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September 25, 2017

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Judges face probes over inappropriate behavior allegations

The China Post news staff--The Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC, 法官評鑑委員會) said yesterday that Banqiao District Judge Li Jau-rong (李昭融) might face investigation by the Control Yuan for inappropriate behavior over phone calls she made while in court to discuss case details with her husband.

High Court Judge Chan Chun-hung (詹駿鴻) might also be investigated by the Judicial Yuan's Personnel Evaluation Committee (人事審議委員會) for infringing on defendants' right of appeal.

Chan is accused of misapplying legal statutes, resulting in the defendants' loss of appeal rights and qualification to have a sentence commuted to a fine. The defendant concerned was forced to accept having his sentence commuted to public service.

Judge Li was charged for making improper phone calls while court was in session to her husband, who is also a judge, and discussing confidential information with him in order to get his suggestions regarding the case.

Li and Chan are the first two judges facing removal from their posts since the Judges Act (法官法) was adopted by the Legislative Yuan last July. According to people familiar with the matter, if Li is impeached by the Control Yuan he could be investigated by the Duty Judge (職務法官) and fined or even removed from his current position.

The Legislative Yuan stated that with the Judges Act having been passed after 23 years of evaluation, the JEC is ready to act. The committee is composed of 11 people, including judges, prosecutors, lawyers and social justice activists. To ensure the protection of defendants' rights, the JEC invites external committees to evaluate the competency of judges and decide what, if any, action should be taken.

Meanwhile, regarding claims that Kaohsiung District Judge Wang Yu-fu (王榆富) illegally searched others' personal data through the Department of Household Registration (內政部戶政司) system, authorities stated that they will exclude Wang from the current penalty list. The case, however, will remain open pending further discussion.

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