Before the Booker/Fanfan decision in 2005, judges used to view a reasonable sentence as one directed by the Sentencing Commission guidelines. A judge had to consider several purposes factors including sentencing guidelines and policy statements before making a reasonable sentence (Eskridge, 1990). Judges used to view this type of reasonable sentencing as one that does not allow an equal extensive range of discretion. After the Booker decision, the judge’s view of reasonable sentencing changed as the sentencing guidelines were no longer considered mandatory, but merely advisory in nature (Kimball, 2011). Since then, judges apply their own perceptions of just deterrence, punishment, and public protection even when those contrast the perceptions of the Sentencing Commission. Since the sentencing guidelines were reduced to advisory guidelines, there had been broad subjective reports concerning inter-judge disparity sentencing.
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A reasonable sentence is one that promotes respect of the law, provides just punishment for the offense, reveals the gravity of the offense, affords satisfactory deterrence to criminal conduct, provides protection to the society from more crimes of the defendant, and provides the defendant with correctional treatment in an effective way (Eskridge, 1990). Unreasonable sentence does not put into consideration the aforementioned issues.
Forensic psychologist's sentencing evaluation affects reasonable sentencing in that it makes the judge consider the character and personality of the offender provided in the evaluation report while making his judgment, despite the fact that this report cannot the guilt or innocence of the offender. Since the evaluation report provides a complete profile of the offender, it direct influences the direction a judge will take in providing the final judgment. I disagree with the Supreme Court decisions to grant more discretion to federal judges because it creates a lot of disparities in inter-judge sentencing. Sentencing guidelines used to create some uniformity in the sentencing process and I would therefore prefer their earlier state.
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