Sentencing Proposal: Wk 5 – Signature Assignment

Sentencing Proposal: Wk 5 – Signature Assignment: After a defendant receives a guilty verdict, there is more work to be done. This assignment allows you to explore sentencing options as you continue to think about the case your learning team worked on in Week 3…

Sentencing Proposal: Wk 5 – Signature Assignment

Assignment Content

After a defendant receives a guilty verdict, there is more work to be done. This assignment allows you to explore sentencing options as you continue to think about the case your learning team worked on in Week 3. 

Read the ruling carefully and return to the case specifics in Week 3 if you need a refresher. 

Refer to How Courts Work: Steps in a Trial: Plea Bargaining from the American Bar Association website as you work on this assignment. The ruling for State v. Stu Dents is in and the defendant, your law firm’s client, was found guilty. As a paralegal, your task now is to help the attorney consider the sentencing options for the client and determine what to propose to the court. 

Read the Ruling on State v. Stu Dents. Use this information as the basis for your sentencing proposal. 

Write a 1,050- to the 1,400-word sentencing proposal in which you address the following:

  1. Formulate 2 distinct sentencing arguments.
  2. Identify the desired outcome of each punishment. Is a plea bargain a consideration? If so, what is that desired outcome?
  3. Identify alternative and intermediate sanctions.
  4. Explain how the Eighth Amendment influences the outcomes of this case. Format your paper according to APA guidelines.

Sentencing Proposal
In the case of State v. Stu dents, the defendant was charged with assault, murder, kidnapping and, drug-related charges, which were later dropped. The victim’s body was discovered five miles from her house. The victim had a previous criminal record; however, she had been in rehabilitation before she was found dead. Preliminary investigation revealed that the victim’s body was free of any drugs, thereby ruling out the possibility of a drug-related death. Skin particles belonging to the defendant were under the victim’s fingernails, indicating struggle hence incriminating the defendant. The defendant possessed a ring belonging to the victim that the victim was seen wearing the day before her disappearance. Upon arrest, the defendant struck the arresting police officer (Louis, 2019). The jury found the defendant guilty of the crimes charged and proceeded to the sentencing.
The United States code 18 U.S. § 1111 states that homicide is intentional and unlawfully killing of a person with malice aforethought. The punishment for a person guilty of committing first-degree murder is life imprisonment. However, Texas State recognizes homicide as capital murder, where a person criminally liable for the offense is punished by death (Penal Code, 2003). For homicide, the jury found the defendant guilty. The defendant stabbed the victim thirteen times, which indicated malice aforethought. The murder was first degree because of the severity of the murder. The victim had a cloth stuffed into her mouth and her hands tied behind her back. The defendant premeditated the murder, and the act of stabbing the victim thirteen times indicated malice aforethought.

Sentencing arguments
Death Penalty
The defendant committed grave crimes that ended the victim’s life. The crime committed was brutal, indicating a lack of empathy and remorse on the part of the defendant. The death penalty befits the crime that the defendant is convicted of. The death penalty is the ultimate punishment for crimes resulting in loss of life and crimes perpetrated against humanity. Some people feel that an eye for an eye serves justice for the victims of crimes like murder. However, some oppose the death penalty as a punishment (Sethuraju et al., 2016). Morality, where life is considered sacred, and no person should end another’s life, is one of the reasons against the death penalty. The Constitutional, as the Supreme law under the Bill of Rights, prohibits the death penalty as it contravenes a person’s right to life, the crime committed notwithstanding. Those opposing the death penalty argue that there are other purposes of incarceration, such as retribution and rehabilitation that should be fully explored as opposed to execution.
Life in Prison
Life in prison can be an option where the death penalty seems severe and inhumane punishment. The defendant committed heinous crimes, and the probable punishment is the death penalty. The death penalty would serve as a deterrent to those who are tempted to commit the same crimes and give the victim’s family a sense that justice has prevailed. An alternative to the death penalty is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Some people feel that life in prison for those convicted of first-degree murder does not get due punishment. Most people feel that from an eye to an eye perspective, justice would have prevailed.
Moreover, life in prison for such convicts means it costs more money to keep convicts for life, yet they have to be taken care of by taxpayers. The taxpayers do not see the economic sense of keeping a person in jail for life where they are not productive. However, it is cost- consuming to keep convicts for long in prison awaiting execution due to the lengthy process the cases go through before execution.
Desired Outcomes
The desired outcome of the death penalty is mostly deterrence and justice for the victims of serious crimes like murder. For the defendants, most times, they are considered guilty until proven innocent, which should not be the case. Additionally, other defendants get acquitted due to a lack of sufficient evidence since the burden of proof lies with the prosecution (Mbah et al., 2019). The desired outcome of life imprisonment is deterrence and rehabilitation of the convicts. The punishment ensures that the convict spends their entire life in prison without parole. Imprisonment seeks to deprive the convict of their freedom for the rest of their life. While the death sentence provides the convict with an exit plan from the prison through death, life imprisonment makes them suffer for the rest of their lives as a consequence of the crime committed.
Plea Bargain
A plea bargain can be considered since the defendant is found guilty of assaulting a police officer. The desired outcome is accepting responsibility for causing bodily harm to the police officer, and compensation should be considered. Most criminal cases are resolved through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms or out of court settlement. Plea bargaining is the process of settling disputes out of court and often employed by most jurisdictions to settle criminal cases. Plea bargaining helps both the courts and the litigants in many ways. Trials can be lengthy, and plea bargaining helps both the prosecution and defendants to reduce time consumed during trials. The defendants avoid the cost, risk of harsher punishment, and the publicity involved in court sessions during the trial. After the defendant gets a guilty verdict, the process of sentencing commences. There are various sentencing options available for the defendant after the guilty verdict.
Intermediate and Alternative Sanctions
Intermediate sanctions involve less restrictive sentences but restrictive than parole and are issued by a judge. In the United States of America, there are non-incarceration sanctions that include electronic monitoring, boot camp, and intensive supervision. The non- incarceration sanctions are to decongest the prisons and reduce costs (Homant, 2013). Alternative sanctions involve fines and restitution for victims of violent crimes. The defendant’s sentencing should include an alternative sanction of fines and restitution for the victim’s family.

Sentencing Proposal

Eighth Amendment
The Eighth Amendment to the U.S Constitution provides against the imposing of excessive fines, exorbitant bail terms, and administering cruel and unusual punishment. The controversy lies in the cruel and unusual aspect of punishment since some might argue that the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment. Other modern methods of punishment, including solitary confinement, may be deemed barbaric and violate the Eighth Amendment. The defendant may argue that the death penalty is cruel, hence contravenes his Constitutional right. The outcome of this case might be influenced by this argument and secure a life imprisonment sentence for the defendant.

Homant, R. (2013). Intermediate Sanctions. The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 1-5.
Louis. (2019). State v Stu Dents Kidnapping | Eddusaver. Eddusaver. Retrieved 11 September 2020, from
Mbah, R., Pruitt, T., & Wasum, F. (2019). Cruel Choice: The Ethics and Morality of the Death Penalty. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences.
Ormerod, D., & Laird, K. (2018). Smith, Hogan, & Ormerod’s Criminal Law. Law Trove.
Sethuraju, R., Sole, J., & Oliver, B. (2016). Understanding Death Penalty Support and Opposition among Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Students. SAGE Open, 6(1), 215824401562495.
Stevenson, B., & Stinneford, J. Interpretation: The Eighth Amendment | the National Constitution Center. Retrieved 11 September 2020, from

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