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The term sentence in
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
refers to
punishment Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an —in contexts ranging from to —as a response and deterrent to a particular action or that is deemed undesirable or unacceptab ...

punishment
that was actually ordered or could be ordered by a
trial court A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the adminis ...
in a
criminal procedure Criminal procedure is the adjudication Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbitration, arbiter or judge reviews evidence (law), evidence and argumentation, including legal reasoning set forth by opposing parties or litigants, to come ...
. A sentence forms the final explicit act of a
judge A judge is a person who wiktionary:preside, presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a Judicial panel, panel of judges. A judge hears all the witnesses and any other Evidence (law), evidence presented by the barristers or s ...

judge
-ruled process as well as the symbolic principal act connected to their function. The sentence can generally involve a decree of
imprisonment Imprisonment (from , via French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily lo ...
, a
fine Fine may refer to: Characters * Sylvia Fine (''The Nanny''), Fran's mother on ''The Nanny'' * Fine/Officer Fine, character in Tales from the Crypt, played by Vincent Spano Vincent M. Spano (born October 18, 1962) is an American film, stage and ...
, and/or punishments against a
defendant In court proceedings, a defendant is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic by Logical consequence, drawing conclu ...
convicted In law, a conviction is the verdict that usually results when a court of law A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally ...
of a
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper ...

crime
. Those imprisoned for multiple crimes usually serve a concurrent sentence in which the period of imprisonment equals the length of the longest sentence where the sentences are all served together at the same time, while others serve a consecutive sentence in which the period of imprisonment equals the sum of all the sentences served sequentially, or one after the other. Additional sentences include intermediate, which allows an inmate to be free for about 8 hours a day for work purposes; determinate, which is fixed on a number of days, months, or years; and indeterminate or bifurcated, which mandates the minimum period be served in an institutional setting such as a
prison A prison, also known as a jail or gaol (dated, English language in England, standard English, Australian English, Australian, and Huron Historic Gaol, historically in Canada), penitentiary (American English and Canadian English), detention ...

prison
followed by street time period of
parole Parole is the early release of a prisoner who agrees to abide by certain conditions, originating from the French word ''parole'' ("speech, spoken words" but also "promise"). The term became associated during the Middle Ages with the release of ...

parole
, supervised release or
probation Probation in criminal law Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It proscribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and co ...
until the total sentence is completed. If a sentence is reduced to a less harsh punishment, then the sentence is said to have been mitigated or commuted. Rarely depending on circumstances,
murder Murder is the of another without or valid , especially the unlawful killing of another human with . ("The killing of another person without justification or excuse, especially the crime of killing a person with malice aforethought or with ...

murder
charges are mitigated and reduced to
manslaughter Manslaughter is a common law legal term for homicide considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is sometimes said to have first been made by the ancient Athenian lawmaker Draco in the 7th ...
charges. However, in certain legal systems, a defendant may be punished beyond the terms of the sentence
social stigma Social stigma is the disapproval of, or discrimination against, an individual or group based on perceivable social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of a society. Social stigmas are commonly related to culture, ge ...
, loss of governmental benefits, or collectively, the
collateral consequences of criminal charges Collateral consequences of criminal conviction are the additional civil state penalties, mandated by statute, that attach to criminal convictions. They are not part of the direct consequences of criminal conviction, such as prison, Fine (penalty), ...
.
Statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare Public po ...

Statute
s generally specify the highest penalties that may be imposed for certain offenses, and
sentencing guidelines Sentencing guidelines are non-binding guidelines that inform sentencing in law. By contrast, mandatory sentencing sets legal parameters, typically minimums, for sentences. In the United States federal courts The federal judiciary of the Unite ...
often mandate the minimum and maximum imprisonment terms to imposed upon an offender, which is then left to the
discretion Discretion has the meaning of acting on one's own authority and judgment. In law, discretion as to legal rulings, such as whether evidence is excluded at a trial, may be exercised by a judge. Some view discretion negatively, while some view it po ...
of the trial court.See, e.g., ''United States v. Valencia-Mendoza'', ___ F.3d ___, ___
No. 17-30158
p.20-21 & n.4 (9th Cir. Jan. 10, 2019) (stating that courts of appeals "have held that, when determining whether a
tate File:Tate-logo.png, The former logo was designed by Wolff Olins in 2000 and used in several similar versions and colours. Tate is an institution that houses, in a network of four art galleries, the United Kingdom's national collection of Briti ...

tate
offense is 'punishable' by more than one year in prison, the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...

Supreme Court
's recent cases require an examination of the maximum sentence possible under the state's
mandatory sentencing Mandatory sentencing requires that offenders serve a predefined term for certain crimes, commonly serious and violent offenses. Judges are bound by law; these sentences are produced through the legislature A legislature is a deliberative assem ...
guidelines."); see also ''Matter of Cota''
23 I&N Dec. 849
852 ( BIA 2005).
However, in some jurisdictions, prosecutors have great influence over the punishments actually handed down, by virtue of their discretion to decide what offenses to charge the offender with and what facts they will seek to prove or to ask the defendant to stipulate to in a
plea agreement A plea bargain (also plea agreement or plea deal) is an agreement in criminal law proceedings, whereby the prosecutor A prosecutor is a legal representative of the prosecution in states with either the common law In law, common law (also known ...
. It has been argued that legislators have an incentive to enact tougher sentences than even they would like to see applied to the typical defendant since they recognize that the blame for an inadequate sentencing range to handle a particularly egregious crime would fall upon legislators, but the blame for excessive punishments would fall upon prosecutors. Sentencing law sometimes includes cliffs that result in much stiffer penalties when certain facts apply. For instance, an
armed career criminalThe Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984 (ACCA) is a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It co ...
or
habitual offender A habitual offender, repeat offender, or career criminal, is a person convicted of a crime who was previously convicted of crimes. Various State (polity), state and jurisdictions may have laws targeting habitual offenders, and specifically providin ...
law may subject a defendant to a significant increase in his sentence if he commits a third offence of a certain kind. This makes it difficult for fine gradations in punishments to be achieved.


History

The first use of this word with this meaning was in
Roman law Roman law is the system of , including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of , from the (c. 449 BC), to the ' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor . Roman law forms the basic framework for , the most widely used legal s ...
, where it indicated the opinion of a
jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessarily with a formal qualification in law or a lawyer, legal practitioner, although in the U ...
on a given question, expressed in written or in oral ''responsa''. It was also the opinion of senators that was translated into the ''senatus consultus''. It finally was also the decision of the judging organ both in civil and in penal trials, as well as the decision of the ''Arbiters'' in
arbitration upright=1.5, The London Court of International Arbitration Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution Alternative dispute resolution (ADR), or external dispute resolution (EDR), typically denotes a wide range of dispute resolu ...
. In modern Latin systems, the sentence is mainly the final act of any procedure in which a judge, or more generally an organ is called to express his evaluation, therefore it can be issued practically in any field of law requiring a function of evaluation of something by an organ.


Classification

Sentences are variously classified depending on *the legal field, or kind of action, or system it refers to: **civil, penal, administrative, canon, sentence. **sentences of mere clearance, of condemnation, of constitution. *the issuing organ typically a monocratic judge or a court, or other figures that receive a legitimation by the system. *the jurisdiction and the legal competence single judges, courts, tribunals, appeals, supreme courts, constitutional courts, meant as the various degrees of judgement and appeal. *the content: **partial, cautelar, interlocutory, preliminar ''sententia instructoria'', definitive sentences. **sentence of ''absolutio'' discharge or ''condemnatio'' briefly ''damnatio'', also for other meanings condemnation. The sentences of condemnation are also classified by the penalty they determine: ***sentence of reclusion, ***sentence of fee, ***''sententia agendi'', sentence that impose a determined action or a series of action as a penalty for the illegal act. This kind of sentence became better developed and remained in wider use in
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or ) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ' is the most-used legal dictionary used among legal profe ...
systems.


Philosophies

The sentence meted out depends on the philosophical principle used by the court and what the legal system regards as the purpose of punishment. The most common purposes of sentencing are: *
Retribution Retribution may refer to: * Punishment * Retributive justice, a theory of justice ** Divine retribution, retributive justice in a religious context * Revenge, a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance Film and televisi ...
* Deterrence of the individual or of others *
Denunciation Denunciation (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...
* Incapacitation *
Rehabilitation Rehabilitation or Rehab may refer to: Health * Rehabilitation (neuropsychology), therapy to regain or improve neurocognitive function that has been lost or diminished * Rehabilitation (wildlife), treatment of injured wildlife so they can be returne ...
* Reparation In England and Wales, section 142 of the
Criminal Justice Act 2003 The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c. 44) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is a wide-ranging measure introduced to modernise many areas of the criminal justice system in England and Wales and, to a lesser exten ...
has specified that in cases involving those over 18, courts should have regard to punishment of the offenders retribution, deterrence, reform and rehabilitation, protection of the public, and reparation to persons affected by their offences.


Process

Usually, the sentence comes after a process in which the deciding organ is put in condition to evaluate whether the analysed conduct complies or not with the
legal system The contemporary national legal systems are generally based on one of four basic systems A system is a group of interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influ ...
s, and eventually which aspects of the conduct might regard which laws. Depending on respective systems, the phases that precede the sentence may vary relevantly and the sentence can be resisted by both parties up to a given degree of
appeal In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described ...
. The sentence issued by the
appellate court An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the Eng ...
of highest admitted degree immediately becomes the definitive sentence, as well as the sentence issued in minor degrees that is not resisted by the condemned or by the accusator or is not resisted within a given time. The sentence usually has to be rendered of public domain ''publicatio'', and in most systems, it has to be accompanied by the reasons for its content a sort of story of the juridical reflections and evaluations that the judging organ used to produce it. A sentence even a definitive one can be annulled in some given cases, which many systems usually pre-determine. The most frequent case is related to irregularities found ''ex-post'' in the procedure. The most ''éclatant'' is perhaps in penal cases, when a relevant often discharging proof is discovered after the definitive sentence. In most systems, the definitive sentence is unique, in the precise sense that no one can be judged more than once for the same action apart, obviously, from appeal resistance. Sentences are in many systems a source of law, as an authoritative interpretation of the law in front of concrete cases, thus quite as an extension of the ordinary formal documental system. The sentence is typically determined by a judge and/or jury and issued in the name of or on the behalf of the superior authority of the
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
.


See also

*
Criminal costs Criminal costs are financial penalties awarded against convicted criminals, in addition to the sentence (law), sentence they receive, in recognition of the costs of the court in bringing the prosecution. England and Wales A Magistrates' court (Engl ...
*
Criminal sentencing in Canada In Canada, the criminal law is governed by the Criminal Code (Canada), Criminal Code, a federal statute. The Criminal Code includes the principles and powers in relation to criminal sentences. A judge sentences a person after they have been foun ...
* Criminal sentencing in the United States *
English criminal law English criminal law concerns Offence (law), offences, their prevention and the consequences, in England and Wales. Criminal conduct is considered to be a wrong against the whole of a community, rather than just the private individuals affected. ...
*
Incapacitation (penology) Incapacitation in the context of criminal sentencing philosophy is one of the functions of punishment The old village stocks in Chapeltown, Lancashire, England Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or suffering, unpleasant ...
* Sentencing disparity * Sentencing in England and Wales *
Judgment (law) In law, a judgment, also spelled judgement, is a decision of a court regarding the rights and liabilities of parties in a legal action or proceeding. Judgments also generally provide the court's explanation of why it has chosen to make a particular ...
*
Sentencing guidelines Sentencing guidelines are non-binding guidelines that inform sentencing in law. By contrast, mandatory sentencing sets legal parameters, typically minimums, for sentences. In the United States federal courts The federal judiciary of the Unite ...


References


External links


Sentencing (Directgov, England and Wales)
{{DEFAULTSORT:Sentence (Law)