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[Editorial] “Corrupt Justice” Lets 90 Percent of Convicts Be Released

[Editorial] “Corrupt Justice” Lets 90 Percent of Convicts Be Released

Posted January. 14, 2005 22:54,   


It has been a long time since the word started to get around that those who commit corrupt crimes receive extremely lenient punishments. This paper has used the Computer-Aided Reporting method to analyze the last 12 years of rulings and execution of sentences regarding indicted politicians, high-ranking government officials, and public corporation executives and confirmed the reality in which “the more money you have, the less penalty you get.”

Politicians and senior government officials who receive illegal political funds or bribes come to the limelight only when they are investigated and arrested. Once their cases are processed in the court, they mostly get released on bail or on probation and rarely get actual punishment. In the case of those with power, they tend to get suspension of execution or are pardoned by turning to their connections, even if their actual punishment is confirmed. This paper’s analysis result has it that a mere 10 percent of the subjects have completed or are serving their actual punishment, meaning a whopping 90 percent of them have escaped their penalty, a point that makes us wonder whether “judicial justice” exists in this nation.

According to computer analysis, those who accepted a large amount of bribes showed a greater tendency of getting probation than those who were involved in other bribery cases. On average, those who violated the election laws paid less in fines than did drunk drivers whose driver’s licenses are revoked. It is only deplorable that the judicial justice is out of sight. That explains the current trend in which the public unconsciously takes it for granted that the accused with power and money receive much softer punishment than the ordinary criminal accused.

In an appeal case of lawmaker Kim Hong-il, who received 150 million won in bribe and an unlawful request when his father was the president, the judge exhorted him, “You need to bear in mind that there is nothing you can get for free,” a comment that has a point. Now the Supreme Court should, with its stringent ruling, teach a lesson to politicians and senior government officials who received corrupt money that there is nothing they can get for free.

It is true that the Supreme Court’s extreme leniency toward corrupt crimes tends to induce the entire society to feel insensitive to corruption. It should apply its stringent legal standards to corruption by those in power. It should present courts nationwide unified standards for corrupt crimes, ensuring consistent sentences. More than anything else, the president should never abuse his right to pardon corrupt crime convicts whose sentences are confirmed.