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Discretion and Due Process at the Post-conviction Stage (From Criminal Law and Justice: Essays from the W.G. Hart Workshop, 1986, P 221-235, 1987, I H Dennis, ed. -- See NCJ-118520)

NCJ Number
N Lacey
Date Published
15 pages
This analysis of discretion at the post-conviction stage of criminal proceedings in Great Britain argues that a focus on a doctrinal critique based on formal values like due process misses the real problem of reconciling the widespread tensions of principle and competing goals and priorities for the criminal justice system.
Thus, it is essential to achieve a broad consensus on the proper function of the criminal law as well as on its underlying values before trying to undertake reforms of any part of the system. Efforts to structure and confine judicial and executive discretion through the use of guidelines or bodies like sentencing commissions or parole boards must start with an examination of the basis of the practices in each area. Therefore, sentencing guidelines would need to be considered in terms of the aims of punishment, general sentencing levels, and the ranking of severity of offenses. To achieve this a lengthy process of political debate is needed. Notes.


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