Namely, if the KMT loses based on the existing game rules, it ceases to follow the rules or rewrites the rule book. -- Taiwan News Editorial
The Taipei Times reports on the changing of the judge in the trial of Chen Shui-bian:
In a meeting held among the [Taipei District] court’s presiding judges late on Thursday night, a vote decided that Presiding Judge Tsai Shou-hsun (蔡守訓) would take over the Chen-related case from Presiding Judge Chou Chan-chun (周占春) because Tsai had previously handled cases concerning Chen.
Panning the move as “political intervention,” DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) yesterday said “the judiciary is doomed.”
DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said that in an effort to avoid human manipulation, the courts had in recent years had to resort to using a computerized system designed to randomly select presiding judges.
“By deciding who shall be the presiding judge by a vote, we are now going backward and future judiciary trials will be filled with political elements,” he said.
The KMT News Network (KNN) reports on the process:
Following a joint meeting of its five presiding judges, the Taipei District Court yesterday announced that former President Chen Shui-bian’s four cases, including the State Affairs Fund case, the money-laundering case, the Longtan Science Park land deal case, and the Nangang Exhibition Hall bid case, would be merged with former First Lady Wu Shu-jen’s State Affairs Fund case for trial.
The Taipei District Court said that the merging of the cases was in accordance with precedents that a later case be merged with a former case if both cases were related and could not be separated for trial. Therefore, based on Taipei District Court’s decision, Tsai Shou-shun, not Chou Chan-tsun, will serve as the presiding judge in the trial of Chen Shui-bian’s corruption and money-laundering cases.
What they did was take the case away from Judge Chou, who was apparently too fair for some people's tastes -- Chou is reported to have said he'd have convicted Ma in Ma's embezzlement case -- and turn it over to Judge Tsai, who has been presiding over the trial of Chen's wife.
The unforgivable error of Judge Chou was to let Chen Shui-bian free without bail. This sensible ruling was too much for some, and KMT attack dog Legislator Chui Yi, a former jailbird himself, said Chou's qualifications to be judge should be examined, and that he ought to be impeached. Chui Yi also complained that Judge Chou cared only about Chen's human rights. Talk show hosts accused Judge Chou of having a political bias.
Thus, faced with the possibility of an unlooked for outcome in the Chen case, the judge was replaced.
I think this is great. Until this moment, in order to educate someone who didn't understand how the trial of Chen was a political persecution, all sorts of lengthy explanation was required. Now the government has made it easy: just note that when the system got a ruling it didn't like, there was a firestorm of complaint, and the judge was replaced. Even the dullest spectator can understand a kangaroo court.
UPDATE: This just in: appellate court vacates the decision to release Chen on no bail at 1:50 am this morning:
So sequence is: (1) Judge Chou at Taipei District Court orders Chen release w/o bail. (2) Appellate court voids this and hands it back to Chou. (3) Judge Chou re-affirms first decision, rejects Appellate court's decision, continues Chen on no-bail release (4) firestorm of complaint in Blue media and from prominent Blue legislators (5) Judge Chou is removed (6) prosecutors refile in Appellate Court and win again (8) now coming up in the script: Taipei District Court under Judge Tsai will revoke Chen's release.
This was the second time that the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Prosecutor General’s Office filed an interlocutory appeal (December 25). When Judge Chou Chan-tsun of the Taipei District Court, released Chen without bail, pending trial, the SIU appealed on December 16, and the appellate court vacated the ruling and remanded the case to the lower court for a new ruling. However, Judge Chou, in his new ruling, reaffirmed his original ruling, whereupon the SIU filed an appeal again.
The circumstances have changed this time. Earlier, the Taipei District Court, by unanimous resolution of its presiding judges, decided to merge Chen’s corruption case, the latter case, with Chen’s earlier case, the State Affairs Fund Case in which Chen’s wife was indicted in 2006 and is now being tried by another judge, Tsai Shou-hsun. Chen himself was named a co-defendant but was not indicted at the time because of his criminal immunity for a sitting President under the Constitution. Therefore, when the Taipei District Court rules again on orders of the appellate court in the nearest future, it will be Judge Tsai who will be the presiding judge in the merged case.