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answers to questions from March 14th

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Department
Woodsworth College Courses
Course Code
WDW101Y1
Professor
Doob

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14 March 2011
1. The real problems with sentencing have almost nothing to do with the severity of
sentences. Comment on this assertion.
Some of the problems with sentencing are in regard of given the right sentence to
the right offender. There are many things to take into consideration when deciding a
sentence for an offender because all offences are different and have different factors
that contributed to it. Another problem with sentencing is the consequences of
sentencing on the offender and the community. The state has to invest more in
rehabilitation programs to help offender not fall back recidivism , and integrate well
into the society
Other problems included inconsistency and can easily shift to excessive uniformity
Severity of sentences may be a problem but only to a certain degree. Not all
offenders are the same, what may be a severe sentence for one offender may not be
the same for another offender, so then its not about severity its about the right
sentence depending on the individual. So severity does partly play a role in the
problems with sentencing. This also relates to a very important issue in sentencing
in regards to proportionality, the sentence has to be proportionate the crime
committed and the system faces great disparity on this issue, since some judges may
take into consideration the character of the offender as well.
Sentencing has numerous purposes and principals which were discussed in classes.
Sometimes the severity of a sentence can help determine to which extent those
purposes will be fulfilled. So severity could be one of the problems of sentencing but
not the only one. But another factor which could make sentencing harder is how do
we decide which crimes are severe and which are not.
2. How does the manner in which sentences are handed down have important
implications for decisions at other parts of the criminal justice system? How do decisions
at these other stages affect sentencing decisions?
3. It is sometimes asserted that two intelligent judges could hand down very different
sentences in the same case and that each could, under sentencing laws as they currently
exist in Canada, justify their (very different) sentences. How might this assertion be
correct? Illustrate your answer using a real or hypothetical example.
As stated in the code, sentencing has numerous purposes and principals which a
judged can look upon to base his judgement. The assertion here above is correct
because a judge can easily concentrate more on one of the principals and based his
judgement upon it, while another judge on the same case could base his judgment on
another principle of sentencing and end up with a very different sentence. This is
one of the problems which the system in Canada faces which cause complaints of
disparity in the system and raise the notion of judge shopping.
www.notesolution.com
We also should keep in mind that different theories are applied by different judges,
they have different purposes to accomplish, they posses different information that
becomes available, this obviously leads to different outcomes and results in different
sentences which could all be equally justifiable by the judge
As a hypothetical example: a young adult who is in a very critical situation
economically and has absolutely no money to take care of his needs end up stealing
a credit card and spend quite some money on buying himself lots of food to conserve.
One judge may focus of the gravity of the offence which included stealing a credit
card and spending a generous amount of money from, while another judge may focus
on more on the circumstances under which the offence was committed.
4. Some observers have suggested that certain parts of s. 718 of the Criminal Code
encourage judges to base sentencing decisions on their beliefs about the impact of
sentences rather than on evidence about what sentences are likely to accomplish. A
similar argument has been made that Courts of Appeal, in endorsing all of the purposes
in these sub-sections, has implicitly made promises that empirical evidence would
suggest cannot be fulfilled. Explain why this might or might not be a fair criticism.
This is not a fair criticism. We have to no underestimate the capabilities of judges,
after all they have been in the business for quite some time, and their judgements
are fair. The section offer guidelines that seem to represent well what is suppose to
be aimed at in sentencing. I think it should be worded differently; they are no
encouraged but allowed to use their belief when deciding sentencing.
This argument may be fair in the way that it creates disparity among the sentences
handed down by judges and similar offences may not be sentenced the same way.
However we have to keep in mind that not all crimes are identical, and offender
themselves are very different. A sense of uniformity in sentencing would not be
much better, if not worst. This is why we should tolerate some disparity among
sentencing, and judge are entitled to use their thinking and judgement to decide a
proper sentence. But we should also mention that it is required from a judge to look
at previous sentences handed down for similar offences.
5. What are the problems in comparing the severity of sentences in individual cases (or
comparing patterns of sentences for individual types of offences) across jurisdictions
(e.g., across provinces, or between Canada or parts of Canada, on the one hand, and the
U.S. or parts of the U.S. on the other)?
On many levels the comparison cannot be made since society in Canada and in the
U.S is very different, and therefore what may work in one country would not
necessarily work on the other. Also the circumstance of the countries cannot permit a
fair comparison. First of all the criminal justice system may have different purposes
and principals which
Comparing severity of sentences within Canada can be problematic
Comparing with the US can be problematic because the sentencing system differs in
its structure, in regard s to commission and parole, and on the principles involved.
www.notesolution.com

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Description
14 March 2011 1. The real problems with sentencing have almost nothing to do with the severity of sentences. Comment on this assertion. Some of the problems with sentencing are in regard of given the right sentence to the right offender. There are many things to take into consideration when deciding a sentence for an offender because all offences are different and have different factors that contributed to it. Another problem with sentencing is the consequences of sentencing on the offender and the community. The state has to invest more in rehabilitation programs to help offender not fall back recidivism , and integrate well into the society Other problems included inconsistency and can easily shift to excessive uniformity Severity of sentences may be a problem but only to a certain degree. Not all offenders are the same, what may be a severe sentence for one offender may not be the same for another offender, so then its not about severity its about the right sentence depending on the individual. So severity does partly play a role in the problems with sentencing. This also relates to a very important issue in sentencing in regards to proportionality, the sentence has to be proportionate the crime committed and the system faces great disparity on this issue, since some judges may take into consideration the character of the offender as well. Sentencing has numerous purposes and principals which were discussed in classes. Sometimes the severity of a sentence can help determine to which extent those purposes will be fulfilled. So severity could be one of the problems of sentencing but not the only one. But another factor which could make sentencing harder is how do we decide which crimes are severe and which are not. 2. How does the manner in which sentences are handed down have important implications for decisions at other parts of the criminal justice system? How do decisions at these other stages affect sentencing decisions? 3. It is sometimes asserted that two intelligent judges could hand down very different sentences in the same case and that each could, under sentencing laws as they currently exist in Canada, justify their (very different) sentences. How might this assertion be correct? Illustrate your answer using a real or hypothetical example. As stated in the code, sentencing has numerous purposes and principals which a judged can look upon to base his judgement. The assertion here above is correct because a judge can easily concentrate more on one of the principals and based his judgement upon it, while another judge on the same case could base his judgment on another principle of sentencing and end up with a very different sentence. This is one of the problems which the system in Canada faces which cause complaints of disparity in the system and raise the notion of judge shopping. www.notesolution.com
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