Introducing the lay judge system: part 1 of 2

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What kind of crime are you most interested in? graph of japanese statistics[part 1][part 2]

Shortly after the lay judge system was introduced in Japan earier this year, but before the first actual trial involving members of the public, the Cabinet Office Japan conducted a survey on behalf of the Ministry of Justice into the lay judge system.

Demographics

Between the 28th of May and 7th of June 2009 3,000 members of the public were randomly selected to participate in the survey, conducted by face-to-face interviews. 68.5% of the sample, or 2,054, were available and agreed to answer the questionnaire. 46.3% of them were male, 9.9% in their twenties, 16.0% in their thirties, 17.9% in their forties, 18.0% in their fifties, 21.1% in their sixties, and 17.0% aged seventy or older.

My pet hate about the new system is that too many people, including reputable newspapers who should know better, call it a jury system and think it must be unfair because it differs from the UK and US systems that they are familiar with. Here the lay judges get a chance to question the victim and they sit in deliberation with the professional judges to decide not just guilt or innocence, but also the sentencing.

My second pet hate is… ah, I have a million and one pet hates about the cynical, and quite often flat-out racist attitudes adopted by many ex-pats in Japan regarding how badly they believe the lay judges will perform. I invite them all to use this survey to back up their prejudices, if they can.

Research results

Q1: How interested are you in television, newspaper news on criminal matters? (Sample size=2,054)

Interested (to SQ) 37.5%
Interested only in famous cases or ones involving people I know (to SQ) 47.5%
Not very interested 13.4%
Not interested at all 1.6%


Q1SQ: What kind of crime are you most interested in? (Sample size=1,745)

Murder, robbery-murder, robbery, other heinous crime 75.4%
Bribery and other corruption crimes 9.9%
Assault, injury, menacing and other violent crime 5.4%
Theft, fraud and other property crime 3.8%
Rape, indecent assault and other sexual crimes 2.7%
Other 1.5%
Don’t know 1.3%

Q2: Up to now various problems regarding the court system, procedures, decisions, etc have been highlighted. From the following list, which of the following do you agree with? (Sample size=2,054, multiple answer)

Up to now, trials have taken too long 68.6%
I cannot relate to courts, judges 47.7%
Up to now, trials have been too technical and difficult to understand 42.1%
Up to now, judgements have been against common sense 22.2%
Nothing in particular 4.3%
Other 0.7%
Don’t know 1.9%

Q3: Did you know that from 1923 to 1943 Japan had a jury system where ordinary members of the public decided on the guilt or otherwise of the the accused? (Sample size=2,054)

Yes 28.5%
No 71.5%

Q4: In many countries around the world they have systems whereby ordinary members of the public can participate in trials. Which of the following systems do you know about? (Sample size=2,054, multiple answer)

In the USA, UK, etc, members of the public discuss issues and decide on the innocence or guilt of the accused 59.1%
In Germany, France, etc, members of the public discuss issues with the judges and decide on the innocence or guilt of the accused and on the severity of the punishment 10.7%
In South Korea, members of the public discuss issues and inform judges of their opinions regarding the innocence or guilt of the accused 6.9%
Didn’t know any of the above 32.7%
Other 0.0%
Don’t know 4.8%

Q5: Do you know about the recently-introduced lay judge system for Japan? (Sample size=2,054)

Yes (to SQs) 97.4%
No 2.6%


Q5SQ1: From where did you learn about the lay judge system? (Sample size=2,000, multiple answer)

Television 95.6%
Newspapers 72.7%
Radio 13.7%
Internet 13.0%
Posters 12.4%
Magazines 11.0%
Pamphlets 7.4%
Other 1.5%
Don’t know 0.1%

Q5SQ2: Which of the following aspects of the lay judge system do you know about? (Sample size=2,000, multiple answer)

There is a possibility that any citizen over the age of twenty may be selected as a lay judge 79.1%
It started in May 2009 75.8%
Lay judges do not decide on their own, but instead together with professional judges 66.7%
Lay judges names, addresses, etc will not be disclosed 60.6%
Those with health problems, important jobs, nursing care, childrearing, and others who fid it difficult to attend courts will not be selected as lay judges 56.4%
A lay judge gets a daily allowance (up to 10,000 yen), transport fees, etc 44.6%
A lay judge doesn’t need any legal knowledge 42.9%
The chance of being selected during any one year is about 5,000 to 1 24.9%
Those who have relationships with a case, or with family involved, may not be become lay judges for that case 22.1%
The goal is to complete 70% of trials within three days 18.9%
Didn’t know any of the above 3.9%
Other 0.4%

[part 1][part 2]

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  1. August 9, 2009 @ 02:01

    [...] eingeführt. Bei whatjapanthinks.com gibt es nun Ergebnisse einer Umfrage zu eben diesem Thema (Teil 1 und Teil 2). Geschrieben von Christopher Brosch um 18:54 | Kommentare (0) | Trackbacks (0) Tags [...]