Capital Sentencing Decisions: Article Analysis

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For this assignment, I reviewed two articles on the Criminal Justice database library. One focused on bail decisions, and how this can sometimes affect the outcome of the sentencing phase. The other article focused on Capital Sentencing Decisions, that focused on the portrayal of the victim. Both of these articles gave some interesting theories of how judges and jury decide the fate of one’s future. It described how certain factors can influence the judge or jury in their decision making. The sentencing phase has factors that are considered before determining someone’s outcome. The media that is reporting the case to the public, has a major influence on the judge’s decision for sentencing. The judge also has an obligation to the legislatures …show more content…
Not only is the judge thinking about the victim during sentencing, but the jury can be sympathetic to the victim, as well. According to Zaykowski, Kleinstuber, McDonough (2014), they state that “although the Victim’s Rights Movement has led to advances for victims of crime, the use of victim impact evidence in criminal trials remains controversial due to the suspicion that such evidence enhances punitive attitudes and arbitrariness in capital sentencing outcomes” (p 1). The article continues to discuss the Victim’s impact on the case. If the judge or jury can sympathize with the victim, the sentence will be harsher. They explain that a victim who can be considered an Ideal Victim, can influence the judge and jury to the point of sentencing. An Ideal Victim is perceived to be more legitimate when the victim is weaker than the offender, acting virtuously, unknown to the offender, and blameless for the harms she experienced (Zaykowski, kleinstuber, and McDonough, …show more content…
There are also times when the victim is not ideal. In fact, there are victims that have placed themselves in a situation that was not considered the norm, and led to the crime. These victims are not considered Ideal and have less of an impact on the jurors. The judge, who has more experience, and knowledge of the legislature, can generally separate his personal feelings from the hearing, and can focus on the outcome of the trial in order to sentence the offender. According to Siegel, Schmalleger, and Worrell (2015), “a number of factors, including the seriousness of the crime, the defendant’s prior record, the defendant’s possible threat to the community and the defendant’s degree of remorse for committing the crime, influence the final sentencing decision” (p. 380). I found that both of these articles reviewed, have some truth about the factors that can influence the sentencing process of an offender. I agree with the authors and researcher’s opinions that the media and how the community perceives the story can influence the impact. I also agree that the victim can influence the case, causing harsher

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