Lay Judge System and Social Bias

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Booth 59
Oral Presentation
Yoshimi KAKIMOTO , Faculty of literature, Nara Women's University, Nara-shi, Japan
Should Court respect the judgment of lay judges when the lay judges had not enough knowledge concerning to a specific psychological conditions or a disorder caused by mental disabilities?  

 This presentation aims to clarify the necessity to overcome prejudges of lay judges and to suggest the importance of supports of lay judges in order to avoid a social-based decision.

For long time, Japanese people have been used to the point of view that law system and judgment of Court are constraint to citizens. It seems difficult to imagine that a lay judge can join the procedure to drafting a law or to make a judgment of the Court. Creation of lay judge system changed the relation between Court and people.

After three years of the creation, however, some problems of this system have been progressively clarified. There are some criminal cases that lay judges demanded heavier punishment than the demand of public prosecutor. There are several reasons about it: the social demand to reflect on the sentiment and the damage of the victim and people concerned, the influence of the social norm and prejudice between lay judges, and so on.

We trace here the judgment of Osaka District Court concerning to a murder caused by a man with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In this case, the Court made a judgment of 20 years of imprisonment beyond the demand of the public prosecutor. The judgment is derived from the misunderstanding that the society has not any institution or facility where accepts an ex-convict with mental disabilities. The judgment based on the misunderstanding concerning to ADHD makes us to notice the necessity of the support for the lay judges when the specific knowledge is needed to examine the case.