601: 663. Sentencing
Prerequisite: Criminal Law.
In some ways, sentencing is the most important part of criminal prosecutions.
Sentencing occurs in about 90% of such cases while trials occur in fewer than 10%, and most
defendants express to their lawyers more realistic concern about their likely sentences than about
other possible outcomes. Since sentencing is so important, this course provides an in-depth
examination of the history and current content of the law of criminal sentencing in federal and
state courts, as well as the theoretical and policy foundations of that law and its application.
Topics covered include: purposes of criminal punishment and sentencing; allocation among
governmental agencies of power to determine sentences; discretion to select sentences and
control of such discretion; characteristics of crimes and criminals that influence sentences;
sentencing procedures; contents and degrees of sentences of imprisonment and of other
sanctions; influences of race, class and sex on sentences; and civil alternatives to criminal
punishment. The course explores bodies of law to which students are exposed in the Criminal
Law and Criminal Procedure --Adjudication courses, but addresses that law more thoroughly and
in greater depth, as well as additional aspects of that law. Grades will be based entirely or
almost entirely on the final examination; no writing credits are offered.