Re-Balancing Fitness, Fairness, and Finality for Sentences
28 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014
Date Written: May 2, 2014
This Essay examines the issue of “sentence finality” in the hope of encouraging more thorough and reflective consideration of the values and interests served — and not served — by doctrines, policies, and practices that may allow or preclude the review of sentences after they have been deemed final. Drawing on American legal history and modern penal realities, this Essay highlights reasons why sentence finality has only quite recently become an issue of considerable importance. This Essay also suggests that this history combines with modern mass incarceration in the United States to call for policy-makers, executive officials, and judges now to be less concerned about sentence finality, and to be more concerned about punishment fitness and fairness, when new legal developments raise doubts or concerns about lengthy prison sentences.
Keywords: sentencing, finality
JEL Classification: K14, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation