Posted: February 28th, 2023

Respond to Mike Post

 In my opinion, I think judges should not be allowed discretion in sentencing while serving their duty in court. one person should not decide the verdict which will have heavy implications on someone’s livelihood. Judges are one of the most respectable and knowledgeable people in the quart room, and I believe they should hold a significant amount of power or “pull” per say. On the other hand, it is absolutely paramount that we don’t leave the decision of a court case to a singular person.

The strengths of limiting judicial discretion are as follows. Being able to limit discretion for judges leads to a sort of “checks and balances “in the courtroom. If we were to welcome the idea of complete judicial discretion in “Situational considerations, its misuse can adversely impact the court’s authority and good reputation.” (Zonay 2015)  As we see in our legislative government, bouncing out the power is crucial for a fair and cooperative system. Instead of letting a single judge decide a court case, with potentially dire implications, we must allow the judge to collaborate with the jury, and other selected professionals in order to bring Justice to a case. When all of these people work together, it creates a sense of unity, and positively leads us to reaching common goal. 

In my opinion, I believe that they required oversight of judges by the sentencing guidelines, are a “must” in order to limit the judicial discretion. Required oversight, like “Statutory limits, mandatory sentences, presumptive sentencing, and sentencing guidelines.” (Frederick 1984) are able to eliminate the one person decision and create the aforementioned checks and balance system that I suggested. The sentencing guidelines don’t need to be earth shattering, but it is clear that we need them set in place. Not only worth the actual verdict, but the potential of sentencing guidelines “Makes judges accountable for individual sentence length decisions.” (Frederick 1984). In conclusion, when we eliminate judicial discretion, we not only ensure fair trials, but also quicker and more reasonable decisions are made.

 B C Frederick,  E T Guider,   V D Manti.(1984). Effects of limiting discretion in sentencing. Effects of Limiting Discretion in Sentencing | Office of Justice Programs. Retrieved February 14, 2023, from


Judge Thomas A. Zonay is the presiding judge of the superior court in Rutland. (2020, February 10). Judicial discretion in sentencing. The National Judicial College. Retrieved February 14, 2023, from

Judicial Discretion: 10 Guidelines for Its Use

In your response to your peers, consider how well they justified their position, making use of available resources. Consider the following questions in your response posts:

  • Did they support their position convincingly using appropriate resources?
  • Which of their points make the most sense to you, even if you made your case for the opposing viewpoint?

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