Saturday, October 20, 2007
Here's an interesting story about Wuhan University Faculty of Law professor Zhao Tingguang (赵廷光), who after sixteen years of research and (it is reported) 1.3 million yuan out of his own pocket has developed software that will determine the appropriate sentence in criminal cases. The reporter takes the software for a test run: On Nov. 13, 2003, the husband-and-wife proprietors of an internet cafe were attacked with knives by Zhou Wei, Zhou Yan, and others. The husband's right hand was cut off at the wrist, and the wife suffered serious injuries as well. Their injuries were classified as Grade 4 and Grade 7 respectively.
Upon starting up the software, one first selects the name of the crime and the act. The second step is to click on various circumstances of the case relevant to sentence measurement. The third step is to grade, on a 5-point scale, the importance of each element as well as its "concrete manifestation" (具体表现情况). The fourth step is to enter in a few words the basis and rationale for the grading. The computer then generates a proposed sentence as well as an explanation in several thousand characters of the grounds for the proposed sentence (presumably citing not just statutes, but also judicial interpretations and other authoritative documents). When going through the above steps, one can look up relevant statutes, judicial interpretations, materials on sentencing theory, and cases.
The software recommended a sentence of seven years and one month for Zhou Wei and one year and six months for Zhou Yan.
Incidentally, the report states that a previous version of the software (keyed to the 1979 Criminal Law) was in use by over 100 courts, procuracies, and law firms.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
I have been asked to post the following announcement. Apparently papers on China are considered "international law" and thus welcome.
THE YALE JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW ANNOUNCES ITS SIXTH ANNUAL YOUNG SCHOLARS' CONFERENCE
CALL FOR PAPERS FROM JD STUDENTS
Deadline: December 10, 2007
The Yale Journal of International Law (YJIL) is accepting submissions
for its Young Scholars' Conference, which will take place on March 1,
2008. The Conference aims to encourage scholarship in international
law among current J.D. students by giving them an opportunity to
present a paper and receive feedback from distinguished professors in
the field. The Conference will include panel presentations of student
scholarship, a roundtable discussion on careers in legal academia, a
keynote address, and a closing dinner. Two of the papers presented at
the Conference will be selected for publication in YJIL. Support for
the Conference has been provided by the Oscar M. Ruebhausen '37 Fund.
YJIL will accept papers of no more than 15,000 words (including
footnotes) on topics in international law from current J.D. students.
Papers that have previously been published will not be considered.
Presenters must be able to travel to New Haven, CT, for a full day of
events on March 1, 2008. YJIL will provide presenting students with
accommodations and cover up to $200 of their conference-related travel
Submissions, accompanied by author's c.v., should be sent to