Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ouch - British Judges Criticize Our Criminal Sentencing Law

So what does the London Times write when British judges decide not to implement sentencing rules like ours'? Judges scorn American-style sentencing to control prison overcrowding. Scorn: "an object of extreme disdain, contempt, or derision : something contemptible."
"Plans for an American-style sentencing “grid” to control prison numbers appear doomed because of overwhelming opposition from the judiciary.

Judges at all levels, as well as the Magistrates' Association, have dealt a devastating blow to the scheme which would have required them to deliver set punishments for specific crimes.

The Magistrates' Association says that restriction of that discretion would be a retrograde step: “People are individuals. We would regret any change which moved us towards a formulaic or mechanistic approach to sentencing.”"

***

The Council of Circuit Judges says: “The American dream would result in a nightmare in England and Wales.” It adds that it would be impossible to devise an American-style sentencing grid that would not be a “blunt instrument resulting in unfairness and injustice”.

The magistrates suggest that some of the proposals “could be seen as an attempt to engineer a reduction in the prison population, rather than to deliver just sentences that fit individual crimes”.

They said: “Consistency of approach to sentencing is needed, not uniformity of sentence.” Consistency is already promoted through the existing sentencing guidelines, they say.

So British judges hold higher the idea that we are all individuals and justice is an individual thing than we do?

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