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The purposes of punishment: how do judges apply a legislative statement of sentencing purposes?

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Warner, K, Davis, J and Cockburn, H ORCID: 0000-0002-5735-098X 2017 , 'The purposes of punishment: how do judges apply a legislative statement of sentencing purposes?' , Criminal Law Journal, vol. 41 , pp. 69-85 .

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Abstract

Despite abundant academic debate about the justification for criminal punishment, the frequent revisiting of how to deal legislatively with the purposes of a sentence by law reform bodies and some legal analysis of appellate guidance on the purposes of sentence, little attention has been given to judges’ reliance on the purposes of sentence in their sentencing remarks. This article attempts to close this gap by analysing the sentencing remarks in trials obtained for a study of jurors’ views of sentencing in Victoria. Against the backdrop of the Victorian legislation, the article examines the extent to which judges advert to the purposes of sentence in their reasons and how they rank and prioritise the purposes including in cases where there was a statutory requirement to prioritise incapacitation. Explanations for judges’ preferences are suggested including that purposes serve as proxies for statements about the seriousness of the crime.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Warner, K and Davis, J and Cockburn, H
Keywords: law, sentencing, judges
Journal or Publication Title: Criminal Law Journal
Publisher: Thompson Reuters Australia Limited
ISSN: 0314-1160
Copyright Information:

© 2017 Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Limited

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