Relief From Punishment
Relief From Punishment
under Soviet law: (1) The nonapplication of punishment to a person who has committed a crime in cases envisioned by law. This is permitted if it is deemed that by the time of the investigation or court hearing of a case the act committed by the offender has lost its socially dangerous character or the offender has ceased to be socially dangerous. Relief from punishment is also possible if it is deemed that, because of his subsequent irreproachable behavior and a conscientious attitude toward labor, the person cannot be considered socially dangerous by the time of the hearing of the case in court (Basic Principles of Criminal Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics, art. 43).
In addition to these instances, which are envisioned by all-Union legislation, the criminal codes of the Union republics provide that relief from punishment is possible primarily if a case is transferred to a comrades’ court (for example, the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, art. 51). This is permitted when a petty crime has been committed if, because of the nature of the act committed and the personality of the offender, he may be corrected through measures of social pressure without punishment. Examples of petty crimes are given in the codes: the intentional infliction of light bodily injury or beatings that do not result in impairment of health; the spreading in a collective of fabrications that slander a member of the collective; insult; the theft of inexpensive articles that are the personal property of citizens if the offender and the victim are members of the same collective. Relief from punishment and the transfer of a case to the comrades’ court is also possible if the sanction of the appropriate article of the criminal code permits the application of measures of social pressure or if the offender is freed on surety (Criminal Code of the RSFSR, art. 52). Punishment is also not applied if the period of limitation for instituting criminal proceedings or the period for executing a judgment of guilty has expired; if compulsory educative measures are used with respect to a minor; or if the illegal actions were committed in necessary defense or extreme necessity. (2) Release from punishment already served or being served.