ARTICLE: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, LEGITIMACY, AND THE ETHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF JUDGMENT: IMPORTING THE PROCEDURAL JUSTICE MODEL TO FEDERAL SENTENCING JURISPRUDENCE Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2006 Columbia Human Rights Law Review
Columbia Human Rights Law Review

ARTICLE: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, LEGITIMACY, AND THE ETHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF JUDGMENT: IMPORTING THE PROCEDURAL JUSTICE MODEL TO FEDERAL SENTENCING JURISPRUDENCE

Fall, 2006

38 Colum. Human Rights L. Rev. 115

Author

Adam Lamparello*

Excerpt

I. Introduction
 
The manner in which we judge transgressors of our criminal law and justify the institutions responsible for imposing punishment directly reflect core value judgments regarding the circumstances warranting deprivation of an individual's fundamental right to liberty. Both the procedures and outcomes of judgment are underwritten by core precepts regarding what is "right" or "wrong," "good" or "evil," and what is "justifiable" as opposed to that which is "culpable." 2 In modernity, the moral basis for criminal laws is understood as being deterrence, rehabilitation, retribution, and/or incapacitation-based. Indeed, these grounds are reflected in various policy predilections for using certain punishments for particular offenses. 3 The central premises of this Article are that the fundamental moral question of "why we punish" must be better addressed by the courts in order to create a more legitimate penal system, and that these questions can only be addressed through the adoption of a procedurally-based sentencing structure that emphasizes the individual circumstances of each offender rather than merely the offense. The benefits of a sentencing jurisprudence that focuses on fair procedure rather than outcome-certainty are not only the facilitation of the principled evolution of sentencing law, but also the engendering of positive valuations by participants in the sentencing hearing, i.e., judge, prosecution, and defense, thus legitimizing the institutions of judgment and punishment, and potentially reducing the risk of recidivism and criminal behavior as well.

By their very nature, judgment and punishment are predicated upon moral imperatives, and it ...
 
 
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