Should imprisonment terms imposed for offences committed after a final and binding judgment run concurrently with the sentences for multiple offences meted out by the said final and binding judgment and be subject to the twenty-year limitation on imprisonment terms?
Offences committed after a final and binding judgment are not to be included in the combination of sentences for multiple offences provisions. The foregoing has been explained in this Yuan's Interpretation No. 98. Thus, if a defendant has been sentenced to imprisonment for offences committed after a final court decision, both sentences shall run concurrently, and shall not be subject to the proviso of a twenty-year maximum imprisonment term in Article 51, Paragraph 5, of the Criminal Code. As for the proviso under Article 33, Subparagraph 3, of the Criminal Code, it places a limit of twenty years’ imprisonment for the aggravation of one conviction, whether in substance or by procedure. However, such limit is inapplicable to imprisonment terms imposed on offences that are committed after a final court decision, and they are to run concurrently with the initial conviction. Thus Part 5 of this Yuan's Interpretation Yuan-tze No. 626 is no longer applicable.
Defendants who show real signs of remorse and exhibit good behavior during their services of the said combined execution of imprisonment terms are subject to a more lenient parole condition than those convicted of life imprisonment. This should be expressly regulated by laws.
According to Article 51, Paragraph 5, of the Criminal Code: "Where the conviction of a defendant would be punishable by multiple imprisonment terms, then the sentence of imprisonment shall be more than the longest imprisonment term of which the defendant is convicted, and less than the combination of the total imprisonment terms of which the defendant is convicted, but shall not exceed twenty years." The foregoing seeks to explain that, when determining the sentences for combination of sentences for multiple offences, it must comply with Article 50 of the same Code, that is, a defendant's commission of multiple offences must have occurred prior to a final court decision. As to the scope of combination of concurrent sentences for multiple offences, some limit the scope to offences committed prior to any court decision, some limit it to offences committed prior to final court decisions, and others limit it to offences committed prior to the end of prison terms. Article 69 of the former Criminal Code (1928) adopts the first limitation while the present Criminal Code in its Article 50 adopts the second limitation. Since the third limitation has been abandoned for non-use, it cannot form the basis of statutory interpretation.
Offences committed after the rendering of final court decisions fall outside the scope of the combination of sentences for multiple offence provisions. The foregoing has been explained in this Yuan's Interpretation No.98. Thus, in the event a defendant, after being convicted by a final court decision, is sentenced to another term of imprisonment, since this cannot be reconciled with the said sentencing provisions, this imprisonment term shall run concurrently with sentences imposed under the aforementioned final and binding judgment and shall not be subject to the above-mentioned twenty-year maximum imprisonment term restriction. Otherwise, defendants will be exonerated from repeated criminal offences, punishable by imprisonment terms, committed after final court decisions which impose a twenty-year imprisonment term. This is contrary to the principle of one sentence per offence, does not serve to protect public and private interests or preserve the social order, and is inconsistent with the objectives of fairness and justice.
The definition of imprisonment under Article 33, Subparagraph 3, of the Criminal Code is: "a period more than two months and less than fifteen years which may be shortened to less than two months or lengthened to a maximum of twenty years." The foregoing places a twenty-year limitation on the aggravation of one conviction, in substance or by procedure, and is inapplicable to sentences imposed on offences that are committed after a final and binding judgment and shall be executed in combination concurrently with the initial conviction.
In summary, Part 5 of this Yuan's Interpretation Yuan-tze No.626 is no longer applicable. Since imprisonment term is more lenient than life imprisonment, defendants who show real signs of remorse and exhibit good behavior during their services of combined imprisonment terms shall be subject to a more lenient parole condition, for rehabilitative purposes, than those convicted of life imprisonment. This should be expressly regulated by laws. 'Translated by Wei-Feng Huang of THY Taiwan International Law Offices.