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2013年1月 7日 (月)

裁判員裁判 検証結果を制度定着に生かせ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 7, 2013)
Top court's review should lead to improved lay judge trials
裁判員裁判 検証結果を制度定着に生かせ(1月6日付・読売社説)

To ensure the lay judge system becomes well-established, it is important to steadily rectify every shortcoming that was mentioned in the latest review of the system.
 裁判員制度を定着させるためには、検証で浮かび上がった問題点を着実に改善していくことが大切である。

More than 34,000 people have so far served as lay judges or supplementary lay judges. In December, the Supreme Court compiled a review of how the citizen judge system has performed in the three years since its launch in May 2009. This was the first review of its kind.
 これまでに裁判員や補充裁判員を務めた人は、3万4000人を超える。最高裁は昨年12月、2009年5月の制度施行から3年間の実施状況について、初の検証報告をまとめた。

Lay judge trials have tended to hand down punishments that are either the same as or more severe than sentences sought by the prosecution. In particular, lay judge trials have tended to mete out heavier penalties than demanded by prosecutors in cases involving despicable sexual offenses, according to the review.
 量刑では、検察側の求刑と同じか、求刑を上回る判決の割合が増え、特に、卑劣な性犯罪事件で刑を重くする傾向が見られた。

This is probably because citizen judges have tended to draw conclusions that better reflect the sentiments of ordinary people. They are not bound by conventional trial practices in which professional judges generally hand down sentences 20 percent lighter than demanded by the prosecution.
 「求刑の8掛け」とも言われた従来の量刑にとらわれず、市民感覚を反映させた結論が導き出された結果と言えるだろう。

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Speed up pretrial arrangements

The average number of days spent on court proceedings from the start of a court session to sentencing is about six, according to the top court's review. The trial process, which took an average of about six months when carried out by only professional judges, has been greatly sped up.
 初公判から判決までの日数は、平均6日ほどだった。平均で約半年かかっていた裁判官だけの裁判の時代と比べると、大幅にスピードアップした。

On the other hand, pretrial arrangement proceedings that judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers hold before opening court hearings with the aim of narrowing down points of contention have been getting longer. In cases last year in which defendants denied the charges against them, pretrial arrangement proceedings took an average of nearly nine months, the review showed.
 一方で、初公判前に裁判官、検察官、弁護人が争点を絞り込む公判前整理手続きが長期化している。被告が起訴内容を争う事件では昨年、整理手続きだけで平均9か月近くを要した。

A certain period of time is certainly required to clarify the main points of dispute in a trial. But the longer it takes for court hearings to start, the more witnesses' memories can fade. This raises concerns that questioning in court could be impeded.
 争点を明確にするには、ある程度の準備期間は必要だ。だが、一方で、裁判がなかなか始まらないと、証人の記憶が薄れ、法廷での尋問に支障を来す恐れがある。

To correct this situation, prosecutors need to be more willing to disclose items of evidence, and defense lawyers to complete their arguments as swiftly as possible.
 検察が積極的に証拠を開示し、弁護側も主張を手早くまとめるといった努力が欠かせない。

It is also problematic that prosecutors in public hearings spend a considerable time reading out documents, including depositions by the accused.
 検察官が公判で、供述調書などの書面の読み上げに多くの時間を費やしているのも懸念材料だ。

Many people who have served as lay judges were cited in the review as saying that reading out these documents took too long and was monotonous, and that they were unable to maintain their concentration and remember what the prosecutors said.
 裁判員経験者からは「朗読は単調で、集中力が続かず、印象に残らない」との意見が多く寄せられた。

This alarming situation runs counter to the very basis of the lay judge system, which was intended to make court proceedings easier to understand for ordinary citizens.
分かりやすい裁判の実現という裁判員制度の趣旨からすると、ゆゆしき事態である。

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Lessen burden on citizen judges

We think prosecutors should focus more on substantiating their assertions primarily through testimony from the accused, witnesses and others to make it easier for lay judges to make decisions, instead of depending on documents.
 検察は書面に頼らず、被告や証人の証言を通して裁判員が判断できる立証を心がけるべきだ。

In addition, more consideration must be given to prevent citizen judges from being weighed down by their heavy workload.
 裁判員の過重な負担への配慮も大切だ。

In the trial in which the Tottori District Court on Dec. 4 gave a female defendant the death penalty for her involvement in two mysterious deaths, lay judges had to sit at a trial that lasted 75 days--the second longest since the lay judge system started.
12月4日に鳥取地裁で女性被告に死刑判決が言い渡された連続不審死事件の裁判では、裁判員の在任期間が過去2番目に長い75日間にも及んだ。

The defendant was indicted on charges of drowning two male acquaintances, but there were no direct items of evidence such as a confession by the defendant, who remained silent during questioning through the hearings.
 被告は知人男性2人を溺死させたとして起訴されたが、自白などの直接証拠はなく、検察側の質問に黙秘を続けた。

Looking back at the proceedings, one lay judge said at a news conference after the trial, "Sentencing [the defendant to death] was painful and severe." This comment indicated the citizen judges may have felt pressured to make an extremely difficult judgment.
裁判員は判決後の記者会見で「つらく重い判決だった」と振り返った。難しい判断を迫られたことがうかがえる。

To help alleviate lay judges' fatigue, courts should be considerate enough to let them take regular breaks, and show photographic evidence not in color but in black and white to lessen the psychological impact of traumatic images.
 裁判員の疲労対策として、こまめに休憩を入れる。証拠写真をカラーでなく白黒にして精神的衝撃を和らげる。裁判所にはこうした心配りが求められる。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 6, 2013)
(2013年1月6日01時21分  読売新聞)

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