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(釋字第 572 號 )      友善列印PRINT  
Interpretation
J.Y.
Interpretation
NO.572 
Date 2004/2/6
Issue Is there sufficient ground to constitute a concrete reasoning for the objective belief that a statute violates the Constitution when the petitioner only has doubts or when the statute at issue may possibly be reconciled with the requirement for requesting a constitutional interpretation?
Holding   When deciding a case, if the judge reasonably believes that the applicable statute may conflict with the Constitution, each instance of court should regard this as a prerequisite issue, suspend the litigation procedures, provide concrete reasoning of its objective belief that the statute violates the Constitution, and petition the Grand Justices for constitutional interpretation pursuant to J.Y. Interpretation No. 371. The matter, when the court presiding over the pending case believes that the law at issue violates the Constitution and may clearly affect the ruling of the case, is called the “prerequisite issue”. “To provide concrete reasons for objectively believing the unconstitutionality of the statute” signifies that in the petition, the petitioning court is required to describe in detail its interpretation of the statute that violates the Constitution, explain the standard used to interpret the Constitution, and accordingly, provide evidence that it believes the statute is unconstitutional and is objectively without obvious mistakes. If the petitioner only has doubts about whether the statute is unconstitutional or the statute may possibly be reconciled with the requirement for requesting a constitutional interpretation, this is not sufficient to constitute concrete reasons for objectively believing that the statute is unconstitutional. This Yuan hereby provides supplemental interpretation for J.Y. Interpretation No. 371.
Reasoning   The petitioner claims in this petition that Article 271, Paragraph 1, of the Criminal Code should be applied during the appeal of Keelung 92-Felony Case, No. 6 murder case et al. in the district court of Keelung, Taiwan, in 2003. Furthermore, the content of Criminal Code, Article 33, Subparagraph 3, conflicts with Articles 7, 15, and 23 of the Constitution and other constitutional principles. The petitioner requests constitutional interpretation pursuant to J.Y. Interpretation No. 371 and the immediate invalidity of 15 years as maximum sentence. Hence, when each instance of court is deciding on the term of imprisonment, the judge could pronounce a long-term liberal sentence, ranging from 20 to 50 years and assert that parole is not applicable to life imprisonment, etc. ranging from 20 to 50 years and assert that parole is not applicable to life imprisonment, etc. In this petition, this Yuan has the authority to provide supplemental interpretation for J.Y. Interpretation No. 371 as addressed below.

  According to the interpretation of J.Y. Interpretation No. 371, each instance of court could set as prerequisite issue whether the statute applied to reach the judgment violates the Constitution and then decide to suspend litigation procedure and petition for constitutional interpretation. “Prerequisite issue” entails a matter when the court presiding over the pending case believes that the statute violates the Constitution, and may clearly affect the ruling of the case. If the statute has been amended or abolished, and a new statute is applicable to the case; or when the facts are so ambiguous that it would be unable to verify whether the statute is applicable, it would be difficult to determine whether such statute is unconstitutional and it becomes the prerequisite issue in the ruling of the pending case. According to the petition, this Yuan makes the following interpretation: Even if this Yuan interprets that the content of the Criminal Code, Article 33, Subparagraph 3, conflicts with the Constitution, based on the protection of human rights, the Sentencing Act, and the Principle of New and Lenient Criminal Punishment, the constitutional interpretation, however, does not allow the defendant of the pending criminal case to receive an additional aggravated sentence. The court of the pending case shall rule according to the current statute that is favorable to the defendant. Whether the statute violates the Constitution, naturally, has no influence on the ruling. Moreover, whether life imprisonment involves parole is not applicable to the pending case. Accordingly, this part of the petition does not correspond with the above said condition, and should be denied.

  In addition, J.Y. Interpretation No. 371 states that the petitioning court “propose concrete reasons for objectively believing the unconstitutionality of the statute.” In the petition, the petitioning court should describe in detail its interpretation of the statute that violates the Constitution, explain the standard used to interpret the Constitution, and accordingly, provide evidence that it believes the statute is unconstitutional and is objectively without obvious mistakes. If the petitioner only has doubts about whether the statute violates the Constitution or the statute may possibly be reconciled with the requirement for requesting constitutional interpretation, it is not sufficient to constitute a concrete reason for objectively believing that the statute is unconstitutional. It is hereby clarified that the concrete reasons provided in the petition, explaining how Article 33, Subparagraph 3, of the Criminal Code, which concerns a liberal sentence as the upper limit, conflicts with Articles 7, 15, and 23 of the Constitution, and objectively believing that the statute is unconstitutional, is not sufficient.

' Translated by Wei-Feng Huang of THY Taiwan International Law Offices.
Opinion
(Files)
Chinese only
 

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