Re-Balancing Fitness, Fairness, and Finality for Sentences

28 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014  

Douglas A. Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: May 2, 2014

Abstract

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

Berman, Douglas A., Re-Balancing Fitness, Fairness, and Finality for Sentences (May 2, 2014). Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 243. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2432092 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2432092

Douglas A. Berman (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Street
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-688-8690 (Phone)

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