The first legislative proposal within the scope of the judicial reform that consists of 39 articles and amends 15 different statutes entered into force following its publication in the Official Gazette on 24 October 2019. The new Law introduces many significant changes, especially with regard to criminal procedure law. Some major changes are as follows:
- Establishes a "capped period" for detentions in the criminal investigation phase. During this phase of the proceedings, the length of detention may not exceed 6 months for crimes that do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Heavy Criminal Court and 1 year for crimes that do. These periods will not apply to or may be extended for certain crimes.
- Allows defendants to appeal to the Court of Appeals even when the length of the sentence determined by the regional court is less than 5 years. Some crimes related to the freedom of expression will also benefit from this.
- Limits decisions concerning bans on accessing internet sites to the specific content subject to the relevant decision rather than blocking access to the entire site. For some crimes, banning access to the entire site may still be possible.
- Allows the public prosecutor to adjourn the initiation of a criminal case if the penalty for the offense is a maximum of 3 years' imprisonment. Some crimes related to the freedom of expression will not benefit from this.
- Increases the number of offenses that may benefit from the pre-payment option, which allows defendants to pay a monetary fine in return for the prosecutor refraining from bringing a criminal case against them. The proposal also introduces payment by installments.
- Increases the number of offenses for which mediation is available.
- Introduces Plea-bargaining for crimes punishable by relatively shorter sentences. The plea bargaining process will convene at the end of the criminal investigation period if the suspect accepts the public prosecutor's proposal with his attorney present. Accordingly, the public prosecutor will determine the sentence by applying certain reductions to the statutory sentences as foreseen in the definition of the offense.
- Introduces Fast track adjudication for offenses with a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 2 years. After the court accepts the indictment, the court can decide the case without conducting a hearing or without asking for the public prosecutor's opinion. If the court applying this procedure rules for imprisonment, the length of the final sentence will be shortened by a quarter.