Sentencing Paper

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The sentencing of individuals found guilty of a criminal offence is one of the least understood, but most scrutinized aspects of the criminal justice system. This assignment will provide some insight into the sentencing process. For this assignment we will use Carswell Westlaw LawSource a pay-for-us legal data base accessed through the University of Guelph Library.

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Course-level learning outcomes
By the end of this assignment you should be able to:

conduct basic legal and public policy research
recognize the challenges and unique nature of criminal justice policy
analyze and evaluate the operation of the criminal justice system for strengths and weaknesses in terms of accountability, transparency, independence, and oversight
Prepare a short paper by answering the questions and following the instructions listed on a Criminal Code offence. Students must use the Canadian Sentencing Digests Judgements LawSource database to complete their assignment. Additional material may be used, including course readings. To complete this assignment students will also have to access the Criminal Code of Canada, available through the Department of Justice online:

Using the Canadian Digests of Sentencing Judgements, find three sentences imposed for a single Criminal Code Offence. After reviewing the three cases, address the following questions/issues:

Comparing and contrasting all three cases, comment on the general variance in sentencing for the offence. In other words, how do the sentences imposed for the same offence differ?
What mitigating and aggravating factors did the judge consider? Are the mitigating or aggravating factors explicitly provided for in the Criminal Code? Compare your findings across the three cases.
What principle(s) of sentencing is emphasized by the judge? How does the sentence imposed fulfill the principle(s) of sentencing identified?
In your view, did the sentences reflect the gravity of the crime and the culpability of the offender? Be sure to support your opinion with specific examples or evidence from the cases.
If you were re-drafting the Criminal Code, what penalty would you prescribe? For example, would you impose a mandatory minimum? A higher/lower maximum sentence? The status quo?.
This is a compare and contract paper so it is best to explain each of your cases (1-2 paragraphs each) and then answer the questions for the cases together. Make sure all 3 of your cases involve the same Criminal Code offence.

Suggested paper structure: (do NOT use these as your headings)

Brief summary of Case #1
Brief summary of Case #2
Brief summary of Case #3
Answer to question #1 (about all 3 cases)
Answer to question #2 (about all 3 cases)
Answer to question #3 (about all 3 cases)
Answer to question #4 (about all 3 cases)
Answer to question #5 (about all 3 cases)
Six to eight pages, not including title page and references. Papers should be written in a formal, academic style, appropriate for an upper year political science course. All sections should be written in a formal, full paragraph structure. Papers must have an introduction and a conclusion. You may use subheadings. Papers must be double-spaced, times roman in 12-point font and must include proper referencing and citation. The official citation style for the Department of Political Science is APA. Consult the Writing Guide for POLS Courses. Please refer to your cases as the case name and the offenders as their last name rather than “Offender A” “Offender B”. Subheadings are helpful for the organization of your paper

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