crime

Japan eyes introducing plea bargain on June 1

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It isn't plea bargains that lead to false confessions and charges against innocent people, it is the lack of the right to a lawyer during questioning, the ability of the police to hold a suspect for close to a month, and the lack of a requirement that interrogations be recorded.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

This will mean that forced confessions become a legal part of the Japanese judicial system. Fantastic!

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Make up a story to put the finger on someone else and get a reduced sentence. That is not justice,

9 ( +11 / -2 )

How long has Kagoike been in jail without being charged now? Five or six months? Forced confessions, no lawyer during questioning, no audiovisual recording; these things should have been dealt with before this. Also, as everyone knows, this will be used to fit up those whose politics don't match those of the government.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Bargain of justice.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This will be abused on a scale we cannot even imagine.

I won't even ask a cop here for directions, never mind if I actually needed their assistance.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

investigators claimed the recording will make it hard for them to obtain statements of suspects

What this means is that it will make it hard for them to FORCE CONFESSIONS out of suspects. I cannot comprehend how this argument was even allowed to be made. If what you are doing is within the boundaries of the law, then there should be no qualms with recording it.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

On the fence with this one. Plea bargains are what has caused America's justice system to be one of the most corrupt and least fair on Earth. Many innocent people would prefer to take a plea bargain rather than go through years of court and hundreds of thousands in legal costs, as well as being presumed guilty by everyone you know

1 ( +2 / -1 )

dcog9065

I'd like to think I'd have the strength of character to ride out their interrogation rather than serve one day in a jail if I were innocent. Truth is, who knows what they'll do to force a confession.

The J. justice system is what I'd expect in some despot country (no examples :)

It's wrong on every level. You really need to walk a straight line here more than any other country I have visited.

No bail...No lawyer...No record audio or video (That I know of) and what's it?... they can hold you for 23 days straight!!?

How can any of that be right?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

In America, the use of 'plea bargains' has resulted in massive injustices, and no diminishing of 'organized crime', 'gangs', murders, or anything else positive.

It has lead to a large population of innocent civilians (too poor, too discriminated against, or just unlucky) languishing for months, even years, without a shred of evidence being presented in court, facing the unenviable choice of pleading guilty for something that they are innocent of so they can go home that day, or further detention in the WORST of America's notoriously violent, unsafe jails with no end date in sight (Oh, they are 'technically' only being held for a short time, because only the time the judge and prosecutors agree to put off starting the trial again, and again, and again, is counted, not the actual weeks, or even months, before the innocent accused is once again asked to say guilty) while the actually guilty often end up basically free for similar lengths of time, before their ill gotten resources leverage massively reduced charges out of the prosecutors who are rated and promoted on the number of convictions, not the justice of either conviction or sentence.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Plea bargain, what for? So they can get their suspended sentences even faster?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@afanofjapanToday 10:20 am JST

What this means is that it will make it hard for them to FORCE CONFESSIONS out of suspects. I cannot comprehend how this argument was even allowed to be made. If what you are doing is within the boundaries of the law, then there should be no qualms with recording it.

For what it is worth, their argument goes something like this. First, yes OK we concede there have been incidents, but they are just that, dots. We should be very cautious about changing a system that is working pretty well just to eradicate dots.

Second, most interrogations (they claim) work by the prosecutor slowly convincing the suspect to make a confession. In the process, the prosecutor also opens up some of himself to establish some level of rapport. This will be made much harder if both sides know everything is going to be taped. (Some studies in America suggest that people don't mind the camera, which is a hard one to believe on its face, and in any case the culture is different in Japan, as is the amount of time allowed and other factors which are sufficient to cast grave doubt on the direct applicability of American studies).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As others have said, because the legal system is so medieval here I make it my policy to have absolutely ZERO to do with the J-cops , including even asking for directions or interacting socially with them outside work (one of my wife's friends is married to a nosey-parker cop and I avoid socialising with them like the plague).

2 ( +4 / -2 )

No bail...No lawyer...No record audio or video (That I know of) and what's it?... they can hold you for 23 days straight!!?

Not sure about 23days, i was threatenened with 48hours if i didnt sign a false statement tied to a chair in pain. No english translation. No recording. Dont jaywalk. Just be good.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Had a mate did close to a month. Didn't throw the first punch. Could be argued he was defending himself. Cops didn't see it that way.

The other guy....Japanese, he went home the same day.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Basically its a gamble. You admit to something you may or may not have done for a guarantee of a lesser sentence in the fear you may be found guilty of something you didnt do and get a higher sentence. Welcome to the corrupt shambolic American judicial system.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan is trying to catch up with the Chinese ?

Presumed Guilty, Forced into a Plea bargin, subsequently deported without appeal, Life with a false criminal record.... this doesn't bode well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 the prosecutor also opens up some of himself to establish some level of rapport

This is something I've never been able to understand, and we see it all the time in situations where there is a gigantic power disparity. Interrogators claiming that interrogations can't be recorded because they won't be able to develop a bind between themselves and their questionees. Bullies claiming (there was one last week) that they can somehow "shorten the distance" between themselves and their victims by behaving the way they do. Are they trying to establish some kind of sadomasochistic relationship in which the vistim feels dependent on his abuser?

If I were being questioned in a situation like this, the last thing I would want is the interrogator trying to "establish rapport" or some kind of bond with me. Such a bond is not possible when the power disparity is that great. I would instead want totally transparent, totally "dry" proceedings, preferably overseen by a neutral third party. I'm not interested in any kind of close relationship with someone who has that much power over me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ThonTaddeoToday 09:19 pm JST

Of course YOU don't want to establish a rapport with the guy. You want a lawyer. However, the aim of a police interrogator is to get a true, useful confession without resorting to violence or other means deemed excessively infringing to the suspect's rights.

And if establishing a rapport, even if it may be a quasi-rapport or Stockholm Syndrome rapport over 2-3 weeks is the way to get it, how can a government be convinced to force unconditional recording or, for example, allowing lawyers or forcing interrogations to be completed within 48 hours?

I'll also point out that everything may not roll the defendant's way, because while a lot of forensic science and groundwork may help form the actus rea, we have not developed usable mind reading technology. So without a realistic chance of getting a confession, we'll be left either with using very circumstantial clues to prejudge the defendant's mens rea, or we start having offenses with strict liability or all the offenses have their average and maximum penalties moved upwards.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If a person is arrested in Japan they must be procduced before a judge within 48 hours.

Logically, all the evidence against the defendant should be produced to the judge and the defendant given the opportunity to state their case (or their version of events).

A judge should be able to then make a judgement, certainly with minor infractments.

It seems to.me that over the years something has gone wromg here. These judges seem to serve little or no purpose and just remand the defendant for 10 days.

Really, the first interview the police have with the defendant should be taped and this in turn given to the judge within 48 hours in order for him to make a decision.

Judges should be acting as judges, and not bureaucrats. It is the prosecutor who is the bureaucrat.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

Thank you for an insight into the 'other side' of the argument.

I agree that the system may work for many cases where the suspect is guilty. But the problem is that these 'dots' are literally ruining people's lives. And on top of that, career criminals, the ones we actually want to see behind bars, are the ones that can laugh through 23 days of questioning and not confess to anything.

It is now known that it is possible to implant memories into people using manipulation techniques (look up memory implantation); recording the interrogation is the only way to ensure this is not what the police are doing.

The lack of an effective appeals process, and the fact that such a confession stops all other investigations (i.e. no amount of evidence supporting the suspect's innocence can trump a confession obtained under duress), is the reason why Japan's legal system is slammed by human rights organizations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki & afanofjapan

I can see what both are saying here. I think where the Rule of Law has gone wrong in Japan is that (as I have said above) judges have become bureaucrats, and bureaucrats (prosecutor) have become judges.

The initial police interrogation is what needs to be recorded.

23 days for a person to be held without a charge, (and just rubber stamped by a judge) is really unacceptable in a constitutional democracy such as Japans now advanced level.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

 However, the aim of a police interrogator is to get a true, useful confession without resorting to violence or other means deemed excessively infringing to the suspect's rights.

Kazuaki, this is absolutely not the aim of a police interrogator or of an investigation in general. The aim is to determine whether the detainee should be formally accused of a crime in court. If the detainee is guilty, then a confession makes that case simpler, but the confession in and of itself is absolutely not the goal. Unfortunately far too many police investigators think that it is.

The fact that people like yourself presuppose that questionees are guilty and then discuss how to conduct investigations so that proof of their guilt can be obtained most expediently is, in my view, part of the problem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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