How judges sentence is a question frequently asked, but infrequently explored. What factors are taken into account? How do judges see their role? How do they apply the aims and purposes of sentencing? How are factors such as public opinion taken into account?
Through interviews with Queensland judges, this book explores these questions, and through this analysis provides a major contribution to debates on sentencing. The judges explain how they come to their decisions when sentencing, how they view judicial discretion, and how they exercise it. This careful examination of their comments within the legislative and theoretical contexts of sentencing, yields valuable insights into judicial methodologies, perceptions and attitudes towards the sentencing process.
A new book on sentencing holds something for all criminal practitioners and judges. A delightfully succinct and well-written book, it weaves a delicate lacework linking theory and practice with witty insights into judicial reasoning on sentencing. There are many witty insights into judicial reasoning on sentencing based on actual comments from judges in the interviews conducted by the author. ... There is also a great deal of both theoretical and practical knowledge woven into the text. It is more than an academic work. .. [It] will be of interest to all criminal practitioners and judges. Criminal law students and academics will also find it valuable. Members of the public and the media will gain an insight into the real difficulty that sentencing poses for judges, who, ultimately, must balance many factors. - Queensland Bar News No 16, August 2005
The results of the author’s work do indeed provide insights into sentencing practice and she sets out with a great deal of success to examine judicial perceptions, methodology and attitudes towards the sentencing process as seen through the eyes of these judges. ... This is a very interesting book and well worth reading, especially for the large number of quotes from the judges. - NSW Bar News, Summer 2005-2006
Judges often have great difficulty because of the complexity of the facts and sentencing law, the need to balance the various aims of sentencing, the range of options available to them and the widely differing personal circumstances of offenders. The ever watchful eyes of the media, the oversight of courts of appeal, the views of victims and the force of public opinion ensure that the sentencing process, while lonely, is never secret or unaccountable. This book, based on the author’s PhD, is an attempt to understand sentencing from the judges’ point of view. ... there have been few attempts to gauge sentencers’ perceptions about issues such as how they make their decisions, the purposes of sentencing, the degree of discretion afforded to them, the influence that public opinion has on their sentencing behaviour and the stresses that the responsibilities of sentencing place upon them. This should prove a useful book for sentencing scholars and policy makers and possibly for a broader market which is mystified by the criminal justice system and the actions of the courts. - Professor Arie Frieberg, Australian Policy Online 25 August 2005
Table of Contents
Judges and the sentencing process
Sentencing and Judicial Discretion
Sentencing Aims and Purposes
On Law and Order, Public Opinion and the Media
A Question of Balance