December 18, 2018 | Law | No Comments
The disbursement of justice is never easy. It is a complex obligation and duty. Whether victim or perpetrator, murderer or thief, or simply a victim of circumstance, we each deserve to be heard. We want our day in court. The pursuit of justice for one and all requires that we, as individuals and as part of a larger society, pursue justice — not just for ourselves, but for everyone. Get the facts about Florida sentencing.
The entire basis of our legal system rests on the preservation of the right to a fair trial and the right to due process of law. Mandatory sentencing infringes on the course of the law with its promise of expediency or improved efficiency or more unilateral application of the law. Mandatory sentencing infringes on the course of the law as it pertains to individual rights because it establishes a predisposition to a case that hasn’t been heard.
Sentencing guidelines ought to remain guidelines without becoming legislative mandates. Mandatory sentencing undermines the entire judicial process because it prevents an individual judge from determining a comprehensive sentence based on the outcome of the trial as compared to sentences mandated by the general public who were not privileged to the judge’s bench or the juror’s box. Each case is unique.
Mandatory sentences erode the authority, flexibility and sentencing options available to the criminal adult court system and the juvenile court system by restricting a judge’s authority to apply leniency or suggest alternative programs designed to rehabilitate more than punish. Mandatory sentencing, therefore, is counterproductive to our stated objectives to seek alternative and potentially rehabilitative methods for offenders and, particularly, for juvenile offenders.
Mandatory sentencing is counterproductive to both the adult and juvenile criminal court systems because it preemptively revokes the rights of the individual to a fair trial and restricts the use of sentencing options available to the courts during post-trial sentencing. It is analogous to putting the proverbial horse before the cart. The due process of the law has been violated when the sentencing outcome precedes the trial itself.
In our pursuit to let justice prevail, we must refrain from making broad generalizations through attitude or law that simultaneously hinders our ability to uphold the law. The process of the law serves as a counter-balance to the intent of the law. Throughout the entire judicial process, facts are discovered, opinions are heard and evidence is reviewed.
In our zeal to seek justice for the whole, we must be careful not to jeopardize justice for one. We must remain cautious about our tendency to establish broad laws that weaken, instead of strengthen, our judicial system through mandatory sentencing that sounds logical when applied to a group, yet simultaneously, undermines an individual’s rights when standing in court, facing the judge, waiting for a sentence that was pre-determined before all of the evidence has been heard or the facts reviewed. In our pursuit to achieve justice for all, we must first preserve justice for one.Sentencing