Sentencing and Appeals

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Chapter 14
Sentencing and Appeals
History of Sentencing in the U.S.
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old English common law punished felonies with the
death penalty
old English common law punished misdemeanors with
public floggings
such penalties were brought to the American colonies
Bill of Rights (Eighth Amendment) prohibited cruel and
unusual punishment
Benjamin Rush: “house of reform”
New York adopted a modified form of indeterminate
sentencing
Criminal Punishment
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George P. Fletcher: a violation of the rule
results in the imposition of punishment by a court
Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez
concern that a law may be considered criminal
punishment
Purposes of Punishment
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retribution
 imposes punishment based on just deserts
 offenders should receive the punishment that they deserve
based on the seriousness of their criminal acts
deterrence
 specific deterrence imposes punishment to deter or discourage
a defendant from committing a crime in the future
 general deterrence punishes an offender as an example to deter
others from violating the law
rehabilitation
 intended to reform the offender and to transform him/her into
a law-abiding and productive member of society
 appeals to the idealistic notion that people are essentially good
and can transform their lives when encouraged and given
support
Purposes (cont.)
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incapacitation
 the removal of offenders from society to prevent them from
continuing to menace others
 selective incapacitation singles out offenders who have
committed certain serious offenses for lengthy incarceration
restoration
 stresses the harm caused to victims of crime
 requires offenders to engage in financial restitution and
community service to compensate the victim and the
community and to “make them whole once again”
Type of Punishment
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imprisonment
fines
probation
intermediate sanctions
death
Approaches to Sentencing
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determinate sentences
mandatory minimum sentences
intermediate sentences
presumptive sentencing guidelines
Judicial Sentencing Process
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often filed by a probation officer
contains information regarding the defendant,
including his/her criminal record and financial
condition and other circumstances that may
influence the defendant’s future behavior
addresses aggravating and mitigating
circumstances
sentencing hearings
right of allocution
consecutive vs. concurrent sentences
clemency vs. pardon
Sentencing Guidelines
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1984 Sentencing Reform Act
sentences under the federal guidelines are based on a
complicated formula that reflects the seriousness and
characteristics of the offense and the criminal history
of the offender
judges employ a sentencing grid and must sentence an
offender within the narrow range where the
offender’s criminal offense and criminal history
intersect
judges are required to document the reasons for
criminal sentences and are obligated to provide a
specific reason for an upward or downward departure
from the sentenced authorized by the guidelines
Sentencing Guidelines (cont.)
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federal guidelines are much more complicated than most state
guidelines
unconstitutional to enhance a sentence based on facts found to
exist by the judge by a preponderance of the evidence rather
than by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt
federal and state sentencing guidelines are advisory, not
mandatory
Determinate Sentences
controversy over the Anti–Drug Abuse Act of
1986
 criticisms of determinate sentences
 inflexibility
 plea bargaining
 increase in prison population
 disparate effects
 Hutto v. Davis
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Methods of Punishment
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most courts have not limited cruel and unusual
punishment to acts condemned at the time of
passage of the Eighth Amendment but have
viewed it as an evolving concept
Furman v. Georgia
controversies over capital punishment and its
various methods of implementation
Capital Punishment
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Furman v. Georgia
 “punishment must not be excessive”
 punishment must “fit the crime”
 punishment is to be imposed in an “evenhanded,
nonselective, and nonarbitrary” manner
Woodson v. North Carolina
Gregg v. Georgia
 aggravating circumstances
 mitigating circumstances
weighing states vs. nonweighing states
Eighth Amendment and
Sentences for a Term of Years
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the length of a criminal sentence is the
province of elected state legislators
judicial intervention to review the
“proportionality” of a sentence for a term of
years should be “extremely rare” and should
be limited to criminal sentences that are
“grossly disproportionate” to the seriousness
of the offense
three strikes laws
Equal Protection
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it is unconstitutional for a judge to base a
sentence on a defendant’s race, gender,
ethnicity, or nationality
a sentence should be based on defendant’s act
rather than on a defendant’s identity
a defendant must demonstrate both a
discriminatory impact and a discriminatory
intent
Criminal Appeals
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no due process right to appeal
courts routinely express a belief in the need for
appeals
Griffin v. Illinois
final judgement rule
interlocutory appeals
plain error exception
harmless error standard
Chapman v. United States
automatic reversal rule
retroactivity
Habeas Corups
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collateral remedies
a civil lawsuit in which the defendant (now called the
petitioner or plaintiff) asks the court for a writ on the
grounds that he/she is being unlawfully detained
William Blackstone: habeas corpus is “the most
celebrated writ in the English law”
Article 1, Section 9, Paragraph 2 of the U.S.
Constitution: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas
Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of
Rebellion or Invasion the Public Safety may require it”
Fay v. Noia
Justice Powell, Schneckloth v. Bustamonte: the costs of
federal courts engaging in active habeas corpus review
Stone v. Powell
Requirements for Bringing a
Habeas Corpus Claim
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plaintiff must allege a violation of a federal constitutional right
or a violation of federal law
the individual on whose behalf the petition is filed must be in
custody
AEDPA: a state prisoner file a petition in federal district court
“within a year of the final State court review of the conviction
and sentence . . . or the expiration of the time for seeking such
review”
the plaintiff must exhaust state remedies before filing a petition
for habeas corpus
Requirements for Habeas Corpus (cont.)
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whether the state court decision on the law and the facts is
reasonable
a district court decides the case based on the written trial
record and on the written judgments of the state appellate
courts
the petitioner must demonstrate by a preponderance of the
evidence that the constitutional error had a substantial and
injurious impact or influence on the jury’s guilty verdict
the individual filing a petition for habeas corpus may not rely
on a new rule of law announced by the Supreme Court
following the exhaustion of his or her direct state appeals
Requirements for Habeas Corpus (cont.)
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a federal court will not hear a habeas corpus petition in those
instances in which a defendant failed follow state procedures
and did not raise an objection at trial and exhaust state
appeals
the successive petition doctrine prohibits a second petition
that raises a claim that has been presented in a prior habeas
petition
the abuse of writ doctrine prohibits raising an issue that a
defendant did not raise in the first petition, but could have
raised
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