Homework Question on Determining the Appropriate Sentence
- Answer the following scenario questions in essay style (go in-depth in your response).
- Use APA format to cite sources.
- Identify several criteria used in determining the appropriate sentence.
- What constitutional rights exist during sentencing?
- Summarize the relevant rules governing an appeal before and after adjudication.
- Explain the differences between constitutional and nonconstitutional errors.
Homework Answer on Determining the Appropriate Sentence
When determining appropriate punishment to criminal defendants, judges are required to consider various factors. These factors are generally categorized as mitigating or aggravating in the sense that they can contribute to a reduced punishment or increase the punishment respectively. One of the factors considered is the history of the offender that is whether the defendant has been reported of a similar offence before. If it turns out that the defender is a repeat offender, a harsh punishment is imposed (Bergman & Barrett, 2013).
The second factor is whether the defendant was the leading actor of the crime in question or an accomplice. For instance, a tougher punishment would be in order for a criminal defendant who is purported to have used a gun during a crime. Another criterion used is the defendant’s state of mind prior to committing a crime. If the crime was committed under stress a reduced sentenced may be in order. The fourth criterion is whether the casualties were hurt or whether the criminal had an intention of hurting someone. In such a case, a harsher sentence is in order to a criminal defendant who has caused physical harm to anyone.
During sentencing, the following constitutional rights exists. The defendant has a right to remain silent without anyone compelling him to testify against his wish. This is provided by the U.S constitution in the 5th Amendment. The defendant is also entitled to a public trial during which relatives, press as well as the general public are allowed in court rooms. However, in cases involving sexual offenders against children this right is not guaranteed. The right to a speedy trial is guaranteed by the 6th amendment (Bergman & Barrett, 2013).