Justice Discussion Board

This week you will act as a sentencing Judge in determining appropriate punishments for several hypothetical criminal offenders. As a judge you have complete discretion to pronounce sentences ranging from fines and probation to terms of incarceration to the death penalty.

Indicate the sentence you granted each offender and in two full paragraphs explain your sentence. In your response/post seek to identify the factors and considerations that led you to your conclusions (e.g. characteristics of offender, characteristics of the crime, purpose of criminal sanction, etc)

Case #1 A woman shot and killed her husband as he took a nap on the living room sofa. She claimed that her husband was physically abusive and that she lived in fear for her life. She presented witnesses who testified that her husband periodically threatened and struck her during fits of anger. The jury convicted her of second degree murder (homicide with intent but not requisite of degree of premeditation). The prosecutor recommends that she serve at least 10 years.

Case #2 A college student pleaded guilty to selling marijuana after he sold a small bag of dope (sandwich bag size) to an undercover police officer outside of a bar on a Saturday night. The student has no prior criminal record, is the son of a Presbyterian minister, and is an honors student in philosophy at the local college. The prosecutor recommends that he serve at least 60 days in county jail.

Case #3 A woman pleaded guilty to the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. She lived with her three children in a rundown apartment building. She and her children were supported by food stamps and other forms of government assistance. When her three-year-old daughter seemed to have a fever one night, the woman went downstairs to the busy intersection and hailed a cab. The cabdriver refused to take her and the child to the hospital because she said she had no money. While arguing with the cabdriver on the sidewalk, she pushed the driver, grabbed his car keys, and drove her daughter to the hospital herself in the taxi. The hospital personal could find nothing wrong with the child. In exchange for dropping assault charges, the woman entered a guilty plea to the unauthorized use of an automobile charge. She has two prior convictions for misdemeanor shoplifting. The prosecutor recommends that he serve at least 180 days in county jail.

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