This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page . (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
|Criminal trials and convictions|
|Rights of the accused|
|Related areas of law|
In law, a sentence is the punishment for a crime ordered by a trial court after conviction in a criminal procedure,normally at the conclusion of a trial. A sentence may consist of imprisonment, a fine, or other sanctions. Sentences for multiple crimes may be a concurrent sentence, where sentences of imprisonment are all served together at the same time, or a consecutive sentence, in which the period of imprisonment is the sum of all sentences served one after the other. Additional sentences include intermediate, which allows an inmate to be free for about 8 hours a day for work purposes; determinate, which is fixed on a number of days, months, or years; and indeterminate or bifurcated, which mandates the minimum period be served in an institutional setting such as a prison followed by street time period of parole, supervised release or probation until the total sentence is completed.
If a sentence is reduced to a less harsh punishment, then the sentence is said to have been mitigated or commuted. Rarely depending on circumstances, murder charges are mitigated and reduced to manslaughter charges. However, in certain legal systems, a defendant may be punished beyond the terms of the sentence, through phenomena including social stigma, loss of governmental benefits, or collectively, the collateral consequences of criminal charges.
Statutes generally specify the highest penalties that may be imposed for certain offenses, and sentencing guidelines often mandate the minimum and maximum imprisonment terms to imposed upon an offender, which is then left to the discretion of the trial court.However, in some jurisdictions, prosecutors have great influence over the punishments actually handed down, by virtue of their discretion to decide what offenses to charge the offender with and what facts they will seek to prove or to ask the defendant to stipulate to in a plea agreement. It has been argued that legislators have an incentive to enact tougher sentences than even they would like to see applied to the typical defendant since they recognize that the blame for an inadequate sentencing range to handle a particularly egregious crime would fall upon legislators, but the blame for excessive punishments would fall upon prosecutors.
Sentencing law sometimes includes cliffs that result in much stiffer penalties when certain facts apply. For instance, an armed career criminal or habitual offender law may subject a defendant to a significant increase in his sentence if he commits a third offence of a certain kind. This makes it difficult for fine gradations in punishments to be achieved.
The first use of this word with this meaning was in Roman law, where it indicated the opinion of a jurist on a given question, expressed in written or in oral responsa. It was also the opinion of senators that was translated into the senatus consultus. It finally was also the decision of the judging organ both in civil and in penal trials, as well as the decision of the Arbiters in arbitration.
In modern Latin systems, the sentence is mainly the final act of any procedure in which a judge, or more generally an organ is called to express his evaluation, therefore it can be issued practically in any field of law requiring a function of evaluation of something by an organ.
Sentences are variously classified depending on
The sentence meted out depends on the philosophical principle used by the court and what the legal system regards as the purpose of punishment. The most common purposes of sentencing are:
|Theory||Aim of theory||Suitable punishment|
|Retribution||Punishment imposed for no reason other than an offense being committed, on the basis that if proportionate, punishment is morally acceptable as a response that satisfies the aggrieved party, their intimates and society.|
|Deterrence of the individual|
The individual is deterred through fear of further punishment.
|Deterrence of others|
The general public are warned of likely punishment.
|Denunciation||Society expressing its disapproval reinforcing moral boundaries|
|Incapacitation protection of the public||Offender is made incapable of committing further crime to protect society at large from crime.|
|Rehabilitation||To reform the offender's behavior|
|Reparation||Repayment to victims or to community|
In England and Wales, section 142 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 has specified that in cases involving those over 18, courts should have regard to punishment of the offenders retribution, deterrence, reform and rehabilitation, protection of the public, and reparation to persons affected by their offences.
Usually, the sentence comes after a process in which the deciding organ is put in condition to evaluate whether the analysed conduct complies or not with the legal systems, and eventually which aspects of the conduct might regard which laws. Depending on respective systems, the phases that precede the sentence may vary relevantly and the sentence can be resisted by both parties up to a given degree of appeal. The sentence issued by the appellate court of highest admitted degree immediately becomes the definitive sentence, as well as the sentence issued in minor degrees that is not resisted by the condemned or by the accusator or is not resisted within a given time. The sentence usually has to be rendered of public domain publicatio, and in most systems, it has to be accompanied by the reasons for its content a sort of story of the juridical reflections and evaluations that the judging organ used to produce it.
A sentence even a definitive one can be annulled in some given cases, which many systems usually pre-determine. The most frequent case is related to irregularities found ex-post in the procedure. The most éclatant is perhaps in penal cases, when a relevant often discharging proof is discovered after the definitive sentence.
In most systems, the definitive sentence is unique, in the precise sense that no one can be judged more than once for the same action apart, obviously, from appeal resistance.
Sentences are in many systems a source of law, as an authoritative interpretation of the law in front of concrete cases, thus quite as an extension of the ordinary formal documental system.
The sentence is typically determined by a judge and/or jury and issued in the name of or on the behalf of the superior authority of the state.
A plea bargain is an agreement in criminal law proceedings, whereby the prosecutor provides a concession to the defendant in exchange for a plea of guilt or nolo contendere. This may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to a less serious charge, or to one of the several charges, in return for the dismissal of other charges; or it may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to the original criminal charge in return for a more lenient sentence.
In legal terms, a plea is simply an answer to a claim made by someone in a criminal case under common law using the adversarial system. Colloquially, a plea has come to mean the assertion by a defendant at arraignment, or otherwise in response to a criminal charge, whether that person pleaded or pled guilty, not guilty, nolo contendere, no case to answer, or Alford plea.
A jury is a sworn body of people (jurors) convened to render an impartial verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Juries developed in England during the Middle Ages and are a hallmark of the Anglo common law legal system. They are still commonly used today in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and other countries whose legal systems are descended from English and later British legal traditions.
A pardon is a government decision to allow a person to be relieved of some or all of the legal consequences resulting from a criminal conviction. A pardon may be granted before or after conviction for the crime, depending on the laws of the jurisdiction.
Probation in criminal law is a period of supervision over an offender, ordered by the court often in lieu of incarceration.
In the United States, habitual offender laws have been implemented since at least 1952, and are part of the United States Justice Department's Anti-Violence Strategy. These laws require a person who is convicted of an offense and who has one or two other previous serious convictions to serve a mandatory life sentence in prison, with or without parole depending on the jurisdiction. The purpose of the laws is to drastically increase the punishment of those who continue to commit offenses after being convicted of one or two serious crimes.
A suspended sentence is a sentence on conviction for a criminal offence, the serving of which the court orders to be deferred in order to allow the defendant to perform a period of probation. If the defendant does not break the law during that period and fulfills the particular conditions of the probation, the sentence is usually considered fulfilled. If the defendant commits another offence or breaks the terms of probation, the court can order the sentence to be served, in addition to any sentence for the new offence.
Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), held that, in the context of mandatory sentencing guidelines under state law, the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial prohibited judges from enhancing criminal sentences based on facts other than those decided by the jury or admitted by the defendant. The landmark nature of the case was alluded to by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who characterized the decision as a "Number 10 earthquake".
Gregg v. Georgia, Proffitt v. Florida, Jurek v. Texas, Woodson v. North Carolina, and Roberts v. Louisiana, 428 U.S. 153 (1976), reaffirmed the United States Supreme Court's acceptance of the use of the death penalty in the United States, upholding, in particular, the death sentence imposed on Troy Leon Gregg. The case is referred to by a leading scholar as the July 2 Cases, and elsewhere referred to by the lead case Gregg. The court set forth the two main features that capital sentencing procedures must employ in order to comply with the Eighth Amendment ban on "cruel and unusual punishments". The decision essentially ended the de facto moratorium on the death penalty imposed by the Court in its 1972 decision in Furman v. Georgia 408 U.S. 238 (1972).
The United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines are rules published by the U.S. Sentencing Commission that set out a uniform policy for sentencing individuals and organizations convicted of felonies and serious misdemeanors in the United States federal courts system. The Guidelines do not apply to less serious misdemeanors or infractions.
Mandatory sentencing requires that offenders serve a predefined term for certain crimes, commonly serious and violent offenses. Judges are bound by law; these sentences are produced through the legislature, not the judicial system. They are instituted to expedite the sentencing process and limit the possibility of irregularity of outcomes due to judicial discretion. Mandatory sentences are typically given to people who are convicted of certain serious and/or violent crimes, and require a prison sentence. Mandatory sentencing laws vary across nations; they are more prevalent in common law jurisdictions because civil law jurisdictions usually prescribe minimum and maximum sentences for every type of crime in explicit laws.
Capital murder was a statutory offence of aggravated murder in Great Britain, and Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland, which was later adopted as a legal provision to define certain forms of aggravated murder in the United States. In some parts of the US, this term still defines the category of murder for which the perpetrator is eligible for the death penalty. Some jurisdictions that provide for death as a possible punishment for murder, such as California, do not have a specific statute creating or defining a crime known as capital murder; instead, death is one of the possible sentences for certain kinds of murder. In these cases, "capital murder" is not a phrase used in the legal system but may still be used by others such as the media.
United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), is a United States Supreme Court decision on criminal sentencing. The Court ruled that the Sixth Amendment right to jury trial requires that other than a prior conviction, only facts admitted by a defendant or proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury may be used to calculate a sentence exceeding the prescribed statutory maximum sentence, whether the defendant has pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial. The maximum sentence that a judge may impose is based upon the facts admitted by the defendant or proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
A habitual offender, repeat offender, or career criminal, is a person convicted of a crime who was previously convicted of crimes. Various state and jurisdictions may have laws targeting habitual offenders, and specifically providing for enhanced or exemplary punishments or other sanctions. They are designed to counter criminal recidivism by physical incapacitation via imprisonment.
Within the criminal justice system of Japan, there exist three basic features that characterize its operations. First, the institutions—police, government prosecutors' offices, courts, and correctional organs—maintain close and cooperative relations with each other, consulting frequently on how best to accomplish the shared goals of limiting and controlling crime. Second, citizens are encouraged to assist in maintaining public order, and they participate extensively in crime prevention campaigns, apprehension of suspects, and offender rehabilitation programs. Finally, officials who administer criminal justice are allowed considerable discretion in dealing with offenders.
Capital punishment in Japan is a legal penalty. It is applied in practice mainly for aggravated murder, although it is also permitted for certain crimes against the state, such as treason and military insubordination, as well as kidnapping resulting in death. Executions are carried out by long drop hanging, and take place at one of the seven execution chambers located in major cities across the country.
In criminal law, a mitigating factor, also known as an extenuating circumstance, is any information or evidence presented to the court regarding the defendant or the circumstances of the crime that might result in reduced charges or a lesser sentence. Unlike a legal defense, the presentation of mitigating factors will not result in the acquittal of a defendant. The opposite of a mitigating factor is an aggravating factor.
In the United States, sentencing law varies by jurisdiction. Since the US Constitution is the supreme law of the land, all sentences in the US must conform to the requirements of the Constitution, which sets basic mandates while leaving the bulk of policy-making up to the states.
France's criminal legal system derived from Roman law is typically characterized by the European continent. It is not only a feudal system in the Middle Age, but also a representative of the civil law system. France is committed to the judicial system which was gradually established after the French Revolution in the late 18th century. From beginning of the 19th century to nowadays, Napoleon codified a series of significant rules and established the common court system, administrative court system as well as independent judicial system which formed a unified modern judicial system.
The Islamic Republic of Iran was founded after the 1979 overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty by the Islamic Revolution, and its legal code is based on Islamic law or sharia, although many aspects of civil law have been retained, and it is integrated into a civil law legal system. According to the constitution of the Islamic Republic, the judiciary in Iran "is an independent power". The entire legal system—"from the Supreme Court to regional courts, all the way down to local and revolutionary courts"—is under the purview of the Ministry of Justice, but in addition to a Minister of Justice and head of the Supreme Court, there is also a separate appointed Head of the Judiciary. Parliamentary bills pertaining to the constitution are vetted by the Council of Guardians.