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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1141522
 
 

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Why are Only Bad Acts Good Sentencing Factors?


Carissa Byrne Hessick


University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law


Boston University Law Review, Vol. 88, 2008
University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 38

Abstract:     
Few pieces of information play a larger role in determining a criminal offender's sentence than her prior criminal history. The notion that an offender's prior bad acts ought to be considered an aggravating sentencing factor enjoys near-universal acceptance. But fewer jurisdictions appear to consider an offender's prior good acts (such as honorable military service or charitable works) as a mitigating factor at sentencing. This Article discusses the potential relationship between aggravating and mitigating sentencing factors. It also explores whether, in light of the overwhelming consensus that a prior bad act is aggravating, there is a principled reason that a sentencing system could fail to treat a prior good act as mitigating.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 69

Keywords: punishment, sentencing, recidivism, good works, veterans, mitigation, aggravation

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Date posted: June 10, 2008 ; Last revised: August 8, 2013

Suggested Citation

Hessick, Carissa Byrne, Why are Only Bad Acts Good Sentencing Factors?. Boston University Law Review, Vol. 88, 2008; University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 38. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1141522

Contact Information

Carissa Byrne Hessick (Contact Author)
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )
332 S. 1400 East Front
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
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