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  • Interpretation
  • No.144
  • Date
  • 1975/12/05
  • Issue
    • If a criminal punishment which may be commuted to a fine is combined with other criminal punishments which can not be commuted to fines and, as a result of the combination, the originally commutable punishment becomes uncommutable, shall the rate of commutation of the originally commutable punishment be stated in the judgment?
  • Holding
    •        In accordance with the Criminal Code, if a criminal punishment which may be commuted to a fine is combined with other criminal punishments which can not be commuted to fines and, as a result of the combination, the originally commutable punishment becomes uncommutable, then the rate of commutation of the originally commutable punishment does not need to be stated in the judgment.
  • Reasoning
    •        According to Article 41 of the Criminal Code, criminal punishment of detention or imprisonment may be commuted to a fine only if the maximum basic punishment which may be imposed does not exceed an imprisonment of three years and the actual punishment imposed is an imprisonment for not more than six months. In the situation where punishments for several offences are combined, though one of them may be commuted to a fine, when such punishment is combined with other punishments which can not be commuted to fines, the court only have to combine the punishments of the several offences to fix the punishment to be executed.  No commutation shall be made on the originally commutable punishment.  Article 309, Subparagraph 2, of the Code of Criminal Procedure is not applicable to such situation. The interpretation of J. Y. Yuan-Tse No. 1702 which provides that “the rate of commutation does not need to be stated in the judgment” applies not only to the punishment to be executed but also to the punishment which is originally commutable to fine.  That is why the Interpretation also provides that “after the judgment becomes final, if the court further rules that part of the combined punishment shall be commuted to a fine, the ruling shall be deemed invalid”.  Even if the guilty judgments of the uncommutable offences are reversed upon appeal or the punishments are waived because of amnesty and only the originally commutable punishment remains punishable in a combined punishment judgment, the defendant or the prosecutor has the right to apply for commutation into a fine for the remaining commutable punishment if he or she thinks that practical difficulty may arise in the execution of that punishment because of the physical, educational, professional or family status of the defendant.  This has been interpreted by J.Y. Yuan Tse No. 1356.  Therefore, the court should make a proper ruling according to the law under such situation.
      
    • *Translated by David Yang and Matt Chou of Baker & McKenzie Law Offices, Taipei.
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