Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Russian Judges Rarely Find Any Defendant Not Guilty, but in 75 Percent of Cases, They Don’t Impose the Maximum Sentence the Law Allows

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 28 – Russian courts are notorious for convicting more than 99 percent of those brought before them (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2023/05/acquittals-in-russian-courts-fall-to.html), but at the same time, Russian judges rarely impose the maximum sentences allowed by the criminal code on those convicted, the To Be Precise portal says. 

            That suggests, the portal continues, that the judges are more lenient than they are often viewed as being (tochno.st/materials/sudi-v-rossii-pochti-nikogo-ne-opravdyvayut-no-v-75-sluchaev-vybirayut-myagkie-nakazaniya-po-krayney-mere-po-merkam-uk-rasskazyvaem-pravda-li-sudy-v-nashey-strane-bolee-gumannye-chem-kazhetsya-na-pervyy-vzglyad).

            And it highlights the fact that Russian judges rarely get in trouble for such actions but can very easily find themselves in difficulties if they were to find someone not guilty entirely, Yelena Yurishina, an analyst for the Command Against Torture organization, says in reviewing the statistics assembled by To Be Precise.

            Drawing on the research of others, Yurishina says that those who engage in so-called victimless crimes or in white collar crime are less likely to be sentenced as heavily as the law allows while those who are involved in violent acts against others or whose cases attract public notice are likely to be sentenced to the maximum allowed.

            None of this means that the sentences judges hand out are “really humane,” she cotinues. “The average length of incarceration in our country compared to European measures is very long, although this may be connected with a higher level of force in society” inside the Russian Federation than in European countries.

            However, “the good news is that if pressures from above are removed, Russian judges are not particularly harsh in the sentences they hand down.”


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