Discussion #9 Chapter 10


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Chapter 10 Sentencing

The U.S. Constitution bans “cruel and unusual punishments,” but the exact meaning of this phrase has changed greatly between the time the Constitution was written in the late eighteenth century and the present day. Whether or not that constitutional language now makes it appropriate to ban the death penalty is a contentious issue.
Another important constitutional guarantee—the right to seek a writ of habeas corpus—affects the kind of punishment that the criminal justice system can impose. Habeas corpus proceedings involve challenging the justice of a convicted person’s trial or sentence, particularly if the sentence is death. Today, the parameters within which convicts may institute habeas corpus proceedings are narrowing.

Sentences are determined by the trial judge on the basis of presentence investigation reports and victim impact statements, (You will see that in the Brock Turner Videos) which help the judge determine whether there are aggravating or mitigating circumstances that would affect the severity of the sentence. Various goals and principles of sentencing have been identified: retribution for the crime that has been committed; deterrence, to discourage others from committing the offense; incapacitation, to disable the offender from harming us again in the future; and rehabilitation, to encourage the offender to change his or her future behavior. Of these principles, rehabilitation is less frequently invoked today than it was a generation ago. Sentences of imprisonment can be either indeterminate (dependent on the convicted person’s behavior while imprisoned and on the likelihood of rehabilitation) or determinate (for a more or less precise term of years). Legislation often requires judges to impose mandatory sentences.
Capital punishment has become extremely controversial in the United States, in part because it retains strong popular support (despite equally strong disapproval in other industrial democracies). Disparities of race and class in the implementation of capital punishment remain significant, and concerns regarding wrongful convictions and the expense of executions in hard economic times are beginning to take a toll on its popularity.

Assignment – Read Chapter 10 and review the attached PowerPoint:

NO zoom lecture this week.

Sentencing is one of the most controversial topics involving the US Justice System.
Watch the 2 Brock Turner case videos and the victim impact statement video.

Analysis questions:
1. After watching the Turner videos was this a fair sentence? Why? Why not?
2. How do we ensure judges are unbiased?

Watch the remaining videos on the death penalty.

Analysis questions:

3. Do a quick internet research on the Death Penalty in the US vs. World.

What did you find out? I have also attached a link to world homicides. Any statistics seem interesting? Why?

World HomicidesLinks to an external site.

World executionsLinks to an external site.

4. After watching the videos attached, and readings of the chapter, what is your opinion about the death penalty?

Is it effective?

Is it Cruel and unusual punishment?

Support your opinions.

Watch the videos of the families of the Parkland school shooting? Should those family victims be considered? Why?

5. Watch the elderly in prison video...When should we let these people out on a compassion release?

Remember your original post and responses and two replies to fellow students must be completed by Sunday night @ 1159pm.

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