量刑規範化實現公正之路徑研究——以“人民法院量刑指導意見”為研究對象

Research on Standardization of Sentencing as Path to Achieve Justice ——Taking the “Sentencing Guidelines by The People's Courts” as the Subject of Research

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date1 Mar 2021

Abstract

公正是社会制度的首要价值,正如真理是思想体系的首要价值。在对任何制度进行评判时,最终都会上升至是否体现公正这个问题。不管是立法制度,还是司法审判,或是量刑领域,都强调公正这个问题。就量刑而言,它实际上就是一种权力的行使方式,而权力配置是否合理、权力运行是否符合要求,在对此进行评判时,公正必定是其中的标准,只有在量刑真正公正的情况下,司法部门所作出的刑罚才有可能正当,刑罚的目的才有可能实现。量刑公正作为评判量刑方法、情节之标准和指导量刑改革之原则,是量刑规范化改革的价值目标。

为保证量刑依据的统一性与司法裁判权的统一性,实现量刑公正,最高人民法院通过制定《人民法院量刑指导意见》,明确了量刑目的、量刑原则、量刑方法,并从刑法总则、分则中提取了相应的量刑情节进行量化、细化,形成了一套“完整”的量刑制度,并渐次在全国法院予以推行。这一改革影响深远,几乎完全推翻了传统的量刑方法。新的量刑制度在全国的推行,在一定程度上达到了量刑规范化预设的“同案同判”的目的,但是在推行过程中也受到理论及司法实务界的诸多质疑。特别是《量刑指导意见》的严格适用,难以回应纷繁复杂的刑事个案;法官自由裁量权被严重约束,形成了新的量刑不公与“机械判案”;《量刑指导意见》提取的罪名与情节有限,难以涵盖多种类的犯罪行为;量刑方法设计存在问题,出现荒唐判例等等问题。为此十年间最高人民法院不得不三次修正量刑文本,以回应各种问题,但是很多根本性的问题仍然没有解决,亟待完善,量刑公正的终极目标仍未达成。本文在对量刑的基本原理深入探讨的基础上,重新界定了量刑应当遵循的目的与原则,根据大量的实证调研提出了相应的改进意见及量刑文本的修改建议稿,以期完善我国量刑制度,以实现量刑公正的价值目标。

就本文的具体内容安排而言,第一章导论主要概述了问题的缘起、选题的意义、研究的现状、研究方法等问题。本章首先概括介绍了量刑规范化改革的动因,又分阶段介绍了量刑规范化的改革进程,是本文研究的背景介绍,进而导入下文的论证。另外量刑规范化改革对刑事理论界与实务界具有的重要意义,本章又从理论与实务两个层面对本文的研究意义进行了深入分析,认为本文的研究能在很大程度上弥补理论研究的不足,并对刑事司法实践具有重要的指导价值。此外,本章还列明全文的结构。

第二章是对量刑规范化原理的探析,本章设置的目的是解决量刑的相应理论问题,为后文的研究作理论支撑。本章首先研究了量刑规范化的内涵和本质,明确量刑是“刑之裁量”而非简单的“刑之量化”,量刑规范化改革要实现量刑公正的价值目标,就需要符合量刑的本质属性,使得量刑原则、目的、方法、情节之间形成一个有机的规范体系,量刑原则、方法和情节都用服务于量刑公正这一价值目标。其次论述了刑罚的目的与量刑规范化的关系。本文认为在不同时代背景下,刑罚目的的内涵亦有所不同。我国当今的刑罚目的反映在量刑这一环节时,不再仅以“同案同判”为公正,应当开始关注于“量刑均衡”与“刑罚个别化”的平衡与统一。第三是量刑原则与量刑规范化的关系。量刑原则作为统领量刑方法和情节等量刑规则的上位概念,其应反映量刑行为有别于其他刑事司法活动的独有特性。第四是自由裁量权与量刑规范化的关系,自由裁量权有其存在的必然价值,与量刑规范化并不矛盾,规范化不应排斥自由裁量权,需要给予法官必要的自由裁量权来回应个案的复杂性与多样性。理论研究后需要结合我国量刑规范化改革成果——《量刑指导意见》进行对照研究,分析该意见在量刑目的、原则、方法、情节等方面的具体规定。故在理论研究后首先开始对《量刑指导意见》进行研究,即本文的第三章。

第三章是对我国量刑规范化改革成果—《量刑指导意见》改革规范的研究。我国《量刑指导意见》是规范化改革司法应用的表现形式,该意见从规范化目标、量刑原则、量刑方法、量刑情节对规范化改革的四个重要方面进行了集中统一规定,改变了我国长期以来没有专门性量刑规范的刑事法律格局,在我国量刑理论与实务中产生了重要的影响。宏观方面,量刑规范化价值目标从追求量刑均衡、“同案同判”走向量刑公正。中观方面,摒弃了传统的“估堆”量刑方法,确立“定性为主、定量为辅”的量刑方法指导思路,明确了量刑步骤;微观层面,量刑情节的规范性极大增强,改变了量刑情节散见于刑法各类规范中的局面,明确了常见的量刑情节,对量刑情节分类予以规范。但是随着《量刑指导意见》的在全国的广泛适用,其弊端也逐渐显现出来,存在与量刑公正目标相偏离的理论和实践问题,对此笔者将在文章中下两章中进行阐述分析。

第四章是对《量刑指导意见》理论层面存在的偏离公正的问题研究。主要从量刑原则、量刑方法、量刑情节三个方面进行了分析。在量刑原则方面,当前《量刑指导意见》规定的量刑原则多为刑法原则的重述,过于原则与模糊,没有体现量刑的特点,量刑原则的独有性彰显不足。具体表现为依法量刑原则与刑法原则重复,贯彻宽严相济应属刑事政策范畴,量刑均衡原则的实质内涵模糊不清,刑罚个别化原则的缺失。在量刑方法方面,虽然摒弃了传统“估堆”量刑方法,但在具体量刑规则方面未明确如何定性、定量,以及如何处理二者之间的关系。在量刑情节方面,“量刑情节适用阶段部明确”“缺乏量刑情节适用规则”“认罪认罚从宽情节缺乏规范化指引”等问题造成量刑情节在理论上的偏离。本章分析了《量刑指导意见》存在的理论问题之后,将在第五章结合我国当前司法实践情况,分析《量刑指导意见》的司法实践效果,以检视《量刑指导意见》是否与量刑公正的价值目标相偏离。

第五章是对《量刑指导意见》实施后在司法实践中的公正效果的研究,本章主要围绕量刑规范化改革十余年来的司法实践效果来检视《量刑指导意见》存在的偏离公正的问题进行论述。首先,《量刑指导意见》在刑期计算方面无法应对司法运行中的难题,例如“多人多次的共同犯罪案件难以精确量刑”、“在成年前后犯同种罪的量刑计算依据不明”;其次,对法官量刑自由裁量权的不当限制易引起机械量刑;第三,罪名与刑种的局限性导致实践中《量刑指导意见》无法适用于刑法规定的全部罪名和刑种;最后,利用实证分析方法,用数据和实践案例从对审判质效的影响、对量刑结果的影响、对司法裁量的影响、对司法公开的影响、对司法公正的影响五个方面对《量刑指导意见》司法实践效果进行检视,得出量刑规范化改革并未达到实现量刑公正的目标。在分别对量刑基本理论、《量刑指导意见》的规范改革及理论和实践问题进行分析后,对于完善量刑规范化的思路已经较为明确,故第六章对《量刑指导意见》的重构以实现量刑公正。

第六章是针对上文量刑规范化在理论层面与司法实践层面存在的偏离公正的问题,提出量刑规范化实现量刑公正的路径。首先是量刑公正改革的基本理念的重置,从量刑指导的规范性、文本设计的科学性、量刑与整个刑事司法体制的融合与衔接、量刑规则的宏观指导性四个方面阐述了量刑规范化的应秉承理念;其次从量刑原则的再确立、量刑方法与量刑情节适用规则及罪名与刑种的完善三方面,对《量刑指导意见》的具体内容进行修改和重构;最后是相应配套制度的完善,包括建立裁判文书充分说理机制、加强指导性案例的发布等,以此配套完成我国量刑规范化的重构。量刑公正实现路径的构想虽然已经提出,但是由此引发的对量刑规范化的总结以及对公正的思考并未止步,为此笔者将在第七章对量刑规范化改革的过程进行总结,并提出我国司法改革实现公正的路径思考。

第七章是论文结语,主要是对量刑规范化公正之路径的再思考。本章主要讨论两个问题,其一是对我国量刑规范化公正改革的总结,认为我国改革具有以量刑均衡为公正目标的改革推进具有仓促性、量刑规范化改革预期的公正效果呈现波动性、量刑规范化公正改革带来立法的联动效应、量刑公正标准逐渐回归理性的特点。我国量刑规范化虽然经过十余年的改革历程,仍然存在诸多问题需要完善,这与改革初期存在的仓促性具有一定关系。当然随着改革的推进,量刑规范化开始与司法实践有了更为密切的结合,这也是量刑规范化改革的一大进步。本文从量刑规范化公正改革又产生了对我国司法改革实现公正的延伸思考,即量刑规范化改革的经验提示我们司法改革的公正不仅在“点”也在“面”、司法改革公正的标准要靠实践来评价,如此才能实现司法公正的目标。
“Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought”. The evaluation of any systems, whether legislative or judicial, depends on the how well the justice it served. And sentencing system is no exception. As an important part of judicial system, sentencing is essentially the exercise of power. The fairness and reasonableness of the allocation and execution of power shall eventually be measured by the criterion of justice. Sentencing is considered fairness and the purpose of sentencing can be achieved only when justice is served. The goal of Standardization of Sentencing is to set fairness and justice as the principles in evaluation of methods of sentencing, sentencing circumstances and guidance of sentencing reform.

To ensure the unity of basis of sentencing as well as the unity of jurisdiction, and to achieve fairness and justice in sentencing, by forming the “Sentencing Guidelines by the People’s Courts” (herein after referred as “Sentencing Guidelines”), the Supreme People’s Court defines the objective, principles and methods of sentencing, and extracts corresponding sentencing circumstances from the “General Provisions and Specific Provisions of Criminal Law” for quantification and refinement. A so called “complete” sentencing system has been established and gradually implemented in all levels of people’s courts. This reform has profound effects to the extent that traditional methods of sentencing are almost completely overthrown. The new sentencing system was introduced throughout the country, and the goal of “Similar Sentences in Similar Cases” preset by the standardization of sentencing has been achieved to a certain degree, but it has also been questioned by the theoretical and judicial practice circles in the process of its implementation. In particular, strict application of Sentencing Guidelines hardly fit into complicated criminal cases. The judge’s discretion is severely restricted, and a new type of unfair sentencing or “Mechanical Judgment” appears. The crimes and circumstances illustrated by the “Sentencing Guidelines” are too limited to cover various kinds of crimes. There are flaws with the design method of Sentencing Guidelines, and the so-called “Absurd Sentencing” appears. Therefore, the Supreme People’s Court has to amend Sentencing Guidelines three times in a decade to respond to various issues, but many fundamental problems remain unsolved. Based on the in-depth discussion on the fundamental principles of sentencing, this thesis redefines the objectives and principles that should be followed in sentencing. Based on a large number of case studies, corresponding improvement suggestions and revised drafts of Sentencing Guidelines are proposed with an expectation to improve China’s sentencing system and to achieve the goal of fairness and justice in sentencing.

Chapter one, the Introduction, summarizes the origins of the problem, the significance of the topic selection, the current status of the research, the research methods and the innovations. As a background introduction, the Author first briefs the motive and the process of reform of Standardization of Sentencing. Since the reform of Standardization of Sentencing is of great significance to both theoretical and practice circles, the Author provides in depth analysis in both theoretical and practical aspects, and believes that this Thesis could, to a great extent, make up for the theoretical research and be a guidance to judicial practice.

Chapter two is the discussion of basic principles of standardization of sentencing, with the aim of solving theoretical issues of sentencing to support the study of subsequent chapters. In terms of the connotation and essence of standardization of sentencing, the Author believes that sentencing is a responsible process of “decision making” on how to sentence rather than a simple “quantification of penalty”. Reform of standardization of sentencing shall achieve the goal of fairness and justice in sentencing and shall in accord with essential attributes of sentencing, so that the principles, objectives, methods and circumstance of sentencing are all part of an integrated regulatory system to serve the same purpose of fairness and justice. Second issue is the objectives of sentencing and their relationship with standardization of sentencing. The Author believes that the connotation of sentencing objectives should be different in different times. The sentencing objectives in China today should be the balance and unity between “sentencing balance” and “penalty individualization” instead of the single method of “Similar Sentences in Similar Cases”. The third issue is sentencing principles and the relationship with standardization of sentencing. As the leading concepts among methods of sentencing and Sentencing circumstances, the principles of Sentencing shall bear its unique characters of sentencing which shall be distinctive to other judicial activities. The fourth issue is about judicial discretion and its relationship with standardization of sentencing. The Author believes that there is no conflict between judicial discretion and standardization of sentencing, rather, discretion is necessary in order to deal with complexity and variety of cases. Follows the theoretical study is the analysis on provisions of sentencing objectives, principles, methods and circumstances provided in the Sentencing Guidelines, which will be elaborated in Chapter Three.

Chapter three is about Sentencing Guidelines which is considered as the achievements of the reforms on standardization of sentencing. The Sentencing Guidelines provides centralized and unified rules as to sentencing objectives, principals, methods and circumstances, adding guidelines specialized to sentencing to the existing criminal judicial framework. From macro perspective, the Author believes that the objectives of sentencing shall be fairness and justice rather than “Sentencing Balance” or “Similar Sentences in Similar Cases”. From meso perspective, the Author acknowledges that the traditional method of “concurrent punishment for several crimes” was abolished, and the method of “Nature of the Crime Primary, Amount of the punishment Secondary ”, as well as the sentencing steps have been established. From micro perspective, the Author sees that commonly seen circumstances of sentencing are provided in the Sentencing Guidelines, which were previously found sporadically in many different laws or regulations. However, as the widespread implementation of the Sentencing Guidelines, deviations from achieving the goal of sentencing justice, both theoretical and practical, gradually appear, and the Author discusses such in the following two Chapters.

Chapter Four is about certain theoretical problems in the Sentencing Guidelines in terms of sentencing principles, methods and circumstances. As to sentencing principles, many are just reinstatements of Criminal Law, and seem too general or too vague, and lack of features specific to sentencing, examples are repetition of principles of criminal law, vagueness in the connotation of Balance of Sentencing and shortage of individualization of penalties. In terms of methods of sentencing, although the traditional method of “concurrent punishment for several crimes” has been abolished, no clear rules have been set up regarding how to figure out the nature of the crimes and the amount of punishment, or the relationship of the two aspects. In terms of circumstances of sentencing, problems still exist such as ambiguity in the stages when implementing sentencing circumstances; lack of rules regarding application of circumstances such as difficulty in the application of mitigating circumstances within the sentencing range wherein a defendant pleas guilty and accepts sentencing recommendations. After theoretical analysis on the Sentencing Guidelines as well as the outcome of implementation of the Sentencing Guidelines, whether the practical consequences are deviated from the preset goal of judicial justice is discussed in Chapter Five.

Chapter Five covers issues discovered in judicial practice after the implementation of Sentencing Guidelines, focusing on problems revealed during the ten years of reform on standardization of sentencing. Firstly, provisions as to calculation of punishment hardly fit into complicated crime cases, for an example, it’s “hard to reach accurate sentencing wherein multiple persons commit multiple offenses in joints crimes” , or “unclear on how to calculation imprisonment wherein a minor commits the same crime after he/she passes the legal age ”; Secondly, unreasonable restrictions on judges’ discretion give rise to the so called “mechanical judgment”; Thirdly, not all crimes and penalties provided in criminal law are covered in the Sentencing Guidelines; Lastly, through empirical analysis by data and real cases studies, the practical results are reviewed from the perspective of quality and efficiency of trial, consequences of sentencing, judicial discretion, openness of judicial process and legal fairness and justices, with the conclusion that the reforms of standardization of sentencing has not achieved its goal of fairness and justice in sentencing. After in depth discussion on fundamental principles of sentencing, the theoretical and judicial practice with respect to Sentencing Guidelines, the Author is clear about how to improve the reform of standardization of sentencing, thus proposals on reconstruction of the Sentencing Guidelines are illustrated in Chapter Six.

In Chapter Six, ways leading to the goal of fairness and justice in sentencing through standardization of sentencing is presented in view of the problems revealed both in theoretical level and judicial operation of sentencing standardization. Starting from reset of fairness and justice in sentencing as fundamental concept, the Author illustrates the principles required to be followed from four aspects, i.e., standardization of the guidelines, scientific design of the text of the Sentencing Guidelines, integration and connection of the sentencing system with the overall criminal judicial systems, and the instructive role of sentencing rules. Modifications and reconstructions of the Sentencing Guidelines are proposed, which the Author elaborates from three aspects: reestablishment of sentencing principles, improvement on applications of sentencing methods and circumstances and adding of charges and types of penalties to the Sentencing Guidelines. Lastly, improvement calls for the establishment of corresponding mechanism and policies, including but not limited to, establishment of a full reasoning mechanism in judgment-writing by enrichment of sentencing reasoning and strengthen on the release of guiding cases. Ways to fairness and justice of sentencing are proposed, however, thinking shall not stop, which leads to Chapter Seven.

In Chapter Seven, the Author summarizes what has been discussed in previous chapters and provides extended thoughts on ways to the goal of fairness and justice of sentencing. The Author believes that reform of China’s standardization of sentencing features the hasty in the implementation of standardization of sentencing with the goal of sentencing balancing, instability of the expected results of the reform, coupling effects on legislature created by reform of standardization of sentencing, and return to rationality in terms of standard of fairness and justice. Standardization of sentencing reform lasted for more than ten years but still left many problems unsolved, this may due to the fact that the reform was advanced with excessive speed without sufficient consideration. There is no doubt great progress has been made when reform is combined closely with judicial practice. Extended thoughts on judicial reforms are enlightened from reforms on standardization of sentencing. Among the experiences and lessons learned from the reforms of standardization of sentencing is that we should not only have a view on certain “points” and see the trees, but also should have an comprehensive view and see the forest. Judicial practice is the criterion for testing reforms as to whether the goal of legal justices is realized and is the only way said goal can be achieved.

    Research areas

  • Standardized Sentencing, Sentencing Guidelines, Fairness and justice of Sentencing, Sentencing Methods, Circumstances of Sentencing Judicial Discretion