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Prosecutors’ and Defense Lawyers’ Views on the Challenges to a New Trial Waiver System in China

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Abstract

Recently, Chinese government implemented and tested a trial waiver system in 18 large cities during 2016–2018. Using data collected from surveys of prosecutors and defense lawyers in one of the cities, the present study examines the main challenges in the implementation by comparing prosecutor and defense lawyer views. The main issues examined include the legal scope of trial waivers, the lawyer and victim roles in trial waivers, and the risk of corruption and power abuse. The findings indicate that lawyer respondents significantly differed from prosecutor respondents in their views on the issues. Defense lawyers were more likely to adopt a liberal stance and took a critical attitude toward the issues than prosecutors were. Their characteristic responses may well reside in their legal statuses and related interests in the Chinese legal context.

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Notes

  1. See Rakoff for a review of the development of American plea bargaining system (Rakoff 2021, pp. 19–34). See Bibas (2016) for a discussion of the problems and concerns with the American plea bargaining system.

  2. http://eng.hangzhou.gov.cn/art/2021/5/31/art_1229498044_58875508.html

  3. No incentives were provided for both of prosecutors and defense lawyers for their participations in the surveys.

  4. We used SPSS box plot and residual plots to assess the potential outliers and heteroscedasticity of the index variable for OLS regression. No outliers and heteroscedasticity were found.

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Correspondence to Lening Zhang.

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The study received ethical approval from the Law School Office of Zhejiang University.

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Respondents received informed consent for their participation in the surveys.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Zhang, L., Hu, M. Prosecutors’ and Defense Lawyers’ Views on the Challenges to a New Trial Waiver System in China. Asian J Criminol 17, 175–191 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11417-021-09359-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11417-021-09359-y

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