of the preponderance of melenin in his skin even the UN Sec. Gen. is gonna have to step up and say, “You guys are making me look bad over here”.

  • pawikirogi

    some survived from my recollection. i didn’t say their using racial epithets excused his killing of them. however, i would consider it a mitigating circumstance if i were one of the jurors, but i already know the da made sure the jury was all white. why do you think that was?

    btw, why do you think cochran wanted an all black jury? do you think there are quite a few americans who believe the jury let him go because he’s was one of them? white folk ain’t any different. you need to wake up.

    **********

    tz124, i have some bad news to report to you. after reading your comments last night, i got a good sense of you and thus, have decided to excommunicate you with special features. let me explain:

    regular excommunication: poster will have his comments read but never recieve a direct response. in other words, i’m still willing to give some face.

    excommunication with special features: this type i impose on you is the worst since your posts won’t even be read. the one above was not read. it was skipped over. all this will result into a situation in which you simply disappear since i no longer have any knowledge of your thoughts. i wish you happiness in your life and do hope you and yours come here to the states.

    goodbye.

  • Maddlew

    Ooooohhh! Special features… Ggggllllllll… Slobber.

  • Konglick

    “excommunication”?

    Dude, you suffer from delusions of grandeur.

  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr (Korea Law Blog)

    Wait, how do the rest of us get pawi to skip over and ignore our posts? Excommunication sure sounds good.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    I’m holding out for metaphorical termination w/ extreme prejudice.

  • pawikirogi

    lol!

  • pawikirogi

    first time you ever made me chuckle, lawyer. lol.

  • http://www.korealawblog.com Brendon Carr (Korea Law Blog)

    Guess this means I’m not excommunicated. Drat.

  • gbnhj

    As of this moment, you’re all on ‘double-secret special features’.

  • slim

    Normally, one has to be a believer/follower to be excommunicated, but if the High Priest of Banal Nativism is offering to expel me, that’s an offer I want to take up right now.

    Can I get a witness!?

  • Konglick

    #57,

    Pawi must have the special version of Java that I’ve read about to be able to run those special applets. It’s called “Java+Soju”.

  • http://www.davidtz.com tz247

    whoohoo!! I win! I trolled the troll! I wish the rest of you good luck with the ex-communication. Hope it all works out for the best.

  • andy

    dope-smoking, child-molesting Canadian

    The Korean media labels Korean Americans as drug shooting b-boys, so Canadians don’t have the monopoly in the field of media stereotyping of non-Korean illegal drug use in Korea.

    Considering pawi’s mental state, I wonder if he’s also one of them drug using b-boys. Which would put him in the same class as a dope smoking Canadian, which in turn makes him an…..expat.

  • http://www.davidtz.com tz247

    #47

    I’ll take a stab at “abort” and “fail”

  • Zonath

    Just everyone watch out for the ‘excommunication with happy ending’… you just don’t want to go there.

  • Konglick

    ‘excommunication with happy ending’

    Ah, the ex-girlfriend booty call.