Until the 1980s, judges generally had wide discretion in handing down sentences. The system’s shift toward punishment brought with it changes in sentencing procedures. State legislatures began adopting sentencing guidelines that legally limited the judges’ discretion. In the past, some judges imposed sentences that were too lenient. Therefore, sentencing guidelines were developed in an effort to bring uniformity and rationality to sentencing and to curb what was perceived to be the excessive power of judges in matters of sentencing.
Currently, many states have their own sentencing guidelines, and the federal system has its own guidelines as well. Federal sentencing guidelines are regulations that lay down a uniform sentencing policy for convicted defendants in the US federal court system.
By the due date assigned, in at least 250 words, post to the Discussion Area your answers to the following questions:
One of the pressing issues for courts is mandatory sentencing guidelines. Do you believe that those guidelines provide fair sentencing for crimes for the guilty or impose unfair restraints on the judge’s ability to sentence? Support your answer with examples of particular criminal cases.