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2014年5月22日 (木)

裁判員制度5年 精神的負担をどう軽減するか

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:58 pm, May 21, 2014
Lay judges deserve assistance with psychological, professional burdens
裁判員制度5年 精神的負担をどう軽減するか

Wednesday marked exactly five years since the introduction of Japan’s lay judge system.
 裁判員制度がスタートしてから、21日で5年を迎えた。

More than 49,000 lay judges and supplementary lay judges have sat on the bench over these five years, issuing decisions in cases involving about 6,400 defendants.
 4万9000人以上が裁判員や補充裁判員を務め、6400人の被告に判決が言い渡された。

By and large, the system has been smoothly managed and has served its purpose of reflecting the will of the common people in criminal trials. There has been, so far, no major confusion in the proceedings of the lay judge trials.
 市民感覚を刑事裁判に反映させようという制度は、大きな混乱もなく、おおむね順調に運用されている。

We hope that professional judges, prosecutors and defense counsel will work to ensure the system is more firmly established among the public, a task that demands thorough measures to ensure each hearing is conducted in an easy-to-understand manner. This may be made possible by, for example, making better use of witness examinations.
裁判官、検察官、弁護士は、証人尋問を活用するなど、わかりやすい審理を徹底し、制度の一層の定着を図ってもらいたい。

A noticeable evolution in criminal trials since the adoption of the lay judge system has been the greater severity of penalties imposed on the defendants.
 裁判員裁判になって、変化が見られるのが量刑だ。

The rulings of career judges from before the system was introduced were comparatively lenient. It had been said that judges tended to hand down sentences about 80 percent as severe as what prosecutors called for. However, the lay judge system has produced over 40 cases in which sentencing exceeded the prosecutors’ demands.
 裁判官裁判の時代には、量刑は「求刑の8がけ」などと呼ばれたが、裁判員裁判では、検察の求刑を上回る判決が40件を超える。

The tendency of lay judges to hand down harsher penalties in cases involving sex crimes or child abuse seems to indicate their belief that such despicable crimes should be punished severely.
 性犯罪や児童虐待で刑を重くする傾向があるのは、卑劣な犯罪には厳しい刑を科すべきだという裁判員の意識の表れだろう。

There have also arisen questions about the degree to which sentencing decisions by lay judges should be respected.  裁判員の量刑判断をどこまで尊重すべきかという問題も浮き彫りになってきている。

The Tokyo High Court has overturned three death sentences handed down by lay judges, instead sentencing the defendants to life imprisonment. Two of those cases involved the killing of a single person, a crime for which few career judges would have turned to the death penalty.
 東京高裁は、裁判員裁判の死刑判決3件を破棄し、被告を無期懲役とした。うち2件は裁判官裁判では死刑が選択されることの少ない、被害者1人の事件だった。

These cases seem to imply that the lay judges who examined the cases decided there was scant possibility that the defendants could be rehabilitated, given the viciousness and brutality of their offenses. This conclusion apparently prompted them to opt for the death penalty.
 裁判員裁判は、犯行の悪質性や残虐性から被告の更生可能性は乏しいと判断し、死刑とした。一方、裁判官だけの控訴審は、同種事件で過去に死刑の適用がないことから極刑を回避した。

Lay judges vs precedent

When the cases were brought before the high court, they were reviewed exclusively by career judges. The court apparently decided not to sentence the defendants to death, noting that the death sentence had not been applied in previous cases similar to the three.
 先例踏襲の高裁の姿勢には、国民の意見を生かす制度の趣旨が損なわれるとの批判がある。

Some critics have said that the high court’s stance of seeking to follow precedent would undermine the objective of adopting the lay judge system as a means of reflecting the opinions of the public in criminal trials. However, it should be recognized that if the penalty imposed by the high court on the three cases greatly differed from the severity of the sentences given to similar cases in the past, the fairness of our nation’s judicial system could be put to question. It is important that higher courts should serve as a watchdog responsible for examining the appropriateness of sentences handed down under the lay judge system.
 ただ、過去の裁判と著しく量刑が異なれば、司法の公平性の面で問題が生じよう。上級審がチェック機能を果たすことが大切だ。

Another major task in improving the system will be to reduce the psychological burdens on lay judges.
 今後の大きな課題は、裁判員の精神的な負担の軽減である。

Some lay judges were seriously disturbed by grim color photos of bodies they had to examine during trials. Prosecutors should present cases in a manner that would better consider the feelings of lay judges by, for instance, using black-and-white photos and illustrations.
 凄惨せいさんな遺体のカラー写真を見て、精神的ショックを受けた裁判員もいる。検察官には、白黒写真やイラストを使うなど、裁判員に配慮した立証が求められる。

After passing judgment, a considerable number of lay judges have agonized over whether their decisions were correct.
 裁判終了後、自らの判断が正しかったのかどうか、思い悩む裁判員経験者は少なくない。

Courts of justice across the nation provide consultation services for lay judges free of charge. In light of the situation, some career judges have sought to contact people who sat as lay judges, looking to see whether they are experiencing psychological hardship. Measures should be taken to provide optimal care for lay judges.
 裁判所は無料の相談窓口を設けている。裁判員経験者の精神状態に問題がないか、連絡をとって確かめる裁判官もいる。きめ細かなケアをさらに充実させたい。

It is also worrying to see that increasing numbers of people are declining to serve as lay judges after being appointed by lottery. Between January and March of this year, fully 66 percent declined. As circumstances stand today, lay judges spend an average of nine days examining a case. Among those who have refused to serve may be a number of people who cite business obligations as a reason for their decision.
 裁判員の辞退率が高まっていることも気がかりだ。今年1~3月は66%に上った。平均審理日数は現在、9日間だ。仕事の都合で辞退した人は多いだろう。

Measures must be taken to ensure that people find it easier to serve as lay judges. For example, corporations should be encouraged to grant employees flexible leave so they can participate in lay judge trials. Doing so is essential for the system to take root in society.
 会社が柔軟に休暇を認めるなど、裁判員が参加しやすい環境整備が制度の定着には不可欠だ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 21, 2014)

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