August 22, 2017. At the time, Kim Myung-soo, candidate for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, took an intercity bus and subway instead of an official car and ‘walked’ to the Supreme Court building in Seocho-dong, Seoul. He said, “I am a person who has been doing trials in court for 31 years and 5 months,” and “I will show you what the level is and what it looks like.”
The symbol of the Supreme Court Kim Myung-soo, who advocated freedom from authority by ‘going to work by bus’, has now become ‘trial delay’ and ‘lies’. The number of long-term pending cases, with a processing period of more than two years, has nearly tripled compared to the first civil trial, and a sitting judge made official the ‘failure of the trial’ in a media contribution. Chief Justice Kim, who mentioned impeachment by the National Assembly and denied it without accepting the resignation of his junior judge, was even investigated by the prosecution for lying.
What is scarier than what appears on the surface is the loss of organizational momentum. It is said that the most feared person for judges, who are individual constitutional institutions, is not their superiors but their ‘successors.’ This is because we know best whether the case was handled properly by looking at the records left by the predecessor. So the judges worked so as not to embarrass their successors. His basic plan was to write a verdict and leave before the regular personnel meeting in February for cases he had just finished trialing. This is the power of peer pressure .
However, under Chief Justice Kim Myung-soo’s regime, peer pressure disappeared. He drags on complex or sensitive cases and passes the judgment on to his successor안전놀이터. Cases scheduled to be sentenced in December are postponed to February, and personnel changes are made in February. Associate judges colluded to sentence only three cases a week, and the chief judges, who had been lamenting this, also used this as an excuse to focus on work-life balance. One high court judge said, “There are so many judges playing around that it is impossible to single out someone and criticize them.”
This is largely due to the fact that Supreme Court Kim Myung-soo made the court evaluation system meaningless by saying he wanted to eliminate judicial bureaucracy. The promotion system for the head of the High Court has disappeared, and courts where judges are elected through voting have become less conscious of performance ratings and peer group evaluations. The norms of behavior were broken down as judges who were good at trials were replaced by judges who shared the same views as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and were given good positions.
Nevertheless, Chief Justice Kim Myeong-soo justified his personnel policy at his last press conference, saying, “It is impossible for judges to do their best when there is a promotion system and not to do so even if there is no promotion system.” In a situation where a party may die during a delay in trial, he emphasized “a trial that moves the people more than a speedy trial.” Regarding the prosecution’s investigation, he said, “I will cooperate faithfully if the investigation proceeds through due procedures,” and he added a ‘condition’. Among the judges, there is also harsh criticism that “it goes beyond a mental victory to the level of bizarreness.”
Chief Judge Han said, “If you are proud of the past six years, after you leave office, you should confidently walk out the main gate of the Supreme Court.” What is outside the door, whether it is a prosecution investigation or anything else, is to be accepted without any ‘conditions’ attached. I think consistency, with the same beginning and end, is the last virtue we can expect from Chief Justice Kim Myung-soo.