Zhengzhou Court Requires Judges to Provide Reasoning to Justify Criminal Sentences

December 8, 2004

According to a recent report in the Legal Daily, the Zhengzhou Intermediate People's Court is now requiring judges to provide specific reasoning to justify the criminal sentences they hand down. The article notes that before the new requirement was introduced, courts were required to provide reasoning to back up determinations of guilt or innocence, but typically used only boilerplate language in the section of the judgment that specified the sentence. This practice led to confusion on the part of defendants, endless appeals and petitions, and suspicion in some instances that personal relationships were influencing the sentencing process. The article concludes that the new system conforms to the principle of "public judgment" and will promote justice and "judicial civilization."