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NCJ Number: 50062 Find in a Library
Title: SENTENCING IN INDIANA - APPELLATE REVIEW OF THE TRIAL COURT'S DISCRETION
Journal: VALPARAISO UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW  Volume:12  Issue:2  Dated:(WINTER 1978)  Pages:219-251
Author(s): J E SMITHBURN
Corporate Author: Valparaiso University
School of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 33
Sponsoring Agency: Valparaiso University
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: APPELLATE REVIEW OF SENTENCING AND A STATEMENT OF REASONS FOR SENTENCES SELECTED ARE SUGGESTED TO DECREASE THE LACK OF UNIFORMITY AND RATIONALITY IN SENTENCING.
Abstract: TRADITIONALLY, IT IS THE ROLE OF THE TRIAL JUDGE TO DETERMINE THE APPROPRIATE SENTENCE FOR A CONVICTED OFFENDER AND ABSENCE OF GUIDELINES AND CRITERIA USUALLY ALLOWS HIM TO IMPOSE ANY SENTENCE AUTHORIZED FROM A BROAD RANGE OF STATUTORY PRESCRIPTIONS. THIS POLICY WHICH HAS BEEN CRITICIZED AS BEING MORALLY OFFENSIVE AND ONE THAT CREATES DISRESPECT FOR THE JUDICIAL PROCESS LED TO THE REVISION OF THE INDIANA PENAL CODE WHICH REQUIRES TRIAL COURTS TO CONDUCT SEPARATE HEARINGS FOR DETERMINING APPROPRIATE SENTENCES AND TO MAKE RECORDS OF THE HEARING WITH REASONS FOR SELECTING THE SENTENCE TO BE IMPOSED. THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PROVIDED THE TRIAL COURT WITH DIRECTIVES FOR DETERMINING THE PROPER SENTENCE FOR SPECIFIC CRIMES. THE LEGISLATURE ALSO PROVIDED A LIST OF CRITERIA FOR ASSESSING AGGRAVATING OR MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MAY WARRANT AN INCREASE OR REDUCTION IN SENTENCING AND PROMULGATED RULES TO GOVERN APPELLATE REVIEW OF SENTENCES. THERE ARE FOUR GENERAL ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF APPELLATE REVIEW OF SENTENCES: (1) EXCESSIVE SENTENCING MAY BE CORRECTED; (2) REHABILITATION MAY BE FACILITATED BY ALLOWING OFFENDERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ASSERT GRIEVANCES; (3) FAIRER SENTENCES PROMOTE RESPECT FOR THE LAW; AND (4) RATIONAL AND JUST CRITERIA FOR SENTENCING ARE PROMOTED. THE INDIANA SUPREME COURT LIMITED THE SCOPE OF APPELLATE COURT REVIEW TO THE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER THE SENTENCE IS REASONABLE WHEN VIEWED IN RELATION TO THE NATURE OF THE OFFENSE AND THE CHARACTER OF THE OFFENDER. BY SETTING STANDARDS GOVERNING THE SCOPE OF THE COURT'S REVIEW, THE SUPREME COURT AVOIDED THE PROBLEMS INVOLVED IN DEVELOPING A WORKABLE REVIEW SYSTEM EXPERIENCED IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS. THE INDIANA PENAL CODE PRESCRIBES CRITERIA THAT THE COURT MUST CONSIDER WHEN SENTENCING: (1) THE RISK THAT THE PERSON WILL COMMIT ANOTHER CRIME; (2) THE NATURE AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CRIME; AND (3) THE PRIOR CRIMINAL RECORD, CHARACTER, AND CONDITION OF THE PERSON. THE TRIAL COURT, HOWEVER, MUST CONTINUE TO EXERCISE DISCRETION IN DETERMINING AGGRAVATING OR MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES, AND IT MUST ALSO EXERCISE DISCRETION IN ASSIGNING WEIGHT TO THE VARIOUS CRITERIA THAT MUST BE ARTICULATED SINCE AN APPROPRIATE SENTENCE REQUIRES THE BALANCING OF MANY COMPETING VALUES. THE PROVISIONS OF THE INDIANA PENAL CODE GOVERNING THE SENTENCING PROCEDURE EMPLOYED IN CONJUNCTION WITH APPELLATE REVIEW OF SENTENCES ARE SEEN AS SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN INDIANA. (KJM)
Index Term(s): Appellate courts; Indiana; Judicial discretion; Judicial review; Sentencing/Sanctions; State courts; Trial courts
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50062

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