Sentencing Theories and Punishment

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Spring 2013 Seminar
Meets: W 5:00pm - 7:00pm in Lewis Room 301
2 classroom credits

An examination of the history, philosophy, and administration of the criminal sentencing process. Particular attention will be devoted to: (1) how judges, apart from guidelines, exercise discretion in light of the circumstances of crimes, discretionary decisions by prosecutors, characteristics of offenders, and choices among permissible sanctions and purposes of sentencing; and (2) whether, in the wake of guidelines, even "advisory" guidelines, and mandatory penalties, fact-finding judges may continue to individualize sentences and if so, how. The course will explore different kinds of sentencing regimes-state guideline systems, international models on which sentencing standards have evolved from common law decision making or judge-imposed guidelines (Australia, Israel, England), the American Law Institute's revision of the Model Penal Code's sentencing provisions, and the federal sentencing guidelines. The course will also explore the relationship between sentencing guidelin es and the criminal code; the interplay between principles of proportionality, severity, and parsimony; and the impact of race, class, and gender on case outcomes.

This seminar is by permission of the instructor. Students should submit a statement indicating their courses in criminal law and procedure and their interest in the course.

Subject Areas: Criminal Law & Procedure .