ASSIGNMENT 1:

This assignment asks you to consider which of the philosophies/rationales for punishment should guide a judge who is deciding what sentence to impose on a convicted offender.  In real life, very often judges base a sentence on more than one rationale for punishment. 

For each of the 10 scenarios below, select the ONE philosophy/rationale that you think is primary or most important for that scenario.  Each scenario is different, and you may select different philosophies for the various fact situations that are described.  Make sure familiarize yourself with the philosophies/rationales that apply.

In your answer, explain why you selected a particular rationale.  Write at least 2 meaningful, well-written, complete, insightful sentences with excellent grammar per each of the 10 scenarios.  REMEMBER: FOCUS YOUR ANSWER ON THE PRIMARY PHILOSOPHY/RATIONALE.  

  1. Chuck Cheesey was tired of being broke all the time.  He couldn’t afford to take his girlfriend to expensive restaurants, and he had a very old car.  He decided to accept an offer from some of his less upstanding friends to engage in credit card theft.  Before he was arrested and convicted of theft, he had charged over $25,000 to eight stolen credit cards. Chuck has an arrest and conviction from 10 years ago for theft of a vehicle. The judge now has to decide Chessey’s sentence.  Explain what philosophy of punishment you think should guide the judge.
  • Danny got addicted to prescription painkillers after he had a legal prescription for them because of a severe back injury.  When the painkillers were harder to procure, he would use heroin instead.  Danny also dealt on the side in order to afford his habit and because his drug abuse made it difficult for him to hold a job.   He’s found guilty of distributing heroin.  He has no prior criminal history. Explain what philosophy of punishment you think should guide the judge?
  • Tony is 16 years old and a gang member.  As part of his initiation into the gang, he badly beat up a gang member from a rival group.  His victim is paralyzed for life.  Tony’s case has been transferred out of juvenile court to the adult court system. Tony was arrested at 14 for assaulting a neighbor but charges were dropped. Explain what philosophy of punishment you think should guide the judge after Tony is transferred to adult court and convicted of aggravated assault as an adult.
  • Roger had a very difficult childhood.  Both his parents served prison time and were absent from the home off and on.  Roger didn’t finish high school.  His grades were bad, and he was often in detention or off-campus in the alternative school.  Roger naturally gravitated toward trouble as a youth and had a juvenile record.  At 20, Roger robs a bank and walks off with only $2000.  The police arrest him quickly and he confesses.  It’s a federal crime and he faces up to 20 years in prison. Explain what philosophy of punishment you think should guide the judge.
  • Gabby is a big time distributor of all kinds of drugs.  She’s part of a larger distribution network.  She’s made a lot of money in her chosen profession.  She has never personally been involved in anything violent or been a part of planning violence.  She has no prior criminal history. She’s convicted of a major federal drug offense.  Explain what philosophy of punishment you think should guide the judge.
  • Tommy is part of a group that steals cars and runs a chop shop.  He’s been in the business for about 5 years.  The car theft business has been good, but Tommy is not a wealthy man.  Just a middle-class guy trying to make it.  Tommy has been involved in the CJ system in the past — burglary, trespassing, and a DUI.  Explain what philosophy of punishment you think should guide the judge.
  • Hank is a prisoner in the Texas Department of Corrections (with a lengthy criminal history – all for property and drug-related crimes) and has worked with a correctional officer to smuggle in drugs.   Explain what philosophy of punishment you think should guide the judge.
  • Sally was convicted of aggravated child abuse.  She failed to stop her boyfriend from harming her children.  Sally was also battered by her boyfriend. The children suffered serious injuries.    Explain what philosophy of punishment you think should guide the judge.
  • Jimmy and his brother had a history of fighting with each other in very difficult relationship, especially when they were both drinking too much.  One evening, Jimmy pulled out a gun and killed his brother while they were arguing.  Both men had been yelling and physically threatening each other during the argument.  Jimmy’s self-defense claim was not successful, and he was convicted of manslaughter.  Both men had been in and out of prison for assault, burglary, and theft.  Explain what philosophy of punishment you think should guide the judge.
  1. Matt was a successful stockbroker who earned an easy $3,000,000 a year.  He wanted more money and engaged in insider trading, which is against the law.  (LOOK UP INSIDER-TRADING).  Matt has no prior criminal history.  He donates lots of money to charitable causes and has an excellent reputation in his church community. Explain what philosophy of punishment you think should guide the judge. 

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