Statement Regarding the Ruling Rendered by the Supreme Court Concerning the Guarantee of the Right of Confidential Communication between Death Row Inmates and Defense Attorneys before Filing a Request for Retrial
On December 10, 2013, the Third Petty Bench of the Supreme Court rendered a ruling which made it illegal for the chief of a penal institution which accommodates a death row inmate to cause or allow a penal institution guard to be present at a meeting between such inmate and his or her defense attorneys when they are in the process of filing a retrial request. By way of such decision, the judgment rendered in the original trial (at the Hiroshima High Court on January 27, 2012) was finalized, whereby the high court ordered the state to pay compensation to the two defense attorneys who were filing such retrial request, as well as to the death row inmate. Though the above ruling handed down at the Supreme Court, which decided that it is illegal to infringe upon the right of confidential communication (i.e. the right to counsel) between defense attorneys and death row inmates before their filing an appeal for retrial, is a corollary to provisions already prescribed by the law (i.e. the proviso of Article 121 of the Act on Penal Detention Facilities and Treatment of Inmates and Detainees), the JFBA still favorably evaluates such holding.
(The second to the fifth paragraphs of the statement are omitted.)
The JFBA calls for all penal institutions to sincerely accept the Supreme Court’s decision and to freely allow meetings between inmates (including those on death row) and their defense attorneys, etc. in the absence of prison guards when such inmates are engaging in discussions on the potential filing of a retrial.
December 13, 2013
Japan Federation of Bar Associations