ArtilesWhat is TranscommunalityLetters to the Editor

Get this article for print PDF or Doc

In Japan, Former PRCS Vice-President Kiichi Hirayama has agreed to contact the officials of AGJF and SMCAGJ to engage in trans-continental exchanges of information regarding civic participation on grand juries between the U.S. and Japan.38 The PRCS and its certified chapters in Japan have been extremely active in promoting educational programs, speaker’s series, their own symposiums and town meetings, and participating in activities of other organizations that also advocate the importance of lay participation in legal decision making. The present author worked closely with Mr. Hirayama and other key representatives of PRCS chapters in eleven Japanese prefectures. In order to understand the effectiveness of their activities, Mr. Hirayama and I conducted surveys in 2006 to examine the experience and perceptions of grand jury duties and solicited suggestions for the up-coming quasi-jury trial which begins in 2009. The study found that the experience of jury service leads to a heightened sense of civic responsibilities and greater participation in other civic duties.39

One exciting development in other nations that have adopted the popular legal participatory system is the emergence of similar grassroots organizations to disseminate educational functions of deliberative experiences of performing civic duties including jury service. Harvard Law Professor Martha Minow, in stressing the importance of transcommunality as espoused by Professor John Brown Childs, argues the function of sharing group-based harms and oppression without falling into confusions, fragmentation, and thus mistakes of identity politics.40 The effort to establish the transcommunal alliance through the mutual and cross-national expression on the importance of deliberative experiences as lay judges would not suffer from such identity politics. The transcommunal establishment of those grassroots organizations further increases the public awareness of civic responsibilities and may lead to the creation of the effective system of civic oversight of their governments.

Our survival as conscientious citizens of the world may depend on the establishment of the transcommunal alliance of those emerging grassroots organizations that function as the important popular check on judicial and political power of the government. In the near future, the transcommunal project involving similar grassroots organizations will strengthen the global effort to elevate and transform ordinary citizens into political activists and intellectuals.

References:
  1. de Tocqueville, Alexis. 1862. Democracy in America, (London: Longman, Green, Langman, & Roberts, pp.334-37.
  2. R v. Mallah [2005] NSWSC 317 (21 April 2005).
  3. “What is the Justice for Jack Campaign,” at http://www.justice4jack.com/ (last visited on October 20, 2007).
  4. Peter Finn, “Russian homeland no haven for ex-detainees, activists say,” Washington Post, September 3, 2006, A14
  5. Finn, Peter. 2006. “Russian homeland no haven for ex-detainees, activists say,” Washington Post, September 3, A14.
  6. Abdullaev, Nabi. 2006. “A jury is a better bet than a judge,” Moscow Times, June 1.
  7. “Russia’s New Counter-Terrorism Law"
  8. Braddock, John. 2006. “An attack on democratic rights: New Zealand man jailed for sedition,” World Socialist Web Site, July 25, available at http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/jul2006/sedi-j25.shtml (last visited on October 22, 2007).
  9. Abboud, A. 2005. “Group accused of aiding terrorists acquitted in U.S. court,” http://usinfo.state.gov/dhr/Archive/2005/Dec/08-249862.html (last visited on October 22, 2007).
  10. Kay, Joe. 2005. “Palestinian activist Sami Al-Arian acquitted on charges in Florida,” World Socialist Web Site, December 8, available at http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/dec2005/aria-d08.shtml (last visited on October 26, 2007).
  11. Vidmar, Neil. 2006. “Trial by jury involving persons accused of terrorism,” Duke Law School Working Paper Series, p.20. The jury, however, could not reach consensus on other lesser charges.
  12. “U.S. jury acquits two men of Hamas conspiracy,” 2007, Reuters AlertNet, available at http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N01356156.htm (last visited October 22, 2007)
  13. Trahan, Jason and Michael Grabell. 2007. “Judge declares mistrial in Holy Land Foundation Case,” Dallas Morning News, October 22.
  14. Krikorian, Greg. 2007. “Mistrial in Holy Land terrorism financing case,” Los Angeles Times, October 23, available at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-na-holyland23oct23,0,1540715.story?coll=la-home-center (last visited on October 26, 2007).
  15. The Taiwanese government has been debating the possible introduction of the Japanese style mixed court system.
  16. On November 12, 2001, the Venezuelan legislature stopped the jury courts.
  17. Munger, Frank. 2006. “The formation of legal consciousness among Thai citizens,” a paper presented at the symposium, “Citizen Participation in East Asian Legal Systems,” at Cornell University School of Law in September 23.
  18. Trochev, Alexei. 2006. “Fabricated evidence and fair jury trials,” Russian Analytical Digest, June 20, p.7 (“205 out of 1,160 defendants in 600 cases” were acquitted).
  19. Id supra note 5.
  20. Id supra note 5, p.9.
  21. Thaman, Stephen. 2001-2002. “Japan’s new system of mixed courts: Some suggestions regarding their future form and procedures,” Saint Louis-Warsaw TransAtlantic Law Journal, 89-90.
  22. Id.
  23. Frank Ching, “The jury is in,” South China Morning Post, February 28, 2003.
  24. Moore, Lloyd. 1975. The Jury. W.H. Anderson.
  25. Id.
  26. San Mateo County Association of Grand Jurors, see http://www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/smcagj/mission.html (last visited on October 22, 2007).
  27. Daiijiro Yasuda, One Aspect of Criminal Justice in Japan: Confession, Table 1, www.law.usyd.edu.au/anjel/documents/23Feb2005Conf/Yasuda2005_OneAspectOfCriminalJusticeInJapan.pdf (Feb. 2005). In 2003, while a total of 67 cases resulted in not guilty verdicts, 78,364 cases resulted in guilty verdicts (translating to a 99.91% conviction rate) in Japan’s district courts. For summary courts, the conviction rate was 99.85% in 2003.
  28. Kensatsu Shinsakai Ho [Prosecutorial Review Commission Law], Law No. 147, art. 37 (1948) [hereinafter PRC Law]. The content of the PRC Law is available on the government web page, Kensatsu Shinsakai Ho (June 2006), http://law.e-gov.go.jp/htmldata/S23/S23HO147.html.
  29. PRC Law, art. 35.
  30. Id.
  31. Id. art. 38
  32. The main difference between (2) “non-indictment is improper” and (3) “indictment is proper” is that the former resolution is a request for another formal investigation of the case to reconsider the non-prosecution, while the latter is the recommendation to immediately initiate the formal prosecution of the case.
  33. PRC Law art. 27.
  34. Id. art. 40.
  35. John B. Childs, 1994, “Identity politics: The value of transcommunal identity politics,” Z magazine, at http://www.zmag.org/zmag/zarticle.cfm?Url=articles/july94childs.htm (last visited September 5, 2007).
  36. Childs, John Brown. 2003. Transcommunality: From the Politics of Conversion to the Ethics of Respect. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, p.10.
  37. Id.
  38. The author interviewed Mr. Kiichi Hirayama at the Annual Meeting of the Research Group on Jury Trial (“Baishin Saiban o Kangaeru Kai” at Toyo University in Tokyo, Japan, on August 6, 2007.
  39. Fukurai, Hiroshi. 2007. “The rebirth of Japan’s petit quasi-jury and grand jury systems: A cross-national analysis of legal consciousness and the lay participatory experience in Japan and the U.S.,” Cornell International Law Journal 40: 315-354.
  40. Martha Minow, 1996, “Not only for myself: Identity, politics, and law,” 75 Or. L. Rev. 647. She provides six strategies to overcome the fragmentations of identify politics, while making transcommunality possible, including (1) debates over reparations for past harms, (2) acknowledgments in settings of as yet unrecognized histories, (3) exploration of strategies that permit people to choose their own temporary affiliations, (4) experimentation with achieving governmental ends by neither reiterating group-based categories nor ignoring them, (5) expanding opportunities for artistic expression and participation, and (6) aggressive challenges to continuing group-based harms.

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4

Who We AreStatement of PurposeArticle SubmissionContact Us
Copyright Info