Beale meets with Duke Law alumni, legal scholars in Taiwan

August 8, 2010Duke Law News

Aug. 8, 2010 — Sara Sun Beale, the Charles L. B. Lowndes Professor of Law, spent part of her summer in Taiwan where she met with a number of former students and Duke Law alumni who are leaders in Taiwan’s legal community. Beale, a respected scholar of federal criminal law and legal reform, gave presentations and participated in discussions on various aspects of white collar crime and organizational crime prosecution.

Among the alumni who met with Beale were Huei Huang Lin SJD ’87, director of the Judges and Prosecutors Training Institute at Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice, Chih-Chieh “Carol” Lin SJD ’05, a professor at National Chiao Tung University, and Jiin-Fang Lin SJD ’89, who sits on the Taiwanese Supreme Court.

Beale gave presentations at the Ministry of Justice, National Chiao Tung University, and Taiwanese law firm of Tsar & Tsai, speaking on varied topics relating to corporate criminal liability, including deferred prosecution agreements, and corporate criminal liability.

Huei Huang Lin, Beale’s first SJD student, organized the initial portion of her trip. “He is the head of the institute where all Taiwanese judges and prosecutors are trained,” Beale said. “They all attend a two-year program that Dr. Lin runs. So he has a tremendous influence on the thinking and training of everyone who becomes a judge or prosecutor. He’s a remarkable person, a very senior figure in ministry of justice. He arranged for me to speak to perhaps 100 of the prosecutors.”

Beale spoke to the assembled group about deferred prosecution agreements, tools that U.S. prosecutors can use to prosecute corporations without actually convicting — and possibly destroying — them. It is a kind of authority Taiwanese prosecutors do not have when pursuing white collar criminals as there is no corporate criminal liability in Taiwan, Beale noted.

“The questions were, ‘Why does it work this way in the U.S. and how different is it from our systems and policies?’” Beale said. “White collar crime and organizational crime prosecution is a big topic of interest in Taiwan right now, as there have been some quite newsworthy cases. Everybody said this is a big emphasis for the ministry at this point.”

Beale also met with the members of the Ministry of Justice’s Committee on Reform of Forfeiture Laws, including her most recent SJD student, Dr. Chih-Chieh “Carol” Lin, who will be returning to Duke Law in January as a Fulbright scholar.

“They were interested in forfeiture laws relating to white collar offenses as opposed to just drug offenses,” Beale said. Shiehchan "Adam" Wu, a Taiwanese prosecutor who studied forfeiture as a visiting scholar at Duke Law in 2008, also is a member of the committee, Beale said.

At National Chiao Tung University, Beale gave a lecture titled “Prosecuting Corporations for Crimes: U.S. Law and a Comparative Perspective.”

“Taiwan’s civil law system is heavily influenced by the German system, in which many SJD and LLM students train,” Beale said. “In Germany, there is no corporate criminal liability. They would ask me, ‘A corporation couldn’t possibly be prosecuted for murder?’ And I said, ‘Yes, they could, and they have.’ They asked a lot of sharp questions and delineated some of the very interesting differences between legal systems regarding corporate criminal liability.”

Beale spoke on the same topic at the law firm of Tsar & Tsai, which supported Beale’s trip. Sophia C.Y. Yeh LLM ’07, works at the firm.

Beale also spent time with Jiin-Fang Lin SJD ’89, a former district judge in Taipei who now sits on the Taiwanese Supreme Court, the second-highest court in Taiwan.

“She’s had an incredibly impressive career,” Beale said of Lin. “She reorganized and rebuilt the district court system before joining the Supreme Court, and she was one of the first women to advance in the law in Taiwan. She told me that when she was a prosecutor, she would receive documents addressed, ‘To Prosecutor Lin, Female.’”

Duke alumni in Taiwan have also worked with each other in innovative ways, Beale observed.

“Jiin-Fang helped Carol create the first internship for law students at the district court in Taipei, an example of their very forward-looking partnership,” Beale said.

“The connections between Duke Law School and the Taiwanese legal community were quite remarkable,” Beale said. “These people are actively involved in the highest levels of the Taiwanese legal process. They are very, very accomplished people, and very loyal to Duke. We had interesting discussions based on differences in our legal systems, but also about our common, shared experience at Duke Law School.”
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