: English for Law Students. 2 year. Part 2 - ( ..)


: 1775

Unit 6 sentencing


1. Who determines what punishment a convicted defendant receives?

2. Where can the prescribed punishment for crimes be found?

3. Do people convicted of the same or similar crimes receive similar sentences?

4. What factors do judges use in determining sentences?


B1. Study the words below and try to memorize them.




discretion ; ; forfeiture1) , ; ( , , ) restitution , probation, ( ) deprivation

probation officer ; , ,

supervision of probation- ࠠ 蠠 ꠠ ,


eligible for parole -



expiration of sentence


unexpired, ( )

lessen ,


mitigate ;

aggravate 1) (, ) 2) ()


B2. Read the text and be ready to do the tasks below.


Sentencing occurs only when an offender has been found guilty and convicted of an offence. Once guilt has been determined, either by verdict

following a trial or by the entry of a guilty plea, the defendant must be sentenced. Generally, the trial judge imposes the sentence, which must be within the statutory limits set by the legislature for the crime in question. The sentence imposed by a judge must be appropriately severe to reflect the seriousness of the offence, yet not be excessive or unduly harsh. Between those two extremes there will be an appropriate range of sentences. The judge will make many discretionary decisions in arriving at the sentence. Discretion in sentencing recognizes that every case is unique. No two offences are committed in exactly the same set of circumstances, and no two offenders will have the same background or history. The existence of a broad

sentencing discretion allows each case to be judged on its own fact.

When most people think about sentencing, the first thing that comes to mind is imprisonment. However, imprisonment is only one out of a wide range of sentencing options available to the courts. Available sentences include fine, forfeiture (loss of property), restitution, probation, some form of incarceration or deprivation of liberty, or a combination of these. Imprisonment is used only where no other form of punishment is appropriate. For certain very serious offenses, the convicted offender may be sentenced to death.

Judges often have the option to place a convicted offender on probation. Probation means the offender will remain in the community (rather than be sent to jail) subject to certain conditions prescribed by statute or by the judge. One condition of probation is supervision by a probation officer. If the offender violates the conditions of probation, probation can be revoked and the offender can be incarcerated.

In many jurisdictions, a defendant sentenced to prison may be eligible for release on parole after a portion of the sentence has been served. Parole authorities grant parole based on factors such as the prisoners behavior while in jail and the predicted potential for the prisoner to refrain from further

criminal activity. The possibility of parole does not exist for some serious criminal offenders. If parole is granted, the person on parole (known as the parolee) remains under the supervision of a parole officer until the expiration of the sentence or a term otherwise specified by law. If the parolee violates the conditions of parole, the parole authorities may revoke parole, returning the parolee to prison for the remainder of the unexpired sentence.

Arriving at an appropriate sentence can be a very difficult exercise. Many factors must be considered. Those factors which are favourable to the offender, lessening culpability and tending to lessen the sentence that may be imposed are called mitigating factors. Factors which tend to increase the seriousness of the offence and the offenders culpability (or blame worthiness) are called aggravating factors. The prosecution informs the court about any aggravating circumstances of the offence, and the defence informs about any mitigating circumstances.

The majority of criminal offenders, when charged with an offence, choose to plead guilty. When this happens, a conviction may be entered without the need for a trial. One of the main reasons that offenders choose to plead guilty is to reduce the sentence, as a plea of guilty had traditionally been viewed as a mitigating factor as it demonstrates a degree of remorse on the part of the offender.

B3. Answer the questions to the text.

1. What can you say about the concept of an appropriate range of


2. What is the range of sentencing options available to the courts?

3. What does probation mean?

4. What happens if the offender violates the conditions of probation?

5. What is parole?

6. What are the factors influencing grant parole?

7. What are mitigating and aggravating factors in an appropriate sentencing?

8. Why is the majority of criminal offenders, when charged with an offence, choose to plead guilty?

B4. Find these phrases and expressions in the text.


b. c.


e. ,


g. , 堠 젠 ࠠ  蠠

h. , - i.


k. ,


C1. Work in pairs or in small groups to decide if the following factors are aggravating or mitigating. Check with the key.

1) the offender was provoked by the victim

2) the offender does not have any records of previous convictions

3) the offence was committed in company

4) the offender pleaded guilty

5) the offence was motivated by hatred for or prejudice against a group of people to which the offender believed the victim belonged

6) the offence was commited without regard for public safety

7) the offence was part of a planned criminal activity

8) the emotional harm, loss, or damage caused by the offence was not substantial


D1. Fill the gaps with the missing words from the box.

fine; sentence; severe; background; mitigating; probation; refrain;

remorse; committed; imprisonment

1. He admitted killing the man but showed no sign of _.

2. The police appealed to protestors to

from violence.

3. Many women believe that the punishment for rape should be life


4. She faces up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 .

5. The 31-year-old rap executive has been in jail since October for violations.

6. It took five years for the author to research new book/

7. Detectives believe that the crime was

information for her

at around 7.30 pm.

8. Many people feel the punishment should have been more .

9. Belfast Appeal Court increased his

from five to nine years.

10. Judges often give reduced sentences where there are circumstances.

D2. Match the terms with their Russian language equivalents.

a) fixed opinion b) government opinion c) individual opinion d) judicial opinion e) legal opinion f) majority opinion g) prosecution opinion h) public opinion i) counsel's opinion j) court opinion k) defence opinion l) extrajudicial opinion m) minority opinion n) non-expert opinion o) official opinion p) partial opinion q) precedent-setting opinion r) preconceived opinion s) expert opinion



3. ;

4. ,

5. ,


7. .









16. ,

17. ,

18. ;


D3. Choose the right word

1) Concerned/concerning that too much bad news was affecting the health and life of the people, politicians in Romania attempted to pass a law 2) required/requiring radio and television media to broadcast 3) at least/ at last one positive news story for every gloomy one. The countrys Constitutional Court upheld a challenge to the new law, noting: News 4) is/are news. It is neither positive nor negative. It simply reflects reality. The good news 5) legislation/ legislature was doomed to fail anyway, as it would likely have violated European Union human rights laws guaranteeing freedom of expression.

A woman in London 6) avoided/ escaped a parking fine with a 7) novel/ new excuse. The woman, a belly dancer, had stopped her car in a 8) restricted/ limited parking zone, left her vehicle stationary with the engine running and went off to perform. After receiving a parking 9) ticket/ check, she explained that it had been necessary to leave the engine running because the car was full of snakes used in her exotic routine. The running engine kept the reptiles warm 10) because/ so that they wouldnt fall asleep during the dance. Her fine was cancelled.

A judge in Louisville decided a jury went a little bit too far in recommending a sentence 11) of/ to 5,005 years for a man who was convicted of five robberies and a kidnapping. The judge reduced the sentence

12) of/ to 1,001 years.


E1. Translate the following text.

  1995 , *,

, ,

. , , , 23 . : , , , , , , * . , $5 . , , * , , , .

. ,


------------------------------------------------ ttempted murder be doomed to be dependent on

Legal anecdote

A lawyer defending a man, accused of burglary, tried this creative

defense:My client merely inserted his arm into the window and removed a few trifling articles. His arm is not himself, and I fail to see how you can punish the whole individual for an offence committed by his limb.

Well put, the judge replied. Using your logic, I sentence the defendants arm to one years imprisonment. He can accompany it or not, as he chooses. The defendant smiled. With his lawyers assistance he detached his artificial limb, laid it on the bench and walked out.

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