Curriculum Guide · Courses
Sentencing and Pre-Trial Detention: Law and Policy
Professor Craig Iscoe
J.D. Seminar 1085 | 3 credit hours
This two credit seminar (three credits for students who are satisfying the upper class writing requirement) will focus on the legal and policy issues related to the sentencing and pre-trial detention of defendants in state and federal courts. The course will address philosophical approaches to detention, incarceration, and other punishment, and how those theories have been implemented under determinate and indeterminate sentencing schemes. Students will study the structure, goals, and application of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and contrast them with state guidelines and non-guidelines systems. Students will also explore unique issues related to capital punishment. In addition, the course will address the roles and influence of prosecutors, defense counsel, probation officers, victims, and other non-judicial actors in sentencing decisions, and how whether a judge or a jury imposes sentence affects the sentence. The course will also address the collateral consequences of sentencing. The class will examine monetary (bail) and non-monetary detention schemes, and the differing factors considered in detention and sentencing decisions. In addition, the class will examine the impact of race, gender, class, and related factors on detention and sentencing. Finally, the course will address alternatives to incarceration, therapeutic courts, and community-based sanctions. The course will be taught as a seminar, but will not conducted solely in a lecture format and there will be a strong emphasis on class discussion. In addition, during many classes students will be assigned role-playing exercises that are intended to help students better understand sentencing issues and the operation of federal and state guidelines systems. Students will also complete exercises in which they will review background information and sentencing recommendations for a defendant and then impose a sentence. There will also be guest speakers representing a range of backgrounds and viewpoints.
Prerequisite: Criminal Justice (or the equivalent Democracy and Coercion) or Criminal Procedure. Recommended: Criminal Law.
Students may not receive credit for this seminar and Sentencing Law and Policy.
This course will be enrolled via waitlist.