What is sentence disparity? This term means that the judge does not hand out the same sentence, or the terms of the sentence, when convicting criminals who commit the same crimes. There are numerous factors that assist the judge when they administer a sentence to the offender. Some of these factors include mitigating factors, aggravating factors, and similar cases to the one's that the judge is currently presiding over. "There is an apparent disparity in the sentences awarded for similar crimes committed by similar offenders in similar circumstances."1 Are judges being fair when they are sentencing? Are there any discrepancies in their rulings? Throughout this paper, the reader will gain an awareness of the sentencing decisions and how the judge's reach their decisions.
All the cases being referred to in this paper are second-degree murder cases. The punishment for this type of offence is clearly a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment, which is twenty-five years.
In reviewing these cases, there is without a doubt some disparity when it boils down to the eligibility for parole for the offenders. There are a few cases where the offender has no prior record and their eligibility for parole is after an eighteen year minimum has been served, whereas an offender who has a prior record is eligible for parole at a much earlier date. I find this somewhat confusing, in which I do not understand how the judge's justify these types of cases. I will look at these cases and try to determine how the judge's rationalize their decisions and I will also conclude whether I felt they have made the right decision.
Regina v. Degenhardt, Regina v. Williams, Regina v. Shropshire
With regards to the judges looking at other similar cases when making a decision on the cases they are currently...