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Chapter 9: Punishment and Sentencing

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Keryn Lemp

on 3 November 2014

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Transcript of Chapter 9: Punishment and Sentencing

Why do we have criminal punishment?
How do we punish?
Legislature vs. Judicial
Problems with Sentencing
Sentencing Disparity:
same crime, but judicial discretion results in each being punished differently
Sentencing Discrimination:
statistics on race of those sentenced shows major discrimination
-> African Americans 12.1% more likely convicted
->38% inmates are black, while 28% of those arrested are black
Capital Punishment
3100 on death row.
Methods: 1890s = electrocution
1977 = Oklahoma becomes first state to use lethal injection
16 States have two options, one being lethal injection....
Electrocution - 9
Lethal Gas - 3
Hanging - 3
Firing Squad - 2
Chapter 9: Punishment and Sentencing
Restorative Justice
Victims are more interested in an opportunity to participate in the process.
usually involves financial reparations and public apology
community programs
victim-offender dialogue (face-to-face)
usually reflects a harsher punishing stage is in favor
Indeterminate Sentencing: minimum & maximum amount of time spent in prison
Determinate Sentencing: fixed sentencing
"good time" can reduce either of these; result is Truth in Sentencing Laws...
usually reflects a lenience towards rehabilitative justice
1930s-1970s = rehabilitative theories dominated CJS; indeterminate sentencing laws with individualized justice
Types of Dispositions to choose from:
Capital Punishment
1st degree murder; available in 2 states and all of federal court (for certain crimes)
common option
prison overcrowding?
result of the overcrowding
lives in community under supervision
alternative sanctions can be combined with probation
can be in addition to other sanctions
only punishment if the offender is not a threat to the community!
Other sanctions can include community service, restitution, aplogies, or creative sentencing.
The Process
Pre-sentence Investigative Report
Juries decide on Death Penalty cases
Two factors judge considers:
1. Seriousness of Crime
2. Mitigating & Aggravating Circumstances
Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 called for gender-neutral sentencing
->good on paper, but in practice?
How do you limit judicial discretion?
sentencing guidelines: 1978 Minnesota creates a Sentencing Guidelines Committee [today about 20 states use this]
1984 Sentencing Reform Act: federal guidelines limited early release and parole
PROS of Limiting
Judicial Discretion
CONS of Limiting
Judicial Discretion
Example of limiting discretion?
Lethal Injection details:
1st Drug = sedative sodium thiopental, to deaden the pain
2nd Drug = pancuronium cromide, to paralyze/immobolize
3rd Drug = potassium chloride, to stop the heart
Chronological Court Cases
Weems v. U.S.
set three important precedents when administering the D.P.
1. Cruel & Unusual punishment is defined by the changing norms and standards of society, NOT based on historical interpretations
2. Courts decide if it is unnecessarily cruel and unusual with PHYSICAL pain
3. Courts decide if it is unnecessarily cruel and unusual with PSYCHOLOGICAL pain
Furman v. Georgia, 1972
5-4 decision
How Georgia was administering the D.P. was unconstitutional (violation of the 8th)
The Georgia statute allowed for the D.P. to be arbitrarily given, allowing race, gender, etc. to play a role
Greg v. Georgia, 1976
A bifurcated process in Georgia fixed the issue
Now jury determines guilt/innocence for a crime that, according to statute, is punishable by death
Jury then reconvenes and considers mitigating and aggravating circumstances to determine whether or not to give D.P.
Ring v. Arizona, 2007
In the sentencing stage, there was no jury...just a judge present to decide whether or not the death penalty would be administered as punishment
Case decided that this was a violation of the 8th Amendment
(Alabama, Delaware, & Florida all have the option of having a judge override a jury's decision to choose the death penalty or LWOP)
1999: 277 people issued the death penalty
2012: 77 people issued the death penalty

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