The Advantages and Disadvantages of Judicial Discretion

Posted By Joey Gilbert Law || 17-May-2013

A judge's role could be considered as passive and reactive in a pretrial procedure. Eying over everything that is going on and making sure that no ones rights are infringed upon is one of the judges duties. Though in most cases where the jury will decide the defendants fate, in a traditional sentence the judge will be called to exercise the ultimate authority of the state in determining the defendants fate. Out of all of the forms of the punishment including capital punishment, imprisonment, probation, fines and many more, the judge must decide what to sentence the defendant with. This is where judicial discretion comes in. Judicial discretion is what rests on the assumption that a judge should be given ample leeway in determining punishments that fit both the crime and the criminal.

What are the advantages of judicial discretion? When discretion is present in a court case, the judge has the chance to use common sense to enforce the law and treat people with flexibility and trust. Giving individuals who mess up maybe once or twice a second chance is all about what judicial discretion is. Ideally, officials should be mutually consistent and interchangeable, making similar decisions in similar cases, so that no one can gain an undue advantage choosing the official or exercising undue influence on the official or on the process he operates. Being fair to all and not abusing the role of judicial discretion in courts is an important factor.

What are the disadvantages of judicial discretion? Running into a judge who had woke up late, spilled coffee on himself on the way to court, and bumped his head on the way in probably wouldn’t be too fun to deal with. If the judge doesn’t like the way you have presented yourself or flat out thinks that you have committed the crime and don’t care, it is very possible that a jail or prison sentence is ahead as opposed to possible probation. Leaving the fate of the defendant in a cranky judges hand is a major disadvantage. Another disadvantage to judicial discretion is that not everyone in court may not agree with the judges ruling. Most judges want to avoid putting individuals into jail due to overcrowding when in all reality they do deserve jail time or a prison sentence. Discretion in decision making can be viewed from the perspective of the flexibility and choices granted to the decision maker based on the decision being made.

An indeterminate sentence is a sentence imposed for a crime that isn’t given a definite duration. Presumptive sentencing is a sentence that is the presumed punishment for an offense and is subject to the upward or downward adjustment of its severity depending on aggravating and mitigating factor.The judge is able to reduce the sentence by ordering a downward departure from the presumptive sentence.

If you or a loved oneis facing criminal charges in the Reno Tahoe area, contact Joey Gilbert Law​. Call (775) 574-4774

Categories: Criminal Defense
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