Criminal defense and judicial sentencing in China's death penalty cases

Moulin Xiong, Siyu Liu, Bin Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Drawing upon 503 cases of violent and drug crimes involving the death penalty from three intermediate courts in China, this study explores various defense arguments, their acceptance rates, and factors that influence judicial sentencing. Our findings reveal that offenders’ post-crime good behaviors are most likely to be accepted by the court, thus helping offenders obtain suspended death penalty. In contrast, being charged with multiple violent crimes and the weight of narcotics in drug crimes are two significant factors related to an increased likelihood of receiving immediate death penalty. This article provides more empirical evidence about mitigating and aggravating circumstances considered in capital sentencing, and supports that private lawyers are not different from court appointed lawyers in China's capital defense. China's current system seemingly leaves little room for defense lawyers to make creative contributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-432
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 21 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • General Psychology
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Criminal defense and judicial sentencing in China's death penalty cases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this