Friday, November 7, 2008

Headline of the Day: 少年事件の調査報告書、簡潔に…裁判員制度で指針

Here's an interesting headline in today's Yomiuri Shimbun:

少年事件の調査報告書、簡潔に…裁判員制度で指針

= "Investigative Report on Juvenile Cases: Simplified Guidance for the Lay Juror System"

Here's the breakdown:

少年 【しょうねん】 (n) boys; juveniles
事件 【じけん】 (n) event; affair; incident; case; plot; trouble; scandal
調査報告書 【ちょうさほうこくちょ】 reconnaissance report; investigative report
簡潔 【かんけつ】 (adj-na,n) brevity; conciseness; simplicity
裁判員制度 【さいばんいんせいど】 (n) citizen judge system; lay judge system; quasi-jury system
指針 【ししん】 (n) compass needle (cursor); guideline; pointer

Here's some interesting information I found on-line about juvenile cases in the Japanese justice system:

"When a minor is accused of a serious crime, the family court can send him or her to the district public prosecutor's office to be charged and tried as an adult. In those cases, the trial is open to the public. Children under 14 cannot be charged with violating the Penal Code 刑法 【けいほう】. However, depending on the seriousness of the offense, a juvenile court can handle it as a special case and decide what sort of correction the child should go through."

(I'm guessing that the last line suggests that Juvenile Court judges have some limited power to impose quasi-criminal penalties...but the scope of such authority, if it exists, is unclear to me.)

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