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NCJ Number: 43372 Find in a Library
Title: CASE FOR JUDICIAL DISCRETION IN SENTENCING
Journal: JUDICATURE  Volume:61  Issue:2  Dated:(AUGUST 1977)  Pages:66-69
Author(s): W EVANS; F GILBERT
Corporate Author: American Judicature Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: American Judicature Soc
Chicago, IL 60601-7401
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: GROWING CRIME RATES HAVE LED TO A CALL FOR MANDATORY SENTENCING. JUDICIAL DISCRETION IS CALLED ESSENTIAL TO ENSURE INDIVIDUAL JUSTICE, BUT FOUR RECOMMENDATIONS ARE MADE TO IMPROVE THE SENTENCING PROCESS.
Abstract: NO LAW CAN COVER ALL THE PECULIARITIES AND MANIFESTATIONS OF MAN'S SOCIAL PROBLEMS. FOR THIS REASON, JUDICIAL DISCRETION IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM. HOWEVER, THE PROBLEM OF DISPARITY EXISTS AND MUST BE ATTACKED. THE DISTRICT OF OREGON HAS DEVELOPED FOUR GUIDELINES TO REDUCE THE POSSIBILITY OF UNDUE DISPARITY AND BRING ABOUT MORE EFFECTIVE SENTENCING, BOTH IN TERMS OF PROTECTING THE PUBLIC AND IN TERMS OF TREATING THE PROBLEMS OF OFFENDERS: (1) LEGISLATIVE ACTION SHOULD SUCCINCTLY STATE THE PURPOSE OF SENTENCING. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH LEGAL DIRECTION AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT OF OREGON HAS ADOPTED A SENTENCING PHILOSOPHY WHICH ESTABLISHES THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA FOR IMPRISONMENT: IMPRISONMENT IS NECESSARY TO NEUTRALIZE THE DANGEROUS OFFENDER; CONFINEMENT IS REQUIRED TO DETER THE DEFENDANT OR OTHERS; A SENTENCE OTHER THAN CONFINEMENT WOULD UNDULY DEPRECIATE THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE CRIME; AND CONFINEMENT WOULD BE THE THE MOST EFFECTIVE METHOD. IT IS WITHIN THIS FRAME OF REFERENCE THAT DECISIONS ARE MADE TO IMPRISON A CONVICTED DEFENDANT OR TO IMPOSE PROBATION OR SOME OTHER LESSER SANCTION. (2) QUALITY PRESENTENCE SERVICES, INCLUDING A SPECIFIC SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION WITH SUPPORTING RATIONALE, MUST BE FURNISHED TO THE JUDGE. (3) THE COURT MUST ARTICULATE ITS REASONS FOR THE SENTENCE IMPOSED TO INCREASE ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE COURT AND TO PROVIDE A FRAME OF REFERENCE FOR APPELLATE COURTS, INSTITUTIONAL STAFF, AND PAROLE AUTHORITIES. (4) LEGISLATION SHOULD BE ENACTED WHICH WILL PREVENT UNTIMELY RELEASE. IF THE COURT MUST GO THROUGH A CAREFULLY REASONED PROCESS TO IMPOSE A SENTENCE, THIS PROCESS SHOULD NOT BE THWARTED BY THE RELEASING AUTHORITY. IF THE PURPOSE OF THE IMPRISONMENT IS TO ENSURE PUBLIC SAFETY, THE CONDITIONS FOR RELEASE SHOULD BE CAREFULLY SPELLED OUT. IF THE PURPOSE IS TREATMENT, THE PERSON SHOULD BE RELEASED AS SOON AS TREATMENT NEEDS. THESE FOUR REFORMS ARE CALLED BETTER THAN APPROACHES WHICH INHIBIT OR DENY JUDICIAL DISCRETION, AS THE LATTER APPROACHES WILL PRODUCE RESULTS COUNTER TO THOSE BEING SOUGHT.
Index Term(s): Judicial discretion; Mandatory Sentencing; Oregon; Presentence investigations; Reform; Sentencing disparity; Theory
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=43372

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