Are judges given too much discretion when it comes to sentencing?

Judicial discretion refers to making a judgment or decision without a fixed rule. The discretion allows the judge to make a determination on what is fair and just under the circumstances. Do they have too much discretion? It is both yes and no. The goal of judicial discretion is to promote a fair and due process and to ensure that defendants facing exigent circumstances can have a fair chance, a fair sentence, and to have their case individually tried and not be subject to being grouped into a category.  It allows the judge to consider the defendant’s circumstances and make an independent decision on his/her fate. The No part of the response refers to the fact that it can be abused and used unconstitutionally. A judge has room to be bias and bring their personal feelings in to the case as well. There may be inconsistencies amongst judges in different states. When there is wiggle room in judicial proceedings, discretion can create a negative or positive impact for a defendant. Discretion is good when a law has a gray area. (Zonay, 2015).

What are some of the factors a judge looks at when determining an appropriate sentence? A judge considers the following factors when sentencing: does the punishment fit the crime and the offender.  (LSTD400 | Lesson 7, APU). When sentencing, the judge will also look at the length of the sentence (minimum or maximum sentence), criminal past, involvement in the crime, the mental state of the defendant at the time of the crime, the outcome of the victim, etc. (Nolo, n.d).

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