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2013年4月 8日 (月)

裁判員制度 国民の信頼高める見直しを

[The Yomiuri Shimbun] April 8, 2013
EDITORIAL / Improve lay judge system's reliability by conducting a thorough review
裁判員制度 国民の信頼高める見直しを(4月7日付・読売社説)

A panel of academics, legal professionals and other experts tasked by the Justice Ministry with reviewing the lay judge system has produced a draft report of its proposals. They include ways to reduce the burden of citizens named to serve as lay judges.
 裁判員制度の見直しについて、法務省の有識者検討会が報告書案をまとめた。裁判員の負担軽減などを提言している。

The Citizen Judge System Law, which came into effect in 2009, calls for the law to be reviewed, if deemed necessary, three years after its implementation.
 2009年に施行された裁判員法は付則で、必要があれば3年後に見直しを検討すると定めている。

The draft report by the panel will be used as a basis for discussions about the advisability of revising the law. The report should be effectively utilized to improve the lay judge system.
報告書案は今後、法改正のたたき台になる。制度の改善に生かしてもらいたい。

One of the report's proposals is to discuss making it obligatory for courts to ensure the privacy of victims of sex crimes. Specifically, the draft calls for courts to ensure that lay judge candidates are not given access to names, addresses or other relevant information about sex offense victims during the selection process.
 報告書案は、性犯罪被害者のプライバシー保護への配慮を裁判所に義務付けることを盛り込んだ。裁判員の選任手続きで、被害者の氏名や住所が裁判員候補者に知られないようにする。

Keep system's purpose intact

The draft also calls for a revision of the the lay judge law that would excuse citizens living in areas stricken by such natural disasters as the Great East Japan Earthquake from serving.
 東日本大震災のような大災害が発生した場合、被災地に住む裁判員候補者に対し、裁判所への呼び出し状を送付しない規定が必要だとも指摘している。

We consider these suggestions reasonable from the viewpoint of enhancing the system's reliability.
 こうした改善は、制度の信頼を高める上で妥当と言えよう。

But one proposal in the draft report is questionable. It seeks to exclude lay judges from serving in lengthy trials and suggests a new arrangement in which such trials would be handled only by professional judges.
 疑問なのは、報告書案が、長期化が見込まれる裁判を裁判員裁判の対象から外し、裁判官だけで審理する仕組みを新たに設けるよう求めている点だ。

If trials are protracted, the burden on citizen judges will naturally become heavier.
 審理期間が長くなれば、裁判員の負担が増すのは確かだ。

It is noteworthy, however, that the lay judge system was introduced to reflect the common sense of ordinary citizens in trials involving cases with a major social impact such as homicide.
 だが、そもそも裁判員制度は、殺人など社会的影響の大きな事件の裁判に、国民の判断を反映させるという趣旨で導入された。

In two separate trials at the Saitama District Court and the Tottori District Court last year, the lay judges served as long as 100 days and 75 days, respectively.
 昨年、さいたま地裁や鳥取地裁では、裁判員の任期が100日と75日に及ぶ裁判が行われた。

Some lay judges said after the rulings were handed down that the lengthy process allowed them to thoroughly discuss the case.
期間が長かったからこそ、濃密な議論が出来たと、判決後に感想を語った裁判員もいる。

When the panel made this proposal, its members were apparently thinking about trials that can take a year or more to conclude. But wouldn't this logic result in excluding cases of high interest to the public from the lay judge system?
 検討会は、除外対象として審理期間が年単位に及ぶケースを想定しているようだ。しかし、国民の関心が高い事件が結果的に除かれることにつながりはしないか。

Reduce burden on lay judges

It is important indeed to make efforts to reduce the burden of lay judges, but a step that could contravene the intent and purpose of the lay judge system would be a step backward.
 裁判員の負担軽減に配慮することは大切だが、制度の趣旨を損なっては本末転倒だ。

Sorting out evidentiary issues in pretrial discussions and being as flexible as possible about excusing lay judge candidates from serving are key to the effective operation of the system.
 公判前に争点を絞り込み、審理期間の短縮を図る。裁判員候補者の辞退を柔軟に認める。こうした運用上の工夫を可能な限り重ねることが重要である。

Yet another task that should be addressed is how to deal with the confidentiality requirement that has been statutorily imposed on lay judges.
 裁判員に課せられる守秘義務の在り方も課題だ。

The law stipulates that lay judges must keep information they obtain during trials confidential for the rest of their lives. The draft report did not address this issue.
 裁判員法は、判決を決める評議のやりとりを生涯にわたって漏らしてはいけないと定めている。報告書案は、その見直しの必要性を認めなかった。

It should be noted, however, that it would be most helpful for ordinary citizens, who can be called at any time to serve as lay judges, to hear what such duty is like directly from those who have served.
 ただ、いつ裁判員に選ばれるかわからない国民にとって、最も参考になるのは経験者の声だ。

Discussions among lay and professional judges about such matters as determining punishment must remain subject to mandatory confidentiality, but the issue of whether there may be room for reviewing the scope of confidentiality and its duration should be studied.
 量刑判断など評議の核心部分についての守秘義務は必要だとしても、その範囲や期間を見直す余地はないか、検討すべきだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 7, 2013)
(2013年4月7日01時32分  読売新聞)

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