Revamping the Justice System: (Re)Defining the Role of Judges in Korea's Jury Trials
12 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 3, 2017
Koreans do not trust the justice system. This distrust prompted the Korean Judicial Reform Commission to advocate the introduction of jury trials to enhance the credibility of the system. Korea’s jury system, however, has many features that still allow Korean judges to maintain and exert significant influence over the outcome. In the pre-trial stage, even after a defendant moves for a jury trial, Korean judges may decide not to honour the request and proceed instead to a bench trial. Moreover, Korean judges are able to continuously inject their opinions and conclusions because they may participate in jury deliberations. Even after trial, Korean judges may set aside a jury verdict because Korean jury verdicts are only advisory and not binding. If the judiciary really intends to enhance its credibility, it should clearly define and circumscribe the role of judges in jury trials and make way for true civil participation.
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