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Criminal Sentencing as Practical Wisdom

By: Graeme Brown
Media of Criminal Sentencing as Practical Wisdom
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Published: 01-06-2017
Format: EPUB eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 304
ISBN: 9781509902620
Imprint: Hart Publishing
RRP: £36.00
Online price : £28.80
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About Criminal Sentencing as Practical Wisdom

How do judges sentence? In particular, how important is judicial discretion in sentencing? Sentencing guidelines are often said to promote consistency, but is consistency in sentencing achievable or even desirable? Whilst the passing of a sentence is arguably the most public stage of the criminal justice process, there have been few attempts to examine judicial perceptions of, and attitudes towards, the sentencing process.

Through interviews with Scottish judges and by presenting a comprehensive review and analysis of recent scholarship on sentencing – including a comparative study of UK, Irish and Commonwealth sentencing jurisprudence – this book explores these issues to present a systematic theory of sentencing. Through an integration of the concept of equity as particularised justice, the Aristotelian concept of phronesis (or 'practical wisdom'), the concept of value pluralism, and the focus of appellate courts throughout the Commonwealth on sentencing by way of 'instinctive synthesis', it is argued that judicial sentencing methodology is best viewed in terms of a phronetic synthesis of the relevant facts and circumstances of the particular case. The author concludes that sentencing is best conceptualised as a form of case-orientated, concrete and intuitive decision making; one that seeks individualisation through judicial recognition of the profoundly contextualised nature of the process.

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Context and Methodology
3. The Instinctive Synthesis and Wise Blending of Penal Aims: A Comparative Study of Sentencing Methodology
4. Equity and the Rule of Law in Sentencing
5. The Practical Wisdom of Sentencing: A Rationalisation of Intuitive Decision Making and Judicial Discretion
6. Structuring the Sentencer's Discretion
7. A 'Seedy Little Bargain with Criminals'? Judicial Discretion and the Guilty Plea Discount
8. The Phronimos and the Metronomic Clockwork Man


“The book affords a valuable window into the judicial mindset, through which our percipience of the sentencing process is heightened and enriched...The author impressively contextualises a difficult subject matter, through his use of original data, combined with case law and theory. The results will prove interesting to practitioners and researchers in this field, as well as those interested in acquiring a deeper understanding of the value of sentencing judges' perceptions of their role in the criminal justice system.” –  Margaret Fitzgerald O'Reilly, University of Limerick, Irish Jurist

“This book is a tour de force in the exposition of sentencing policy ... It is analytical in its approach yet is thoroughly accessible for any serious student of sentencing policy and practice ... It is a book that deserves careful study for anyone interested to understand the difficult nature of the sentencing task, the ubiquitous character of judicial discretion, and the complexity of the overlap between judicial practice and official policy.” –  Warren Brookbanks, Professor of Criminal Law and Justice Studies, AUT Law School, New Zealand Criminal Law Review

“In this significant new contribution to the sentencing literature, the author explores the approach to sentencing found in many common law jurisdictions...there is much to learn from this volume which will generate much discussion in many jurisdictions.” –  Julian V Roberts, University of Oxford, The Canadian Criminal Justice Association

“This is a worthwhile book for both academics and practitioners, since there is plenty of content to satisfy these normally diverse interests.” –  Sheriff F R Crowe, The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland

“[A] well-written and comprehensive insight into sentencing ... which makes an important contribution to international sentencing research.” –  Lorana Bartels, University of Canberra, Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology

“[C]ompelling reading … [T]his book provides a fascinating insight into the views of the … judiciary, and should be essential reading for anyone who is interested in the philosophy of sentencing.” –  Pamela R Ferguson, University of Dundee, The Edinburgh Law Review

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