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Från livstid till viss tid - om tidsbestämning av livstidsstraff

Johansson, Frida LU (2013) JURM02 20132
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
När lag (2006:45) om omvandling av fängelse på livstid trädde ikraft år 2006 innebar det att ett nytt system för frigivning av livstidsdömda infördes i svensk rätt. Systemet var tänkt att gälla som ett komplement till nådeinstitutet som under lång tid varit en livstidsdömds enda möjlighet att bli frigiven från sitt straff. Avsikten med införandet av lagen var att den skulle medföra en förbättring avseende förutsebarheten och rättssäkerheten för de livstidsdömda. Syftet med denna framställning har varit att undersöka huruvida lagen uppfyller avsikten med den. Framställningen har därför utgått från frågeställningen om omvandlingslagen har inneburit en förändring avseende förutsebarheten och rättssäkerheten för de livstidsdömda?

... (More)
När lag (2006:45) om omvandling av fängelse på livstid trädde ikraft år 2006 innebar det att ett nytt system för frigivning av livstidsdömda infördes i svensk rätt. Systemet var tänkt att gälla som ett komplement till nådeinstitutet som under lång tid varit en livstidsdömds enda möjlighet att bli frigiven från sitt straff. Avsikten med införandet av lagen var att den skulle medföra en förbättring avseende förutsebarheten och rättssäkerheten för de livstidsdömda. Syftet med denna framställning har varit att undersöka huruvida lagen uppfyller avsikten med den. Framställningen har därför utgått från frågeställningen om omvandlingslagen har inneburit en förändring avseende förutsebarheten och rättssäkerheten för de livstidsdömda?

Framställningen behandlar den gällande rätten för nådeinstitutet och omvandlingslagen. Avseende nådeinstitutet kan det konstateras att det inte finns omfattande lagreglering på området. Det saknas bl.a. detaljerade regler för hur regeringen ska handlägga ärendena och vilka omständigheter som ska beaktas vid prövningen. Nådeinstitutet är vidare ensidigt och diskretionärt till sin utformning vilket bl.a. innebär att det inte finns en rätt att få nåd. Det finns därför ingen praxis som anger att nåd ska beviljas när vissa omständigheter är för handen. Vidare är det inte möjligt att överklaga regeringens beslut.

Genom omvandlingslagens ikraftträdande har det skett en del förändringar. Efter att den livstidsdömde har avtjänat minst 10 år av sitt straff kan denne ansöka om att få sitt straff omvandlat av Örebro tingsrätt i första instans. Det är vidare möjligt för den dömde att överklaga domstolens beslut. I lagens 4 § anges fem kriterier som domstolen ska beakta vid prövningen. Utifrån dessa kriterier ska domstolen bedöma om det finns förutsättningar att frångå livstidsstraffet och i sådana fall omvandla det till ett straff på viss tid. Oavsett vilken slutsats domstolen når vid prövningen ska dess beslut vara motiverat.

Avseende den praxis som det redogörs för i uppsatsen kan det konstateras att domstolarna grundar sina avgöranden på de kriterier som anges i 4 §. Det kriterium som har fått störst inverkan på bedömningen är risken för att den dömde återfaller i allvarlig brottslighet. Om återfallsrisken bedöms som konkret och beaktansvärd utgör den ensam ett absolut hinder mot ett bifall. HD:s avgörande i NJA 2008 s. 579 har fått stor påverkan för den fortsatta rättstillämpningen av lagen. I rättsfallet gör HD bl.a. en grov kategorisering av straffvärdet mellan 18 och 24 år vilket är utgångspunkten för tidsbestämningen i de fall där det inte föreligger en konkret och beaktansvärd återfallsrisk. Då återfallsrisken har så stor betydelse vid bedömningen har jag dock funnit att det är svårt att precisera någon praxis avseende själva tidsbestämningen av livstidsstraffet.

Genom omvandlingslagen finns det ett system för frigivning av livstidsdömda som är reglerat i lag, förfarandet enligt lagen är offentligt och genom rättsfallen går det att få en insyn i hur domstolarna har resonerat. Detta är aspekter som ökar förutsebarheten med förfarandet. Sammantaget har jag därför i framställningen funnit att införandet av omvandlingslagen har inneburit att rättssäkerheten och förutsebarheten har förbättrats. (Less)
Abstract
In 2006, a new system for release of prisoners serving a life sentence was introduced in Sweden by the law (2006:45) on conversion of imprisonment for life (”omvandlingslagen”). It was meant to serve as a complement to the government’s right to pardon, which for a long time has been the only possibility for a prisoner to be released from his or her life sentence. The law on conversion of imprisonment for life was intended to improve predictability and conformity with the rule of law. The purpose of this essay is to investigate whether the law complies with its intended purpose or not. The essay therefore seeks to answer the question: does the law on conversion of imprisonment for life result in a change regarding the predictability and... (More)
In 2006, a new system for release of prisoners serving a life sentence was introduced in Sweden by the law (2006:45) on conversion of imprisonment for life (”omvandlingslagen”). It was meant to serve as a complement to the government’s right to pardon, which for a long time has been the only possibility for a prisoner to be released from his or her life sentence. The law on conversion of imprisonment for life was intended to improve predictability and conformity with the rule of law. The purpose of this essay is to investigate whether the law complies with its intended purpose or not. The essay therefore seeks to answer the question: does the law on conversion of imprisonment for life result in a change regarding the predictability and conformity with the rule of law for prisoners serving a life sentence?

The essay examines the established law of the government’s right to pardon and the law on conversion of imprisonment for life. There is little legislation regarding the government’s right to pardon. For example, there are no rules dictating the procedure for processing petitions for pardon or what circumstances that should be considered before a decision is made. There is no right to be granted a pardon and there is no obligation for the government to reveal the reasoning of its decision. As such, the government’s right to pardon is unilateral and discretionary. Consequently, there is no legal practice naming criteria for when a pardon shall be granted. Finally, there is no right to appeal the government’s decision.

Some changes have occurred since the law on conversion of imprisonment for life came into effect. When the prisoner has served at least 10 years of their sentence they can apply to Örebro District Court in the first instance to have their sentences converted into a fixed term imprisonment. The court’s decision can be appealed by the prisoner. Section 4 of the law lists five criteria that the court must consider when trying the application. Based on these criteria, the court must assess whether or not there are grounds to deviate from the sentence of life imprisonment. If the court finds that there are such grounds, they shall convert the sentence into a fixed term imprisonment. Regardless of what conclusion is reached, the decisions shall always include the reasoning of the court.

The legal practice examined in the essay shows that the courts base their decisions on the criteria listed in section 4 of the law on conversion of imprisonment for life. The criterion with the greatest impact on the assessment is the prisoner’s risk of relapse into severe criminality. If the risk of relapse is deemed concrete and considerable, it constitutes an absolute bar to approval of conversion. The Supreme Court’s statements in NJA 2008 s. 579 have had great impact on further application of the law. The court makes a rough categorization of the penalty value of 18 to 24 years, which is the basis for fixation of the term of imprisonment in cases where there is not a concrete and considerable risk of relapse. Since the risk of relapse into severe criminality has such great impact on the court’s assessment, I have found it difficult to pinpoint a legal practice regarding the fixation of the term of imprisonment.

The law on conversion of imprisonment for life has instituted a system for release of prisoners serving a life sentence that is regulated by law. The practice of the law is public and the case law gives transparency to the court’s reasoning. These are aspects that increase the predictability in the system. Overall, I have found that the law on conversion of imprisonment for life has meant that the conformity with the rule of law as well as the predictability have improved. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Johansson, Frida LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Not for a lifetime - about the conversion of imprisonment for life
course
JURM02 20132
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Straffrätt
language
Swedish
id
4230779
date added to LUP
2014-01-27 08:55:10
date last changed
2014-01-27 08:55:10
@misc{4230779,
  abstract     = {In 2006, a new system for release of prisoners serving a life sentence was introduced in Sweden by the law (2006:45) on conversion of imprisonment for life (”omvandlingslagen”). It was meant to serve as a complement to the government’s right to pardon, which for a long time has been the only possibility for a prisoner to be released from his or her life sentence. The law on conversion of imprisonment for life was intended to improve predictability and conformity with the rule of law. The purpose of this essay is to investigate whether the law complies with its intended purpose or not. The essay therefore seeks to answer the question: does the law on conversion of imprisonment for life result in a change regarding the predictability and conformity with the rule of law for prisoners serving a life sentence?

The essay examines the established law of the government’s right to pardon and the law on conversion of imprisonment for life. There is little legislation regarding the government’s right to pardon. For example, there are no rules dictating the procedure for processing petitions for pardon or what circumstances that should be considered before a decision is made. There is no right to be granted a pardon and there is no obligation for the government to reveal the reasoning of its decision. As such, the government’s right to pardon is unilateral and discretionary. Consequently, there is no legal practice naming criteria for when a pardon shall be granted. Finally, there is no right to appeal the government’s decision. 

Some changes have occurred since the law on conversion of imprisonment for life came into effect. When the prisoner has served at least 10 years of their sentence they can apply to Örebro District Court in the first instance to have their sentences converted into a fixed term imprisonment. The court’s decision can be appealed by the prisoner. Section 4 of the law lists five criteria that the court must consider when trying the application. Based on these criteria, the court must assess whether or not there are grounds to deviate from the sentence of life imprisonment. If the court finds that there are such grounds, they shall convert the sentence into a fixed term imprisonment. Regardless of what conclusion is reached, the decisions shall always include the reasoning of the court.
 
The legal practice examined in the essay shows that the courts base their decisions on the criteria listed in section 4 of the law on conversion of imprisonment for life. The criterion with the greatest impact on the assessment is the prisoner’s risk of relapse into severe criminality. If the risk of relapse is deemed concrete and considerable, it constitutes an absolute bar to approval of conversion. The Supreme Court’s statements in NJA 2008 s. 579 have had great impact on further application of the law. The court makes a rough categorization of the penalty value of 18 to 24 years, which is the basis for fixation of the term of imprisonment in cases where there is not a concrete and considerable risk of relapse. Since the risk of relapse into severe criminality has such great impact on the court’s assessment, I have found it difficult to pinpoint a legal practice regarding the fixation of the term of imprisonment. 

The law on conversion of imprisonment for life has instituted a system for release of prisoners serving a life sentence that is regulated by law. The practice of the law is public and the case law gives transparency to the court’s reasoning. These are aspects that increase the predictability in the system. Overall, I have found that the law on conversion of imprisonment for life has meant that the conformity with the rule of law as well as the predictability have improved.},
  author       = {Johansson, Frida},
  keyword      = {Straffrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Från livstid till viss tid - om tidsbestämning av livstidsstraff},
  year         = {2013},
}