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LWSO203 - Criminal Law - Sentencing.docx

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Law and Society
LWSO 203
Marywyatt Sindlinger

Criminal Law – Sentencing 1) Basic ideas a) Crime as a public wrong - for society as a whole on behalf of society as a whole (crown prosecutors don’t represent the victims of the crime, they represent the public) b) Public process c) Punishment inflicted by the group against a group member d) Intentional imposition of pain, suffering, or consequences designed to achieve a desired result and justified by that result – The courts are aiming at a goal by punishing and they justify it because of the importance of that final result Justifications of why we punish:  Retribution (eye for an eye, you need to be punished for what you did), pain comes in all types of ways (restricting, fines)  Also justified because it imposes consequences. The courts hope those consequences will prevent crime in the future (punishing as a way of teaching a lesson) – Utilitarian Rehabilitation  Justifications of why we punish are different for different circumstances. 2) Canadian Criminal Code Principles of Sentencing a) S. 718 (read the specifics online) – the sentence must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and to the degree of responsibility of the offender which is accomplished by looking at the following:  The principles of sentencing = 1) Proportionate to the gravity of the offence: you steal (not a serious offence) you don’t put them in jail. The sentence needs to be proportionate to the offence. Punishment has to fit the crime. And 2) degree of responsibility to the offender – was there a substance abuse issues? Sexual abuses in the past? Used to promote justice in society. Objectives of Sentencing: i) Denunciation - through sentencing the court makes a public statement saying what you’ve done is wrong ii) Specific deterrence - you have done something and we will punish you so you learn not to do it again. Specific – for this particular accusation (John Doe knows not to commit THIS offence again) iii) General deterrence - not only Joe Doe, we want the public not to do it (so the sentence is something the public can look at and be shocked by so they know not to do it) iv) Incapacitation - stopping people from removing crimes by removing them from society. In the old days – jail, exile or death. v) Rehabilitation - sentences should be crafted to address the underlying causes of criminal behaviour vi) Reparation to the individual or community – direct payback vii)Promote a sense of responsibility in the offender for harm done - you want the offender to know they have done wrong. Victims of crime submit a letter telling the court how the crime infected their life and they can read that in court. b) The Death Penalty Issue: how do we as a society morally justify killing someone because of wrong-doing? Death Penalty  Canada can’t deport people back to countries who have the death penalty i) Possible justifications: 1) Deterrent 2) Retribution 3) Incapacitation 4) Issues: race and gender aspects as they relate to both the victim and the offender as well as class issues (people of color and men get subjected to the death penalty more) 3) Types of sentences: a) Sentences that do not result in a criminal record i) Alternative measures (really minor stuff) ii) Absolute, conditional and curative discharges  Difference between conditional and curative is the purpose. Curative is aimed towards long standing substance abuse/abuse, etc. Conditional is saying, “I had no reason to do these things, I’m just willing to do things to not get a criminal record”. If you fail to do these things, you get sentenced.  Take responsibility for what you did. Absolute discharge – le
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