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A Rational Approach to the Role of Publicity and Condemnation in the Sentencing of Offenders

[ssrn.com  5/2/18]

Florida State University Law Review, Vol. 46, 2019

38 Pages Posted: 2 May 2018
Mirko Bagaric

Director of the Evidence-Based Sentencing and Criminal Justice Project, Swinburne University Law School
Peter Isham

Northwestern University, School of Law, Students

Date Written: April 14, 2018
Abstract

The punishment imposed on criminal offenders by courts often does not exhaust the hardship they experience. There are a number of collateral forms of punishment that many offenders are subjected to as a result of their offending. Some of these deprivations are institutional, such as being dismissed from employment or being disqualified to vote. Other hardships are less predictable and harder to quantify. Public scorn, often directed towards high profile offenders, such as O.J. Simpson and Anthony Weiner, can be the cause of considerable additional suffering to offenders. It can engender feelings of shame, embarrassment and humiliation. At the same time, the high profile nature of the cases provides courts with an opportunity to demonstrate to the wider community the consequences of violating the law. There is no established jurisprudence regarding the role that public criticism of offenders should have in sentencing decisions.

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Join the discussion

  1. Henry

    This is the guideline from the Sentencing and Reform Act of 1984:

    (a) FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN IMPOSING A SENTENCE.—The court shall impose
    a sentence sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to comply with the purposes set
    forth in paragraph (2) of this subsection. The court, in determining the particular
    sentence to be imposed, shall consider—
    (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and
    characteristics of the defendant;
    (2) the need for the sentence imposed—
    (A) to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law,
    and to provide just punishment for the offense;
    (B) to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct;
    (C) to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant; and
    (D) to provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational
    training, medical care, or other correctional treatment in the most effective
    manner …

    The entire paper should be read and not just the abstract. It will open your eyes.

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