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South Korean ex-president Lee ordered back to prison for 17 years

21 Comments
By Jung Yeon-je

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This is why the USA has a Double Jeopardy amendment.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

A deterrent "pour encourager les autres"

But Trump need not tremble: Americans wrap their corrupt and criminal presidents in a teflon-lined cotton wool cocoon.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The ruling is not subject to further appeal and at age 78 means Lee is likely to die in prison unless he receives a presidential pardon.

All four of South Korea's living former presidents are either behind bars or have served jail terms -- often as a result of investigations begun under successors who are political rivals.

Holy Smokes! Don't be a politician in SK!!! A lot different than the kid gloves treatment and suspended sentences that Japanese politicians get.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

u_s__reamerToday 02:58 pm JST

A deterrent "pour encourager les autres"

Doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent if 4 in a row have been busted for corruption.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This is why the USA has a Double Jeopardy amendment.

This isn't something double jeopardy would apply to. Double jeopardy means you can't be convicted twice for the same crime you committed. In this case though he has only been convicted once. He was simply released on bail while appealing that conviction and, having lost, is going to prison to complete his original sentence, at no point was he re-prosecuted for the same act. The same thing can happen in the US system.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This isn't something double jeopardy would apply to. Double jeopardy means you can't be convicted twice for the same crime you committed. In this case though he has only been convicted once. He was simply released on bail while appealing that conviction and, having lost, is going to prison to complete his original sentence, at no point was he re-prosecuted for the same act. The same thing can happen in the US system.

I may not get all the details on the President Lee's case but my point is broader. South Korean Presidents, except one guy, have been routinely prosecuted in courts by their political opponents. The Supreme Court in the US interpreted the 5th Amendment as an important device to prevent political parties in the USA abusing their power to trial their opponents in courts. That's my main point, you can't abuse your political power to jail your political opponents, as in South Korea (too many times to count!).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The Supreme Court in the US interpreted the 5th Amendment as an important device to prevent political parties in the USA abusing their power to trial their opponents in courts. 

You literally have no clue about the US legal system, the precedents involved, or even the US Constitution, do you?

The 5th Amendment: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Nothing in that applies to political parties, etc. The only possible way to stretch the 5th to include your ridiculous assertions is if you bring up that Grand Juries must be included, but in most indictments in the SK cases, Grand Juries or juries in general are involved in the whole process as well.

There is literally nothing in your assertions about the American system that prevents the indictments and jailing of former Presidents or politicians beyond a general understanding of 'executive immunity/privilege' which has limits as Nixon and others found out.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I may not get all the details on the President Lee's case but my point is broader. South Korean Presidents, except one guy, have been routinely prosecuted in courts by their political opponents. The Supreme Court in the US interpreted the 5th Amendment as an important device to prevent political parties in the USA abusing their power to trial their opponents in courts. That's my main point, you can't abuse your political power to jail your political opponents, as in South Korea (too many times to count!).

That is a fair point. I'm not an expert on the US constitution, but its probably the protection of due process right that is at work there, not "double jeopardy" (which wouldn't protect a politician from being prosecuted after a change in power, it would only protect them from being prosecuted twice).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Back on topic please.

You literally have no clue about the US legal system, the precedents involved, or even the US Constitution, do you?

I am not a lawyer but I have been aware of various Constitutional interpretations by various experts. One of the interpretations is the historical intention of Founding Fathers to prevent political parties abusing the legal prosecution to get rid of their political opponents.

Nothing in that applies to political parties, etc. The only possible way to stretch the 5th to include your ridiculous assertions is if you bring up that Grand Juries must be included, but in most indictments in the SK cases, Grand Juries or juries in general are involved in the whole process as well.

You seriously have a reading issue. I clearly stated "interpreted" because the US Constitution acts as guidelines for politicians passing laws. A guideline can provide many interpretations for future legal procedures. I am talking about the broader scheme behind the 5th Amendment, not the specific legal aspects. I didn't say that the Constitution is too specific to state "no political backstabbing".

There is literally nothing in your assertions about the American system that prevents the indictments and jailing of former Presidents or politicians beyond a general understanding of 'executive immunity/privilege' which has limits as Nixon and others found out.

Like I said, the US Constitution is more of a guideline. The 5th Amendment is interpreted as a way to prevent political parties using their political power to prosecute their opponents. For example, Dana Rohrabacher was supposed to have Russian ties and support, yet the Democrats didn't prosecute him on a sham trial because they do not have necessary evidences - it can take years to do so! Meanwhile, the act of prosecuting or putting your political opponents on multiple trials, based on various accusations, happens at every democracy at every time. Most of the accusations are unfounded and unproven, yet many politicians were forced into many trials because their political opponents in power really hate them.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Its not the constitution in the US that protects against what happens in South Korea, its really just a norm that has been observed but could just as easily be ignored. Richard Nixon is the closest parrallel to South Korea's Presidents as he had committed crimes while in office and could have been prosecuted after resigning. He wasn't protected by the Constitution but rather by a decision of his successor to pardon him basically for pragmatic political reasons.

No similar norm operates in South Korea it would seem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its not the constitution in the US that protects against what happens in South Korea, its really just a norm that has been observed but could just as easily be ignored. Richard Nixon is the closest parrallel to South Korea's Presidents as he had committed crimes while in office and could have been prosecuted after resigning. He wasn't protected by the Constitution but rather by a decision of his successor to pardon him basically for pragmatic political reasons.

No similar norm operates in South Korea it would seem.

David Varnes misinterprets what I was originally discussing. I was saying that the Supreme Court and various legal experts interpret the 5th Amendment as some sort of defensive mechanisms against political fightings. Not the Constitution specifically says it prohibits political fighting between parties.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A bit of a pattern here in South Korea. Wonder if Moon is headed that way eventually.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak has been harshly punished as a warning/example to others.

Bribery and embezzlement, Lee Myung-bak only has himself to blame.

The political implications, Roh was the political mentor of incumbent President Moon Jae-in, could have influenced the verdict? That's speculative.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@OssanJapan

Wonder if Moon is headed that way eventually.

Moon will be fine, as none of Korea's liberal presidents(Kim Dae Jung, Roh Moo Hyun) were charged with corruption.

Roh wasn't charged with corruption himself, it was his wife and Roh committed suicide to protect his wife who took a million dollars behind Roh's bac and stop the investigation.

The ethical standard of being a politician is much much higher in Korea than in Japan.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

@itsonlyrocknroll

Roh was the political mentor of incumbent President Moon Jae-in, could have influenced the verdict? 

Nope. Korea has a very clear separation of powers, executive cannot influence the judiciary in any way.

This is what Abe/Suga didn't understand and demanded Moon to overturn the Korean supreme court verdict on forced laborers damage trials, a practice widely done in Japan but impossible in Korea.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

The most shocking part of the story, to me, is that all four of South Korea's living former presidents are either behind bars or have served jail terms. I don't care who initiated the legal cases, but the very fact that the last four presidents served or are serving time isn't a compliment to South Korea.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This exemplifies the fact that the Korean war has actually never ended, not only between the North and South/US, but also within the South itself, which was the site of horrific massacres and suppression prior to the start of the actual war...and led to the war itself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The 5th Amendment is interpreted as a way to prevent political parties using their political power to prosecute their opponents. For example, Dana Rohrabacher was supposed to have Russian ties and support, yet the Democrats didn't prosecute him on a sham trial because they do not have necessary evidences - it can take years to do so!

That isn't in the 5th Amendment. It is because of the legal principles that one is innocent until proven guilty, the burden of proof is on the accuser which forces the accusers to produce sufficient evidence to convince a jury the accused is guilty and the principle that a criminal conviction requires proof "beyond a shadow of a doubt".

There is also a general reluctance in US politics to avoid fratricide or to engage in retributory prosecutions as that can cut both ways.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The odds are that the current Moon will also end up behind bars. No tears if that happens

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@tooheysnew

The odds are that the current Moon will also end up behind bars. No tears if that happens

Yes. There are many people who believe like you in both Japan and Korea. But, Moon is historically the cleanest president in S. Korea. Under the former president Park, prosecutors tried hard to find any wrongdoing of Moon, but they gave up after realizing that it is virtually impossible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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