Courts, Sentencing, and Justice Essay Example

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Courts, Sentencing, and Justice


In the modern context, criminal courts as well as sentencing continue to respond to changes in the political and social environments. In addition, the changes continue to generate pressures and challenges for the legal systems. Besides, the changes have diverse implications on the way courts make valuable sentences in relation to different criminal cases. The main objective of this research is to examine how judges rationalize or reason in relation to their sentencing decision. This is through evaluation of critical factors such as gender differences in the sentencing processes in diverse cases.

Court Decisions

  1. In R vs. Lahni Kym Bonfield’s case concerning aggravated serious criminal trespass in a place of residence and assault, the court focused on evaluation of the social and psychological backgrounds prior to presentation of the community service punishment for the criminal acts.

  2. In R vs. TY Brett Campion & Damian Patrick Flanagan concerning aggravated assault causing harm and property damage, the court also focused on utilization of the legal and social analysis of the situation prior to the dishing of the sentence remarks.

  3. In R vs. Joel Jabinal concerning persistent sexual exploitation of a child, the court remarks had the opportunity to adhere to the changes in the political and social environments prior to making critical sentence on the most appropriate punishment for the crime.

  4. In R vs. Anthony Ronald Lunn’s case, the potential maximum penalties for the offences were three years imprisonment, two years imprisonment, and ten years imprisonment respectively. However, the courts focused on exploitation of the current political and social environments in making valuable decisions.

  5. In R vs. Stephen David Andrews present in Adelaide’s case concerning accessing child exploitation material, the changes to the environment came into play thus an effective opportunity for the provision of critical decisions.

Literature Review

There are diverse research articles and studies illustrating the changes in the rationalization of sentences by judges in the modern society with reference to the case of Australia. One of the critical research studies in relation to this research essay is King, Bamford, and Sarre (2009). According to this research, custodial remand processes occur in a complex social as well as justice context under the influence of the Australian jurisdictions by specific legislation. The article also notes that legislation across the country have similar or related provisions. Nevertheless, the implementation of the legislation involves an array of decision-makers as well as range of defendants and their relevant supporters. The article also notes that decision-making in the judicial context must relate to the precedent and settled practice in the development of context in the modern society (King, Bamford, and Sarre, 2009). The main objective of this article is to explore the contextual themes guiding the making of decisions in the modern contexts with reference to sentencing and pursuit of justice (King, Bamford, and Sarre, 2009).

In addition, Carl Williams (2007) focused on evaluation of the contemporary comment with reference to secret deals and bargained justice concerning the underworld of Victoria’s plea bargaining system. According to the article, the infamous Victorian underworld figure Carl Williams shocked the public by pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy in relation to committing murder as well as three counts of murder. The main objective of the contemporary comment is to examine the re-emergence of such concerns in relation to the wake of Williams’ plea bargain (Carl, 2007). The contemporary comment indicates that the plea bargaining involves informal discussions between defence counsel and prosecutors concerning case facts, the likely plea of defendant, and the possibility of negotiating charges. In the current instance, plea bargaining requires defendants to plead guilty in exchange for selected leniencies from prosecutors and courts (Easton & Piper, 2012). Moreover, plea bargaining has become a common method of case disposition internationally due to the benefits it offers the justice inclusive of reduced court costs, delays, sparing victims, and relevant witnesses in relation to the process of testifying (Carl, 2007).

Lievore (2005) also focused on examination of the current court decisions and sentences in the pursuit of justice in the modern society. Lievore (2005) concentrates on the prosecutorial decisions in adult sexual assault cases. According to this article, prosecution agencies often face criticism for their performance in prosecuting sexual assault. In addition, the essence of lack of external transparency translates to little knowledge about the specific criteria applicable in the decisions to proceed with or discontinue prosecutions. The article also notes that understanding of the factors with impact on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion constitutes an important step towards the improvement of criminal justice outcomes with reference to handling of the sexual assault cases (Lievore, 2005). The main objective of this article is to analyse prosecutorial decisions to proceed with as well as discontinue prosecution in a sample of adult sexual assault case towards the ability to secure a conviction. According to the findings of the study, the case decisions relate to evidentiary considerations with the tendency to secure a conviction. In addition, these decisions generate questions in the context of handling of cases involving prior relationships (Edney & Bagaric, 2007).

Steffensmeier, Ulmer, & Kramer (1998) also focused on evaluation of the relationship between race, gender, and age in criminal sentencing with reference to punishment cost of being young, black, and male. According to this article, prior theory and research on sentencing oversimplify the role of race, gender, and age in the context of making judicial decisions. The main aim of the article is to present the focal concerns theory in relation to judicial decision making with the objective of framing hypotheses in relation to social and political implications of court sentences. Bridges & Steen (1998) also focused on evaluation of the racial disparities in official assessments of juvenile offenders. This is through focusing on the attributional stereotypes as mediating mechanisms. Andrew von Hirsch (2007) weighs in evaluation of this research scope through assessment of the impact of the ‘desert’ model for sentencing. This is through examination of the influence, prospects, and alternatives with the aim of understanding contemporary court sentences with reference to the case of Australia (Zalkind & Simon, 2004).

Proposed Methodology

The main objective of this research is to examine how judges rationalize or reason in relation to their sentencing decision. This is through evaluation of critical factors such as gender differences in the sentencing processes in diverse cases. In order to address these research questions, the report will focus on evaluation of key ten-court sentencing in relation to diverse cases such as sexual assault, robbery, and murder encounters. In addition, the research will focus on evaluation of past research studies and current issues in relation to social and political implications in the court sentencing in the pursuit of justice. One of the critical sites for the evaluation and addressing of these research questions would be the South Australia District Courts (District Court: Sentencing Remarks). This is through examination of the current cases and sentences with the aim of understanding and incorporating the trend in making decisions of diverse court cases. The research will exploit sentencing remarks as the data source for addressing the research questions with the aim of achieving the goals and objectives of the essay (Zalkind & Simon, 2004). Moreover, random sampling is vital in the selection of the sentencing remarks from the research sites. This will be essential in adopting and incorporating vital concepts in relation to the modern factors in sentencing while pursuing justice.


King S., Bamford D., & Sarre R. (2009). “Discretionary Decision-Making in Dynamic Context: the Influences on Remand Decision-Makers in Two Australian Jurisdictions.” Current Issues in Criminal Justice, Vol. 21 (1), 26-40. 1758000_1/courses/2016CCJ_3141/King_Bamford_Sarre2009.pdf

Carl Williams, (2007). “Contemporary Comment.” 1758801_1/courses/2016CCJ_3141/Flynn2007.pdf

Lievore, D., (2005). “Prosecutorial Decisions in Adult Sexual Assault Cases.” 1758804_1/courses/2016CCJ_3141/Lievore2005.pdf

Steffensmeier D, Ulmer J., & Kramer J, (1998). “The interaction of race, gender, and age in criminal sentencing: the punishment of cost of being young, black, and male.” 1807736_1/courses/2016CCJ_3141/Steffensmeier_etal1998.pdf

Bridges G., & Steen S., (1998). “Racial Disparities in Official Assessments of Juvenile Offenders: Attributional Stereotypes as Mediating Mechanisms.” Vol. 63, No. 4 (Aug., 1998), pp. 554-570. content-rid-1807737_1/courses/2016CCJ_3141/Bridges_Steen1998.pdf

Andrew von Hirsch, (2007). “The ‘desert’ model for sentencing: its influence, prospects, and alternatives.” 1807735_1/courses/2016CCJ_3141/vonHirsch2007.pdf

Edney, R., & Bagaric, M. (2007). Australian sentencing: Principles and practice. Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.

Tonry, M. H., & Frase, R. S. (2001). Sentencing and sanctions in western countries. Oxford [England: Oxford University Press.

Easton, S. M., & Piper, C. (2012). Sentencing and punishment: The quest for justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Graycar, A., & Grabosky, P. N. (2002). The Cambridge handbook of Australian criminology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zalkind, P., & Simon, R. J. (2004). Global perspectives on social issues: Juvenile justice systems. Lanham, Md: Lexington Books.

District Court: Sentencing Remarks.