Sentencing Guidelines are constitutionally written rules and standards meant to reduce disparity in sentences. The sentencing guidelines in this case will consider the respondent’s guilty plea and prior cases related with drug use.
These guidelines were originally developed to “reduce the disparity of sentences across regions for similarly situated defendants convicted of the same crime,” (Brashear 34). The justice system is expected to be proportional in its sentencing of similar cases thereby promoting honesty in the process.
Discretion by the judges and magistrates is reduced by these guidelines. In developing these guidelines, the disparity in cases was closely associated with the unlimited discretion with which the judges operated hence the guidelines limited these by setting standards for sentencing for similar cases. The sentencing guidelines require that the seriousness of an offence be assessed (Sentencing Council 14). The respondent was found with 5 kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute, hence the respondent is regarded as wanting to harm others. The guidelines also require that the respondent’s guilty plea be considered in reducing the sentence (Sentencing Council 16). Hence, the guidelines will require that the overall recommended sentencing be reduced and harm of drug use be considered especially to the public.
Less discretion for judges is better mainly because it reduces disparity among similar cases (Brashear 34). Also, it emphasises rigorous judgements since the judges are forced to follow the guidelines ranges only. The judicial system is regarded as the institution of honesty and fairness. The disparity among similar cases disregards the pillars of the justice system.
In defence of the respondent, Mr. Smith, the Federal Defender Ms. Jones should point out to the judge that;
- Mr. Smith is a first time offender
- The respondent had plead guilty to the case against him
- The respondent is young, hence, reduced level of responsibility but showed remorse by co-operation with the authorities and the case
Brashear, Tiede Lydi a. “THE IMPACT OF THE FEDERAL SENTENCING GUIDELINES.” Justice SystemJournal 30.1 (2009): 34-39. Print. <http://www.ncsc.org/~/media/Files/PDF/Publications/Justice%20System%20Journal/The%20Impact%20of%20the%20Federal%20Sentencing.ashx>.
Sentencing Council. “Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines.” Sentencing Council 1.1 (2008): 1-459. Print. <https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/MCSG-April-2017-FINAL-2.pdf>.