Taiwan is in the midst of a legal quagmire, ironically caused by its desire to pursue a more fair justice system. The crux of the problem is its stance on the death penalty.
According to the BBC, due to the way the laws are currently enforced, Taiwanese people can be convicted and sentenced to death with seemingly no evidence (other than coerced confessions) against them. In one case, a man was executed, despite his protestations of innocence. It was later revealed that his confession was coerced, and that another man was responsible. The government apologized to the man's family following its investigation into the incident.
Despite this alarming case,e xperts say Taiwan's judges continue to sentence defendants to death with no direct evidence, such as fingerprints or DNA. Instead, they rely heavily on what is traditionally considered hearsay evidence, such as coerced confessions and statements by co-defendants, and they further routinely accept legally insufficient evidence, including police interrogations that are not recorded or videotaped--even though the law requires recordings to discourage torture by the police.
The desire to reach a decision is getting in the way of true justice, particularly where defendants' rights are concerned.
The expiration of a moratorium on executions is clashing with a new law regarding the amount of time a defendant may be held.
Until recently there was no limit on how long defendants could be imprisoned or how many times they can be retried. In one case, a man had been detained for 23 years, and had his case retried 11 times. But a new law came into effect in May, limiting the time a defendant can be held without a final verdict to eight years. Thus, in cases where there might otherwise be insufficient evidence, rather than release defendants, judges sentence them to death.
The desire to hold someone accountable for crimes, leads the police to use pressure tactics (such as torture, etc.) to create evidence. Additionally, the ability to collect DNA evidence and recreate crime scenes, is also lagging in development.
Allegedly 70% of the country is opposed to abolishing the death penalty. Due to this reluctance, the government has stated that it will not pursue eliminating the practice. Thus, until the standards for the collection of evidence are revised or upheld, the desire to not let the accused go may force further unwarranted executions.
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