Chapter 8 Notes
Chapter 8 Notes CORR 106
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Popular in Introduction to Criminal Justice Systems
Popular in Criminology and Criminal Justice
This 14 page Class Notes was uploaded by Autumn R on Tuesday April 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CORR 106 at Minnesota State University - Mankato taught by Jessica, Mclaughlin in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 129 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Criminal Justice Systems in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Minnesota State University - Mankato.
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Date Created: 04/05/16
2: Chapter 8-Sentencing Wednesday, March 30, 2016 5:03 PM Notes off Reading: Purpose of Criminal Sanctions Each country determines its own criminal sanctions and the range of sentences is diverse Purpose of criminal sanctions? -> an unanswered question o The courts have adopted diverse sentencing options Adopted based on fear, loss of confidence in the criminal justice system, or belief that offenders cannot be rehabilitated Supreme Court has oversight responsibility to determine that sentences do not violate constitutional rights under the eight amendment Public outcry for justice o Ex. Crack vs powder, 100:1 sentencing disparity Guidance of sentencing for judges o Guided by the law because it must provide the type and range of punishments that may be imposed after conviction o Sentencing guidelines and case precedents Must be fair and cannot discriminate on factors such as race, gender, or religion Ex. Minority offenders cannot be sentenced to longer terms of imprisonment than white offenders for similar offenses Corporal punishment included whipping, branding, dunking, confinement, and other pain rituals Contemporary purposes of punishment: 1 Deterrence a Based on the principle that punishment should prevent the criminal from reoffending i Identify what punishment or threat effectively prevents people from committing crimes or criminals from reoffending ii Punishments include economic sanctions, corporal punishment, and threat of bodily hard 1 Based on the fact that people avoid pain and seek pleasure b Corporal punishment i Considered effective strategy in shaping children's behavior ii Now abandoned in the US but used in many foreign countries b Specific and general deterrence i Specific deterrence is when an individual who has committed a crime is deterred from committing that crime in the future by the nature of the punishment ii General deterrence is the ability to prevent non offenders from committing crimes 1 Based on logic that people who witness the pain suffered by those who commit crimes will want to avoid that pain b Sterilization and deterrence i Belief that crime is hereditary, criminals should be sterilized to prevent future crime ii Used rarely in the US 2 Incapacitation a Criminals should be prevented from having the opportunity to commit other crimes b Assumes that offenders cannot be rehabilitated and it will never be safe to release them back into society c Death penalty is an extreme form d Oldest forms= banishment and transportation i Banishment removed offenders from society under the stipulation that if they would return they would be put to death ii Transportation removed offenders from society from society by literally moving them to another place iii Modern society has made this impractical, however, some states still practice limited forms b Modern means i Confiscating cars of accused drunk drivers and property and valuables of drug dealers and members of organized crime ii Most common form= imprisonment iii Some argue that incapacitation doesn't protect the public from the offender because nearly all prisoners are released back into society 1 If underlying behavioral and psychological problems have not been treated then they will still be dangerous 2 Retribution a Is the argument that criminals should be punished because they deserve it b Eye for an eye philosophy c Traditionally the victim's revenge d Related to people's emotional response to crime i People believe that the offender does not suffer enough ii Many prison officials and the public favored the idea that the purpose of punishment was retribution during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries 2 Rehabilitation a Call for criminal sanctions to "cure" the offender of criminality b Model is referred to as the "medical model" i Views criminality as a disease to be cured b Approaches involving psychology, medical treatment, drug treatment, self- esteem counseling, education, and programs aimed at developing ethical values and work skills c Offender has a "defect" which needs to be "fixed" d Process is often rejected for repeat and career offenders 2 Restorative justice a Focuses on rehabilitating the victims rather than the offenders b Sees the relationship between the offender, victim, and society in a different light i Justice requires that the harm done be removed ii "heal" individuals through the process b Offender should be made to provide some contribution to the community and to the victim to heal the harm he or she caused The Special Case of Offenders with Mental Illness Gilt is based on the assumption that the defendant is legally sane o Means that the defendant can distinguish between right and wrong and committed his or her offenses of their own free will insanity is not a medical diagnosis or mental illness and is not the same as when the defendant is not competent to stand trial o Is a legal defense o The defendant must admit to committing the act but denies responsibility Defining Insanity Federal and state courts have different standards for defining insanity, all federal courts are the same "psychiatric evidence which negates mens rea…negates an element of the offense rather than constituting a justification or excuse" o Completely exempts the defendant's actions from criminal liability Mental health professionals examine the defendant prior to trial Jury must digest the evidence and decide whether the defendant's mental health meets the legal standard of insanity Verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity means the defendant will not be criminally sanctioned for his or her acts The Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984 Requires that in federal courts the defendant found not guilty by reason of insanity must undergo a civil commitment examination within 40 days of the verdict o Determines whether the defendant should be released or confined to an institution for people with mental illness o Determine whether defendants are a danger to just themselves or to the public Defendants may be forced to undergo medical and drug treatment Most used in first-degree homicide cases State Courts and the Insanity Plea Many states have adopted the new verdict of guilty but mentally ill o Michigan first to adopt the verdict o Gives jury the option of finding that the defendant that has a mental illness, but was "sufficiently in possession of his faculties to be morally blameworthy for his acts" o An alternative to the not guilty by reason of insanity verdict Mentally ill but still morally responsible o During confinement at a mental hospital, if doctors determine that the defendant is no longer suffering from mental illness, they are not released, but are transferred to the state prison to serve the sentence Public Fear of the Insanity Plea Fear because it allows defendants to escape incarceration does not appear to be justified Offenders found to be not guilty by reason of insanity rarely obtain their freedom following the verdict A Fair Sentence Six major factors 1 Laws Specify the punishment for an offense There are still debates as to the equality of contemporary laws and punishments o Ex. Crack vs powder cocaine 1 Judges Fair and impartial judge is the cornerstone of justice Federal judges can only be removed by impeachment o Formed it hopes that it would shield federal judges from political influences in their judicial duties and decisions 1 Concerns about the Election of State Judges States selection process depends on popular elections Election pressures can influence a judge's judicial decisions 1 Prosecutors Fair and unbiased= essential element of a fair trial and sentence Unethical for the prosecutor to demonstrate bias in selecting which crimes to prosecute or to charge defendants without regard for the evidence regarding their possible innocence 1 Defense Attorneys Public defenders have begun rejecting new cases, arguing that it would be unethical to overburden themselves to the point that they are unable to provide each defendant with adequate representation 1 Juries Supposed to be unbaised Voir dire process can be lengthy and expensive Presentence Investigation Report Involves gathering information about the convicted offender to help determine the best sentence Federal and state judges are assisted in the process by a staff of people who conduct a presentence investigation The Offender's Background and Attitude Presentence investigator is a person who works for the court and has the responsibility of investigating the background of the convicted offender and the circumstances surrounding the offense o Responsibility of investigating the life the offender led, any previous crimes, and the impact of the crime on the community and victims Based on the assumption that the defendant is guilty After conviction the defendant is expected to cooperate with presentence investigators and does not have the right to remain silent Offender may be required to complete interviews and life history forms The Presentencing Recommendation Presentence investigation report contains a recommendation for specific criminal sanctions, including a recommendation for prison time, probation, fines, community service, or other sanctions In over 90% of cases the judge accepts the recommended sanctions outlined in the presentence investigation report Sentencing Hearing and Victim Impact Statements Judge sets a date for a sentencing hearing where the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to critique the recommended criminal sanctions Judge may also allow victim impact statements in which victims have a change to influence the sentencing Sentencing Models Juries determine the guilt of defendants, but judges are responsible for determining the sentence that defendants receive Criminal laws specify the punishment or range of punishments a judge can impose if a defendant is found guilty of violating a law Sentencing Models Traditional criminal sanctions include fines, imprisonment, community service, restitution, probation, or some combination Judges are guided by the laws with minimum and maximum sentencing a convicted defendant can receive for their particular crime o Varies between state judges Judges used to use the indeterminate sentencing model of sentencing which gave the judge the most power and flexibility in setting the sentence of the offender o Also gave power to prison authorities To cure the bad of indeterminate sentencing, state and federal legislation adopted structured sentencing models including: 1 Determinate sentencing 2 Mandatory sentencing and habitual offender laws 3 Sentencing guidelines 4 Presumptive sentencing Determinate versus Indeterminate Sentencing Offender is sentenced to a fixed term of incarceration o May be reduced by parole or good behavior Aka flat or fixed sentences Reform that emerged in 1970s to provide more equity and proportionality in sentencing Mandatory Sentencing and Habitual offender Laws Strict application of full sentences adopted because of public perception that offenders were "getting off too light" Sentencing not left to discretion by the judge Applied mostly for crimes of domestic violence Applied to repeat offenders through habitual offender laws o Responsible for much of the increase in prison populations Three strikes law: repeat offenders receive longer mandatory sentences (California) American Bar Association has recommended an end to mandatory minimum sentences and overly harsh prison terms for nonviolent offenders o Reported that long prison terms should be reserved for criminals who pose the greatest danger and commit the most serious crimes Sentencing Guidelines Crimes are classified according to seriousness and a range of time is mandated for crimes within each category Each state has its own classification for the seriousness of a crime and the corresponding length of sentence that can be imposed for that crime Presumptive Sentencing Structured sentencing model that attempts to balance indeterminate sentencing with determinate sentencing Gives discretionary powers to the judge within certain limits Sentencing reform act of 1984 set minimum and maximum terms of imprisonment for the various federal offenses Provided an adjustment for the offenders criminal history and for aggravating and mitigating circumstances o Aggravating factors are actions that may increase the seriousness of the crime and thus the length of the punishment o Mitigating factors are actions that show the offenders remorse or responsibility Judge calculates sentence using the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual while adding or subtracting months due to above conditions Restrictions on Plea Bargaining Sentencing reform act of 1984 did restrict but did not abolish plea bargaining Sentence-reduction cannot permit the offender to receive less than the minimum mandatory sentence If plea bargaining results in reduced charges, the court record and plea bargaining agreement must fully disclose the details of the actual crime Abolishment of Parole Parole provides for the possibility that an offender sentenced may serve only one-third of that time Many states depend on parole to move offenders through the correctional system Leads to building of more prisons Unconstitutionality Struck down as unconstitutional by Supreme Court in January 2005 Washington State decision: see book page 163 Truth in Sentencing Requires the court to disclose the actual prison time the offender is likely to serve Some states have 85% requirement rule which states that for some offenses the offender must serve at least 85% of his or her sentence before becoming eligible for release o Significantly increases actual prison time since many get out after 1/3 of their sentence Sentencing and the Death Penalty Lethal injection is the primary method of execution for states Death Penalty and Abolitionists Decrease from 98/year in 1999 to 43/year in 2013 Public support is dropping Abolitionists are people that are universally opposed to the use of capital punishment Supporters claim the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime o Cesare Beccaria, father of classical criminology, argued that the death penalty was not an effective deterrent Life in prison is a greater punishment Death Penalty and Civil Rights The Issue of Cruel and Unusual Punishment Early appeal ex. Wilkerson v. Utah (1878) o Appealed that his sentence was cruel and unusual, but the court upheld the constitutionality of the sentence Electrocution o Failed once for Willie Francis Other Civil Rights Issues Supreme court has ruled that people cannot be excluded from capital murder case juries because of their race o Exclusion of blacks from the jury when the defendant was black was racial discrimination Challenges to the Death Penalty Furman v Georgia(1972) Furman's defense argued that the death penalty as applied, was arbitrary and capricious o Who was executed and who was not appeared to be determined randomly between similar cases o Common element in executions was socioeconomic and racial characteristics (poor and black) Supreme court agreed and all death penalty sentences were suspended until the state could prove that the death penalty was applied fairly o Reinstated four years later in Gregg v. Georgia Did not declare death penalty as unconstitutional, only that the manner in which it was applied was unconstitutional o Some states chose to abolish the penalty instead of renew their ability to use it Criteria for the Death Penalty Court required state to be more specific in defining the criteria to be used in applying the death penalty Further defined criteria when it struck down Georgia's statute authorizing the death penalty for rape o "Grossly disproportionate to the crime" Supreme Court has upheld its position that the death penalty is limited to the crime of murder Gregg v. Georgia Landmark decision Required a bifurcated trial structure o Required that trials for capital offenses had to be conducted in two separate parts o Jury determines guilt of the defendant o Additional evidence can be introduced relevant to the punishment appropriate for the crime (after the defendant has been convicted) Ring v. Arizona the supreme court ruled that a jury and not a judge must make a finding of "aggravating factors" when those factors underlie a judge's choice to impose the death penalty rather than a lesser punishment Reconsideration of the Death Penalty Some states suspended its use until critical questions and protocols can be resolved Ban on executing defendants with mental retardation The Innocent Conviction Significant argument- those that have been wrongfully convicted Death penalty cannot be reversed Case of Lena Baker, see page 169 Official Misconduct and Error Leading cause of wrongful convictions for murder were false confessions and perjury by codefendants, informants, police officers, or forensic scientists o People most likely to do so: mental retarded, mental illness, juveniles Flawed forensic evidence Framed by police Ineffective Counsel Inadequate legal representation at trial Racial Bias Blacks and Hispanics are treated more harshly than whites are at every level of the criminal justice system, from investigation to sentencing o Report by Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Furman v. Georgia Convicted person can obtain relief from the death penalty under the claim of racial discrimination in only the following circumstances: o The decision makers in the case acted with discriminatory intent o The legislature enacted or maintained the death penalty statute because of an anticipated racially discriminatory effect DNA Evidence Inmates freed from wrongful conviction due to new testing Expand to create vast DNA databases Difficulties in Introducing DNA after Conviction Courts have adopted rules limiting the amount of time that may pass before new evidence will be considered or have refused to allow DNA testing of prisoners who have already been executed New evidence alone is not sufficient for a successful appeal o Court requires the defendant to demonstrate that there is a reasonable possibility that the new evidence would prove his or her innocence Denied if original trial provides substantial proff of the inmate's guilt Cost of the Death Penalty Cost is more than imprisoning someone for life Adds a tremendous strain to state budgets Notes off PowerPoint: Sentencing, Race, and Sexuality in Criminal Justice Collateral Consequences Trickle down Example: taking parents away from kids o Modern welfare stops coming in, no income o Removing kids from home= housing cuts o Foster care charges o Time away from work = less income Occur with each offender Purposes- Deterrence Prevention theory o Corporal punishment o Sterilization Trying to stop future generations of criminals Believe that crime is biological o Financial sanction o Specific deterrence Preventing specific incident from reoccurring o General deterrence Hoping that people learn from others Incapacitation If can't be deterred, then prevent o Banishment o Transportation o Most common form is incarceration Retribution Criminal suffers Deserve punishment Revenge of the victim Believe/like long prison terms for offenders Rehabilitation Medical model o "cure" Chemical dependency, mental health, therapy services, education, work programs Occurs nearly 100% of the time for juveniles Restorative Justice Victim-centered o Restitution o Mediation o Community services o Awareness panels Used a lot in property crimes, less in violent crimes Mental Health/ Illness No such diagnosis as insanity in DSM5, but it is a court term! Insanity Legally sane: know right from wrong Civil commitment: don't have to commit a crime to be admitted into a program, can still be out in public if you continue to follow the professionals recommendations Guilty but mentally ill: someone is guilty but is morally responsible- often get treatment and then serve their sentence Fair Sentencing Laws o Don't represent our whole society and our whole country, but do represent the people that vote for the laws o Ex. Crack vs powder cocaine o q: do the laws represent a majority, is that fair to the minority? o majority Judges o Top are elected, makes it political o Are judges going to hand out sentences in favor of those that voted them in? o politics Prosecutor o Should be biased free, however, they work for the state and therefore will have what's best for the state in mind when creating sentences o state Defense attorney o overworked Juries o Jury of peers is random people picked out of voting pole o Voir dire Dismiss without cause: An attorney can get rid of juries without cause Jury becomes more specialized and less like the offender Judicial Dispositions From severe to less severe…(can have more than just one) 1 Capital punishment 2 Imprisonment 3 Probation a Probation agent hired by the state or county to monitor offender b Drug tests, etc. 2 Fines 3 (restitution/community services/restorative justice) 4 "Creative sentencing" PSI (pre-sentence investigation) Done by a probation agent or free agent Done when offender is pending sentencing Valuable component for court o Describes crime o Notes suffering of victims o Prior offenses (and alleged criminal activity) o Personal information (things that will not be shared during trial) (work/family history) Sentencing recommendations Victim impact statement o Read by victim or someone appointed to describe how the crime affected their life Sentencing Models Indeterminate sentencing o Judge has all discretion Structured sentencing determinate o There is a structure followed according to which crime was committed o Grey and ranges are wiggle room according to chart in class Structured sentencing mandatory o No wiggle room for the structure followed, mandatory sentencing according to chart in class Structured sentencing presumptive o Not giving judge all of the power but also doesn't have mandatory guidelines o Sets minimum and maximum sentence, but has discretion o Looks at mitigating factors Sentencing Factors Conviction vs real offense o Judge might look at initial offense and come up with a more fitting sentence Mitigating circumstances (positive) o Offender expressing sorrow/remorse Aggravating circumstances (negative) o Offender actions make it worse o Increases seriousness of the crime Judicial philosophy o Each judge is different Inconsistencies in sentencing Sentencing disparities o Similar sentences for different crimes of unequal seriousness o Different sentences for similar crimes o Mitigating/aggravating circumstances have disproportionate effect on sentence Sentencing discrimination: extralegal variables o Race African American more likely to be victim African American more economic inequalities African American commit more crime Structural racial disparity Neighborhood, education, employment, family dynamics o Unemployment o Age o Gender Women Less likely to go to prison(even if committed same crime as a male) Shorter prison term Mitigating circumstances? o Response to domestic violence o Accessories to violent crime Rather than the actual perpetrator Chivalry o Tend to look at female offenders as daughters and wives and take sympathy for them Repeat offenders are typically more harshly sentenced
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