Top Court Overturns 15% Death Sentences in 1st Half Year

From Xinhua, via the China Daily:

The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) overturned about 15 percent of the death sentences handed down by high courts in the first half of this year, a senior court official said on Thursday.

The high rejection rate shows how cautious the judiciary has been with capital punishment after the SPC took back the right to review death sentences from lower courts on Jan 1 last year.

Gao Jinghong, presiding judge of the SPC’s Third Criminal Law Court, said the majority of the death sentences were overturned because they were inappropriate or lacked sufficient evidence.

… Chen Weidong, professor of criminal law in Renmin University, said capital punishment is a powerful deterrent against crime, especially because the country is in transition and the rate of violent crimes is still high.

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