Corrections From Research to Policy to Practice by Stohr – Test Bank

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Chapter 5: Sentencing: The Application of Punishment

 

Test Bank

 

Multiple Choice

 

  1. What is a punitive penalty ordered by the court after a defendant has been convicted of a crime, either by a jury, a bench trial, by a judge, or in a plea bargain?
  2. Conviction
  3. Justice
  4. Revenge
  5. Sentence

Ans: D

Learning Objective: 5-1: Explain how modern sentencing engages Aristotle’s notion of justice.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: What Is Sentencing?

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. A moral concept that is difficult to define, but in essence means to treat people in ways consistent with norms of fairness and in accordance with what they justly deserve by virtue of their behavior is known as what?
  2. Conviction
  3. Justice
  4. Revenge
  5. Sentence

Ans: B

Learning Objective: 5-1: Explain how modern sentencing engages Aristotle’s notion of justice.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: What Is Sentencing?

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Who provided the following definition: “Justice consists of treating equals equally, and unequals unequally according to relevant differences?”
  2. Plato
  3. Beccaria
  4. Aristotle
  5. Homer

Ans: C

Learning Objective: 5-1: Explain how modern sentencing engages Aristotle’s notion of justice.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: What Is Sentencing?

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What type of sentence is one in which the actual number of years a person may serve is not fixed, but is rather a range of years?
  2. Split
  3. Determinate
  4. Indeterminate
  5. Mandatory

Ans: C

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Indeterminate Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What type of sentence means that convicted criminals are given a fixed number of years they must serve rather than a range?
  2. Split
  3. Determinate
  4. Indeterminate
  5. Mandatory

Ans: B

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Determinate Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What type of sentence can exist in the context of both determinate and indeterminate sentencing structures and simply means that probation is not an option and that the minimum time be set by law?
  2. Split
  3. Determinate
  4. Indeterminate
  5. Mandatory

Ans: D

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Mandatory Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What type of sentences are two sentences ordered to be served at the same time?
  2. Split
  3. Determinate
  4. Consecutive
  5. Concurrent

Ans: D

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Concurrent and Consecutive Sentences

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What type of sentences are two or more sentences that must be served sequentially?
  2. Split
  3. Determinate
  4. Consecutive
  5. Concurrent

Ans: C

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Concurrent and Consecutive Sentences

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Which statutes are derived from the same punitive atmosphere that led to truth in sentencing statutes?
  2. Habitual offender
  3. Truth in sentencing
  4. Life without parole
  5. None of the above

Ans: A

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Habitual-Offender Statutes

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What type of sentence exposes offenders to the reality of prison life for a short period of time, followed by probation?
  2. Shock probation
  3. Split sentences
  4. Noncustodial sentences
  5. Drug court

Ans: A

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Alternatives to Incarceration

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Which of the following types of sentences may seem popular with the public at large until they get the bill?
  2. Habitual offender
  3. Truth in sentencing
  4. Life without parole
  5. None of these

Ans: C

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Application

Answer Location: Habitual-Offender Statutes

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Which type of sentence requires felons to serve brief periods of confinement in a county jail prior to placement on probation?
  2. Shock probation
  3. Split sentences
  4. Noncustodial sentences
  5. Drug court

Ans: B

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Application

Answer Location: Alternatives to Incarceration

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Which type of sentence requires participants to be involved in an intensive treatment program that lasts about 1 year?
  2. Shock probation
  3. Split sentences
  4. Noncustodial sentences
  5. Drug court

Ans: D

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Application

Answer Location: Alternatives to Incarceration

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What occurs when there is a wide variation in sentences received by different offenders?
  2. Sentencing disparity
  3. Fair Sentencing Act
  4. Anti-Drug Abuse Act
  5. U.S. Sentencing Commission Report to Congress

Ans: A

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Sentencing Disparities: Legitimate and Illegitimate

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What established a 100 to 1 quantity ratio differential between powder and crack cocaine?
  2. Sentencing disparity
  3. Fair Sentencing Act
  4. Anti-Drug Abuse Act
  5. U.S. Sentencing Commission Report to Congress

Ans: C

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing for Crack Versus Powder Cocaine

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What increased the amount of cocaine subject to the five year minimum sentence from five grams to 28 g?
  2. Sentencing disparity
  3. Fair Sentencing Act
  4. Anti-Drug Abuse Act
  5. U.S. Sentencing Commission Report to Congress

Ans: B

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing for Crack Versus Powder Cocaine

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Congress reacted to media hype about how addictive crack was based on what?
  2. Sentencing disparity
  3. Fair Sentencing Act
  4. Anti-Drug Abuse Act
  5. U.S. Sentencing Commission Report

Ans: D

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing for Crack Versus Powder Cocaine

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What is used to assist judges in making sentencing recommendations?
  2. Presentence investigation reports
  3. Sentencing files
  4. Investigation reports
  5. Judge’s reports

Ans: A

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: The Presentence Investigation Report

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. A presentence investigation report is generally written by whom?
  2. The judge
  3. The judge’s clerk
  4. The probation officer
  5. The parole officer

Ans: C

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: The Presentence Investigation Report

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. How many states currently require disclosure of the presentence investigation report?
  2. 10
  3. 14
  4. 15
  5. 16

Ans: D

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: The Presentence Investigation Report

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What was charged with the task of creating mandatory sentencing guidelines?
  2. United States Sentencing Commission
  3. Sentencing guidelines
  4. Sentencing disparity
  5. Fair Sentencing Act

Ans: A

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing Guidelines

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Forms containing scales that come with a set of rules for numerically computing sentences that offenders should receive based on the crime they committed and their criminal records are known as what?
  2. United States Sentencing Commission
  3. Sentencing guidelines
  4. Sentencing disparity
  5. Fair Sentencing Act

Ans: B

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing Guidelines

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. The creation of the sentencing guidelines intended to do what?
  2. Create judicial bias
  3. Help determine guilt or innocence
  4. Reign in judicial discretion
  5. Classify offenders into institutions

Ans: C

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing Guidelines

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Sentencing guidelines are now ______, meaning that judges can consult them and follow them or not.
  2. presumptive
  3. advisory
  4. mandatory
  5. wishful thinking
  6. none of these

Ans: B

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing Guidelines

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. In which Supreme Court case did the court rule that the federal sentencing guidelines were no longer to be binding on the states?
  2. United States v. Booker
  3. Apprendi v. New Jersey
  4. Blakely v. Washington
  5. Rita v. United States

Ans: A

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Application

Answer Location: The Future of Sentencing Guidelines

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Which of the following factors can affect a judge’s decision when sentencing a defendant?
  2. Seriousness of crime
  3. Prior record
  4. Offender cooperation
  5. All of these

Ans: D

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Application

Answer Location: Various Pages

Difficulty Level: Medium

 

  1. What type of sentence is work release, whereby a person is consigned to a special portion of the jail on weekends and nights, but released to go to work during the day?
  2. Shock probation
  3. Split sentences
  4. Noncustodial sentences
  5. Drug court

Ans: B

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Application

Answer Location: Alternatives to Incarceration

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What is reasonable and just if the members of a group being more harshly punished commit more crimes than the individual members of other groups, but discriminatory and unjust if they do not?
  2. Sentencing disparity
  3. Sentencing variation
  4. Fair Sentencing Act
  5. Presentence report

Ans: B

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Sentencing Disparities: Legitimate and Illegitimate

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Truth-in-sentencing laws require that there be a truthful, realistic connection between the custodial sentence imposed on offenders and the time they actually serve, and they mandate that inmates serve at least ______ % of their sentences before becoming eligible for release.
  2. 20
  3. 45
  4. 85
  5. 60

Ans: C

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Indeterminate Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. A Fair Sentencing Act was introduced and passed by Congress, and was signed into law by which president?
  2. Clinton
  3. Bush
  4. Regan
  5. Obama

Ans: D

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing for Crack Versus Powder Cocaine

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. In what year was the Anti-Drug Abuse Act passed?
  2. 1984
  3. 1986
  4. 1988
  5. 1990

Ans: C

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing for Crack Versus Powder Cocaine

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

True/False

 

  1. Sentencing refers to a post-conviction stage of the criminal justice process.

Ans: T

Learning Objective: 5-1: Explain how modern sentencing engages Aristotle’s notion of justice.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: What Is Sentencing?

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Justice is a moral concept that is easy to define.

Ans: F

Learning Objective: 5-1: Explain how modern sentencing engages Aristotle’s notion of justice.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: What is Sentencing?

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. The determinate sentencing model prevailed most strongly under the so-called “medical model.”

Ans: F

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Determinate Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Under indeterminate sentencing, offenders know how much time they will serve.

Ans: F

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Indeterminate Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. The habitual offender statute is a way of selectively incapacitating felons only after they have demonstrated the inability to live by society’s rules.

Ans: T

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Habitual-Offender Statutes

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Shock probation is typically reserved for chronic offenders.

Ans: F

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Alternatives to Incarceration

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. In addition to saving the states many millions of dollars in jail and prison costs, drug courts appear to be unsuccessful in reducing recidivism.

Ans: F

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Alternatives to Incarceration

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. The biggest concern with sentencing disparity is racial discrimination.

Ans: T

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing Disparities: Legitimate and Illegitimate

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Asian Americans receive harsher sentences on average than Whites or African Americans.

Ans: F

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing Disparities: Legitimate and Illegitimate

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. In 1988, Congress passed the U.S. Sentencing Commission Report which established a 100 to 1 quantity ratio differential between powder and crack cocaine.

Ans: F

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing for Crack Versus Powder Cocaine

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. The PSI is not an important document in regard to sentencing.

Ans: F

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: The Presentence Investigation Report

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. In the federal system, probation officers create the PSI.

Ans: F

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: The Presentence Investigation Report

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. In a PSI, generally officers make sentencing recommendations to the judge.

Ans: T

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: The Presentence Investigation Report

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Prior to 1984, federal judges enjoyed almost unlimited sentencing discretion as long as they stayed within the statutory maximum penalties.

Ans: T

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing Guidelines

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Truth-in-sentencing laws have led to longer sentences.

Ans: T

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Indeterminate Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. An indeterminate sentence is a range of years.

Ans: T

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Indeterminate Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. In a determinate sentence, offenders are given a fixed number of years.

Ans: T

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Indeterminate Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Indeterminate sentences are also known as fixed sentences.

Ans: F

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Indeterminate Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Sentencing guidelines are now mandatory in the federal system.

Ans: F

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Sentencing Guidelines

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Plea bargains are agreements between defendants and prosecutors in which defendants agree to plead guilty in exchange for certain concessions.

Ans: T

Learning Objective: 5-3: Assess the benefits and criticisms of plea bargains.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Plea Bargaining

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

Short Answer

 

  1. What is a victim impact statement?

Ans: A victim impact statement allows persons directly affected by the crime (or victims’ survivors in the case of murder) to inform the court of the personal and emotional harm they have suffered as a result of the defendant’s actions and, in some states, to make a sentencing recommendation.

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Victim Impact Statements

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What is indeterminate sentencing?

Ans: A prison sentence in which the actual number of years a person may serve is not fixed, but is rather a range of years.

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Indeterminate Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What is determinate sentencing?

Ans: A prison sentence of a fixed number of years that must be served rather than a range.

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Determinate Sentence

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Define the term consecutive sentencing.

Ans: Two or more sentences that must be served sequentially.

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Concurrent and Consecutive Sentences

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Define the term concurrent sentencing.

Ans: Two separate sentences are served at the same time.

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Concurrent and Consecutive Sentences

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What was the purpose of the United States Sentencing Commission?

Ans: A commission charged with creating mandatory sentencing guidelines to control judicial discretion.

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing Guidelines

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Define the term habitual offender statutes?

Ans: Statutes mandating that offenders with a third felony conviction be sentenced to life imprisonment regardless of the nature of the third felony.

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Habitual-Offender Statutes

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. What are sentencing guidelines?

Ans: Scales for numerically computing sentences that offenders should receive based on the crime they committed and on their criminal records.

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Sentencing Guidelines

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

Essay

 

  1. Discuss habitual offender statutes. What are they? How do you feel they have affected sentencing today?

Ans: Habitual offender statutes are statutes mandating that offenders with a third felony conviction be sentenced to life imprisonment regardless of the nature of the third felony. This is a way of selectively incapacitating felons only after they have demonstrated the inability to live by society’s rules. Few of us would be against the lifetime incarceration of seriously violent offenders, but many states include relatively minor nonviolent crimes in their habitual status offenders. The last part of the essay question is subjective

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Habitual-Offender Statutes

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Compare and contrast a sentence of shock probation versus a split sentence. Which would you want if you could choose and why?

Ans: Shock probation is a type of sentence aimed at shocking offenders into going straight by exposing them to the reality of prison life for a short period followed by probation. Shock probation is typically reserved for young, first-time offenders who have committed a relatively serious felony but who are considered redeemable. Split sentences are sentences that require felons to serve brief periods of confinement in a county jail prior to probation placement. Jail time may have to be served all at once or spread over a certain period, such as every weekend in jail for the first year of probation placement. Second part of the essay is subjective.

Learning Objective: 5-2: Describe the different types of sentencing and their rationales.

Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

Answer Location: Alternatives to Incarceration

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Discuss the issues between crack versus powder cocaine. Do you believe the sentencing ratio should remain where it is? Why or why not?

Ans: One of the biggest concerns in the sentencing disparity literature is the huge differences in sentencing received by crack possession versus sentences imposed on possession of powder cocaine. Of particular concern was the difference in sentencing imposed on those who used or sold the cheaper crack cocaine, who tended to be minority group offenders, particularly African Americans, versus those who used or sold powder cocaine, which tended to be more expensive and more likely used and trafficked by White offenders. In 1988, Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which established a 100-to-1 quantity ratio differential between powder and crack cocaine. That act also specified that simple possession of crack cocaine was to be treated more seriously than the simple possession of other illegal drugs. According to a U.S. Sentencing Commission Report to Congress in 1995, in 1986 Congress was reacting to media hype about how addictive crack was, with congressional members claiming crack use was at “epidemic” levels, crack babies were severely impaired, and about crime related to crack use was out of control in some cities. At the time of this 1995 report, the Commission knew that “88.3 percent of the offenders convicted in federal court for crack cocaine distribution in 1993 were Black and 7.1 percent were Hispanic,” and critics were concerned that instead of fair and evenhanded sentences for all, the effect of the Anti-Drug Act was to be unfair and harsh in sentencing of racial minorities. Criticisms of the different treatment of people convicted of possession of pharmacologically identical drugs resulting in the increased incarceration of minorities for longer periods of time mounted to the point where Congress had to do something. In 2009, a Fair Sentencing Act was introduced and passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on August 3rd, 2010. Under the act, the amount of crack cocaine subject to the 5-year minimum sentence is increased from 5 g to 28 g, thus reducing the 100-to-1 ratio to 18-to-1 ratio (28 g of crack gets as much time as 500 g of powder cocaine). Thus, there is still a large sentencing differential between possessors of crack versus possessors of powder cocaine. This ratio probably reflects lawmaker’s perceptions that crack is more intimately related to violence (in territorial battles) and to a higher probability of addiction than the powder variety. Second part of essay is subjective.

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Analysis

Answer Location: Sentencing for Crack Versus Powder Cocaine

Difficulty Level: Hard

 

  1. Discuss the case of United States v. Booker (2005). What did this case do to the sentencing guidelines as they were first implemented?

Ans: The circumstances of the case are that Freddie Booker was arrested in 2003 in possession of 92.5 g of crack cocaine. He also admitted to police that he had sold an additional 566 g. A jury found Booker guilty of possession with intent to sell at least 50 g, for which the possible penalty ranged from 10 years to life. At sentencing, the judge used additional information (the additional 566 g and the fact the Booker had obstructed justice) to sentence Booker to 30 years. Booker’s sentence would have been 21 years and 10 months based on the facts presented to the jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Booker appealed his sentence, arguing that his Sixth Amendment rights had been violated by the judge “finding facts” when this is the proper role of the jury. An earlier federal appeals court had ruled that the facts of prior convictions are the only facts judges can “find” as justification for increasing sentencing. In other words, anything other than prior record that is used to increase a criminal penalty beyond what the guidelines call for must be submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The Supreme Court agreed with Booker that his sentence violated the Sixth Amendment and sent the case back to District Court with instructions either to sentence Booker within the sentencing range supported by the jury’s findings or to hold a sentencing hearing before a jury (Bissonnette, 2006). The remedial portion of the Court’s opinion (what can be done to prevent this happening again?) is much more controversial. The Court held that the guidelines were to be advisory only, and therefore no longer binding on judges. However, the Court did require them to “consult” the guidelines and take them into consideration, but there is no way of assuring that judges comply. John Ashcroft, the U.S. Attorney General at the time, called the decision “a retreat from justice,” and Congressman Tom Feeney decried, “The extraordinary power to sentence” now afforded federal judges who are accountable to no one, said that the decision “flies in the face of the clear will of Congress” (Bissonnette, 2006, p. 1499). In fact, Booker was resentenced by the same judge to the same 30-year sentence that he originally received. Because the sentencing guidelines had then become merely advisory, the judge did not have to further justify his sentence since it was within the range of the statutorily defined penalty. The Court’s ruling on guidelines only applies to the federal system at present.

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Analysis

Answer Location: The Future of Sentencing Guidelines

Difficulty Level: Hard

 

  1. Discuss sentencing disparity. Give an example of legitimate sentencing disparity and illegitimate sentencing disparity in your discussion.

Ans: Sentencing disparity occurs when there is wide variation in sentences received by different offenders. This disparity is legitimate if it is based on considerations such as crime seriousness and/or prior record, but discriminatory if it is not. We think of sentencing disparity as discriminatory if differences in punishment in cases in which no rational justification can be found for it. The biggest concern is racial discrimination. There is no doubt that the American criminal justice system has a dark history of racial discrimination, but does this indictment still apply? African Americans receive harsher sentences on average than White or Asian American offenders, a fact often seen as racist. Sentencing variation is reasonable and just if the group being more harshly punished commits more crimes than other groups, but discriminatory and unjust if they do not. The second part of the essay is subjective.

Learning Objective: 5-4: Discuss the role of victim impact statements and the issues surrounding sentencing disparity.

Cognitive Domain: Analysis

Answer Location: Sentencing Disparities: Legitimate and Illegitimate

Difficulty Level: Hard

 

  1. Name the six outcomes consistent with Aristotle’s definition of justice regarding the sentencing guidelines, according to Lubitz and Ross (2001).

Ans: (i) A reduction in sentencing disparity.

(ii) More uniform and consistent sentencing.

(iii) A more open and understandable sentencing process.

(iv) Decreased punishment for certain categories of offenses and offenders and increased it for others.

(v) Aid in prioritizing and allocating correctional resources.

(vi) Provision of rational basis for sentencing and increased judicial accountability.

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

Answer Location: Sentencing Guidelines

Difficulty Level: Easy

 

  1. Discuss some of the controversies associated with the PSI report.

Ans: Because the future of a defendant depends to a great extent on the content of the report, the information contained therein should be reliable and objective. All pertinent information must be verified by cross-checking with more than one source, and that source should be reliable. The officer must be careful in the terms he or she uses to describe the offender. The use of phrases such as “morally bankrupt” or “sweet young lady” may reveal more about the officer’s attitudes and values rather than the defendant’s character. It is feared that if victims and other informants from whom the investigating officer has sought information know that the offender will see their comments, they will refuse to offer their information, thus the judge will not have complete information on which to make the sentencing decision.

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Analysis

Answer Location: The Presentence Investigation Report

Difficulty Level: Medium

 

  1. What information is included in the presentence investigation report? Do you think all of this information should be included?

Ans: Demographic information, circumstances of the offense, defendant’s version, prior record, present family status, present employment or support, physical health, mental health, evaluative summary, sentence recommendation. Second part of the essay question is subjective

Learning Objective: 5-5: Identify the purpose of presentence reports and sentencing guidelines, as well as the contentious issues surrounding them.

Cognitive Domain: Analysis

Answer Location: The Presentence Investigation Report

Difficulty Level: Hard

 

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