As a Criminologist Advisor to the State Legislature, I have been chosen to provide a prison term policy on armed robbery. Currently the legislature will soon be voting on a bill that would double the maximum prison term for anyone convicted of armed robbery. First I would like to define what the legal definition of armed robbery is as defined by the Black's Law Dictionary which is: an aggravated form of robbery in which the defendant is armed with a dangerous weapon, though it is not necessary to prove that he used the weapon to effectuate the robbery. The taking of property from person or presence of another by use of force or by threatening use of force while armed with a dangerous weapon (Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition).
Before I render my decision to support the bill or not to support the bill, I must examine the disparity as it relates to prison sentencing within our judicial system. Sentence disparity is a term used to describe the variations and equities that result when defendants convicted of the same crime receive varying sentences; may refer also to varying sentences from state to state. An example of sentencing disparity is if a three-time offender in one jurisdiction receives 5 years for armed robbery, whereas a three-time offender in another jurisdiction receives 15 years for the same offense (Anderson, 2003). In my opinion sentencing disparity is unfair. I believe that there should be equal time for the same crime. The justice system should create a sentencing score to go by when handing down sentences. The score should be the same for all jurisdictions in all states and should be followed exactly as written. Judges have too much authority when it comes to sentencing. All judges are not fair and we as realistic citizens can not expect them to be because that would be unrealistic.
So, therefore when it comes to sentencing the people or the race that a particular judge may be prejudice against does not receive fair sentencing, whereas others that the judge may not be prejudice against and may even know does get fair treatment. Judges jobs are to make decisions based on what they hear in court, but just like all people judges also have bad days meaning that one day one person may receive 15 years with the possibility of parole for armed robbery and the next day another person may receive 25 years without the possibility of parole. This is unfair to the people who commit crimes because they are not treated equally by the criminal justice system (Anderson, 2003).
In the long run this could cause the criminal justice system money because of the appeals that inmates may come back with after figuring they have not treated equally by the criminal justice system. If I had a chance to become a Judge I would pass because it comes with too many stipulations and it is also a dangerous job. Sometimes the same crime could be committed under different circumstances such as murder. For instance, a woman could have killed a man in self-defense but was unable to prove that in court and was found guilty of murder in the first degree even though it wasn't or better yet she could not prove it wasn't and another woman could have planned to kill her boyfriend because she was tired of him cheating on her which means had planned this and had though about and the court finds her also guilty of murder in the first degree. Some people would consider this unfair sentencing and maybe even sentencing disparity, but this occurs everyday and the court has no way of knowing what really happened and why it happened so they have so judge on what the courts can prove. It is argued that it is not the severity of the sentencing laws that is the problem, but that these laws essentially remove judicial discretion, and run counter to theories of both sentencing and punishment as well as to the very nature of judicial decision making that the judicial process requires....