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An Empirical Study of Homicide Cases and Criminal Justice System in Taiwan


This is a first-ever longitudinal study of Taiwan’s homicide cases and the practice of Taiwan’s criminal justice system. For portraying the practice of criminal justice system, this study adopts longitudinal research method to study a cohort of homicide cases known to police department of Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan, from 2006 to 2012, and to follow the cohort of sample cases throughout the legal system.

This study focuses on four aspects. First, to present homicide case mortality as the cases went through the legal system, from police investigation, prosecution, to court adjudication and punishment. The attempt is to show the picture of how the legal system may exclude cases from the system by the end of each phase and the reasons of the exclusion. Second, this study discovers how legal agencies, mainly police, prosecutor, and judge, may dispose of homicide cases before them by two indexes: time and energy. This part provides us an understanding of what kinds of homicide practically cost more resources of Taiwan’s legal system, and this study tries to figure out why it was like this. Third, this study compares the decisions of each legal agency to see how similar or different their decisions of the same cases may be, and analyzes the reasons behind. Last but not least, this study attempts to discover how, if any, the decision of one legal agency in homicide cases may have influence on those of other agencies.

By incorporating all the dimensions above, the true mission of this study is to reveal how Taiwan’s criminal procedure practically works thoroughly, from investigation, prosecution, adjudication, to punishment. By comparing how major and minor homicide cases were processed by the system, we will learn representative empirical features of Taiwan’s criminal justice system and criminal procedure.

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