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Sentencing in Canada Imposing a Sentence.

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Presentation on theme: "Sentencing in Canada Imposing a Sentence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sentencing in Canada Imposing a Sentence

2 Review: The Process and Objectives of Sentencing
Sentencing reflects social values The judge must consult the Criminal Code while sentencing. It outlines the maximum and minimum punishments for certain crimes The judge also has to weight the severity of the crime, the offender's background and society's view on punishment.

3 Read page 310 & 322-323 in your text, Answer the following:
Restorative Justice Read page 310 & in your text, Answer the following: What sentencing objective does Restorative Justice relate to? What role do victims play in these programs? How can they benefit? What criticisms have been made about these programs? Outline your opinions of Restorative Justice Programs.

4 Sentencing Overall Sentencing has to be proportional. This means that the punishment must reflect the harm of the crime. This is why there are harsher sentences for harsher crimes, like kidnapping or murder. The Criminal Code also directs the judge to increase or reduce the sentence in certain conditions: -mitigating circumstances: facts or details that lessen the responsibility of the offender. (first time offender, good employment record, good character, a guilty plea, helping the police apprehend other offenders, indirect consequences of the offence like personal injury or loss of employment) -aggravating circumstances: details about the crime that increase the responsibility of the offender (abused a position of trust or authority in relation to the victim, committed the crime in association with a criminal organization, prior convictions, association with violent crimes, etc.)  

5 Imposing a Sentence Judges in Canada have a lot of leeway- they can impose sentences up to the maximums listed However, for some offenses, there are mandatory minimum sentences. The Criminal Code has close to 45 minimum sentences. They fall into 3 categories: Offences involving firearms and other weapons Typically a 4 year sentence for using a firearm during a crime Sexual offences involving children 6 months for soliciting sexual service for someone under 18; 2 years for living off of prostitution of someone under the age of 18 Impaired driving (Blood Alcohol level over 0.8) 14 days (2nd conviction); 90 days (third conviction)

6 The Criminal Code has been changed so that mandatory minimum sentences were placed on violent crimes. Harassment, sexual abuse and organized crime were also changed so that there is a more harsh minimum sentence Tackling Violent Crime Act, February Federal government increased the number of offences that carry a mandatory minimum sentence, took aim at serious drug offences For these, and various other crimes, judges have no choice but to give at least the mandatory minimum sentence Once a sentence is set, either the accused or the crown may appeal the sentence to a higher court

7 Things Judges Consider
In deciding on a sentence, judges usually refer to previous cases (precedents), but they aren’t required to use the same type of sentencing The can also consider time spent in custody awaiting trial. If the judge decides it counts towards the offenders jail time, the time usually counts as double. Judges also consider: pre-sentence reporting, the offenders potential for rehabilitation and the victim impact report. (Victims are allowed to write a statement of the effects of the crime on them and read the report aloud)

8 Imposing a Sentence Community options are now available for sentencing to reduce the cost of the prison system: Conditional release: most offenders return to the community at some point, so they can often serve part of their sentence in the community under supervision (not all qualify for it though) This system sparks a debate about rehabilitations, some people want to lock offenders up forever, but some people think that employment, education and social programs can help them reform and return to the community. Overall, the judge’s sentence must be balanced with the concern for public safety

9 Criminal Designations
Different criminal designations can come with sentencing: Long Term Offender (LTO)- repeat criminals, likely to reoffend Dangerous Offender – For a Dangerous Offender Designation one of the following conditions must be met: Has a pattern of aggressive behavior that is unlikely to change Is indifferent to the consequences of his or her behavior Committed such a brutal offence that future behavior is likely to be abnormal Has sexual impulses that will likely cause injury or pain to others Little to no chance of rehabilitation

10 Considerations in Sentencing
Under section 12 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadians have the right to not be subjected to "cruel and unusual" punishment For some, this means capital punishment, which as you know, is a much debated topic Timeline on page of your textbook highlights this issue

11 Andrew Moffitt- 1998 Read the case of Andrew Moffitt- based on the information that you have, make a sentence for the offender. You may use your textbook to look at appropriate sentences. As a judge, what further information might you need to make a better informed decision? Would a victim impact statement help? After reading Paulette Moffitt’s report, does this change your view on the sentence?

12 Danninger Bringing an abrupt halt to his second-degree murder trial, Henry Danninger pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter. This trail kept getting delayed and took 4 years to finish Moffitt’s family grieved and then began to advocate for harsher minimum sentences on crimes involving knives as weapons Danninger was sentenced to 5 years of prison and was released on parole in 2006. He moved back to Brockville, the same town where the Moffitt family lives. At this point, he was only 33.

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