38 Suffolk Transnat'l L. Rev. 281 (2015)
A Benchmark in Asian Judicial Reform: The New Korean Jury System

handle is hein.journals/sujtnlr38 and id is 309 raw text is: 





     A  BENCHMARK IN ASIAN JUDICIAL
          REFORM: THE NEW KOREAN
                     JURY SYSTEM

                          Rosa  Kim*

                      I.  INTRODUCTION

     In February of 2008, a nine-member  South Korean  jury in a
court located in the city of Daegu unanimously  convicted a 27-
year old man  of assaulting a 70-year old woman   during an at-
tempted  burglary., Defense counsel argued  for leniency by stat-
ing that the defendant had taken  the victim to the hospital and
turned himself in.2 After a two-hour deliberation, the jury rec-
ommended a suspended sentence of thirty months and eighty
hours of community   service.3 What seems like a run-of-the-mill
jury trial to those who take the jury system for granted, was mo-
mentous   for Korea4, as it was  the very first jury trial in its
history.
     The new  criminal jury trial system is an important bench-
mark   in South  Korea's  overall  process of  democratization.
Since the government  instituted its 1987 Constitution, it has en-
deavored  to bring about  comprehensive   democratic change  in
its political institutions. The drive towards creating legal and
political systems that reflect an adherence to the rule of law and
democratic  ideals has resulted in significant alterations in the ju-
dicial and legal realms. The moves  towards more  democratic-
some  would  say Western-institutions  seem inexorable, as they
have  gone hand  in hand with the rapid pace of economic devel-
opment  in the global market.

    * Professor of Legal Writing, Suffolk University Law School. The author thanks
Jessica Youngberg for her excellent and extensive research assistance, and also thanks
Alix Howie for her help in the final stages.
    1. See S. Korea Holds First Trial By Jury, BBC NEWS, (Feb 12, 2008), http:/Inews
.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/7241514.stm.
    2. Id.
    3. Id. The judge agreed with the jury, and announced a four-year suspended
sentence. See South Korea: First Trial By Jury, N.Y. TIMES, Feb. 13, 2008, available at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/world/asia/13briefs-JURY.html?_r=0. Jury ver-
dicts in Korea are advisory, not binding, as explained throughout this article. Id.
    4. All references to Korea in this article are to South Korea, also known as the
Republic of Korea.

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