Legal minds from China come to Philly to learn about American criminal justice system

Kristen Johanson
June 23, 2018 - 2:38 pm
Chinese Law

Kristen Johanson | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Judges, prosecutors, lawyers and students from China are studying American law at Temple University for a two-month program about the American legal system, and how different it is from their country. 

Forty students typed vigorously on their laptops, soaking up every word Professor Jules Epstein utters about opening statements and closing arguments, legal writing and trial advocacy. 

"I start this course by saying, 'I am not here to tell you that our system is better. I am here to tell you that our system is different,'" Epstein said. "We are teaching them largely the same curriculum that I would teach to a second year American law student. 

"We discuss its strengths, we discuss its weaknesses of the American trial system," Epstein added.

Attorney and student Kay will soon work with businesses in the United States.

"I should get familiar with American law, and practice my English, which is very important," Kay said. "The Chinese system is totally different. We don't have the Miranda warning, they cannot bargain about the time, the jury system is very powerful in the U.S."

Judge Yao agreed the system in China is very different.

"It's over-burden for our judge," he said. "We have to do many jobs that maybe the prosecutor didn't do."

Like independently investigating each claim brought to court.

"We have to find out what really happened," Yao said, "so we are really fair and we are really finding the true justice."

"It is a remarkable experience to have people, for whom English is not a first language, spend time in this process," Epstein said. "They are smart, they are hardworking, and boy do they get it."