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  • Interpretation
  • No.263
  • Date
  • 1990/07/19
  • Issue
    • Does the mandatory death penalty, as stipulated in the Robbery Punishment Act, violate the Constitution?
  • Holding
    •        Article 2, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 9, of the Robbery Punishment Act, which is a special criminal law, imposes a mandatory death penalty on those who commit kidnapping with the intention of receiving ransom regardless of the details and results of their crimes. This penalty is very rigorous. However, according to Article 8 of the same Statute, a judge, upon determining that the penalty is too severe to be applied to a certain case, may apply to Article 59 of the Criminal Code to reduce the penalty. The penalty on those who release victims without taking ransom, according to Article 347, Paragraph 5, of the Criminal Code, may also be reduced. Both of them can avoid rigorous penalty. Therefore, Article 2, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 9, of the Robbery Punishment Act is not contrary to the Constitution.
  • Reasoning
    •        Article 347, Paragraph 1, of the Criminal Code reads: “Those who commit kidnapping with the intention of receiving ransom will be sentenced to death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for more than 7 years.” Article 2, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 9, of the Robbery Punishment Act, which is a special criminal law, imposes a mandatory death penalty on those who kidnap with the intention of receiving a ransom. Its purpose is to increase the penalty to prevent such crimes, to maintain the security of the society, and to keep the public free from fear. Imposing a mandatory death penalty on those who commit such crimes regardless of their details and results is indeed very rigorous, and may create an imbalance between the legal system and the people’s sense of justice. A review of legislation is therefore needed in order to maintain equilibrium between the rights of the people and criminal policy. However, according to Article 8 of the same Act, Article 167 and Article 347, Paragraph 5, of the Criminal Code can be applied to the above-mentioned criminal cases. A judge, upon determining that the penalty is too severe to be applied to a certain case, may apply to Article 59 of the Criminal Code to reduce the penalty. The penalty can also be reduced when criminals release victims without taking any ransom. Both of them can avoid over rigorous punishment. Consequently, it can not be established that Article 2, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph 9, of the Robbery Punishment Act is contrary to the Constitution.
      
    • *Translator by Dr.F.T.Liao.
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