Administration of Justice

Read page 343 Think, Discuss, Write. Respond to the prompt below. Provide a well-written, 4-5 page paper that adheres to APA Format. Discussion/ Writing Assignment: Imagine that you were the judge in these two cases. Write a memo describing the sentence that you would impose in each case and the punishment objectives that you would pursue with each case. To what extent do your sentences reflect a concern or prediction about the teenagers’ future lives after they complete their periods of confinement or probation? Page 343: In February 2014, a national controversy arose when Judge Jean Boyd, a state court judge in Texas, imposed a sentence of 10 years of probation on teenager Eric Couch, who as a 16-year-old, killed four people and seriously injured two others when driving while drunk. Couch pleaded guilty to charges of intoxication manslaughter. Prosecutors said Couch drove 70 miles per hour in a zone with a speed limit of 40. His blood alcohol level was three times the state limit of 0.08 when he lost control of his speeding truck and hit people changing a flat tire on the side of the road. One passenger in Couch’s truck suffered severe brain injuries and can longer move or talk.Boyd sentenced Couch to a long period of probation, and his family committed to paying for him to go to an in-patient facility for treatment and counseling. National news reporters focused on the case because a psychologist for the defense supported the case for a lenient sentence by saying that Couch suffered from “affluenza,” a short-hand term for someone who is so wealthy and spoiled that he does not connect his actions with the likelihood of bad consequences. The victims’ families were outraged at the sentence, which was, in their view, too light. They believed that he should be incarcerated for the loss of life caused by his irresponsible actions.By contrast, two years earlier Judge Boyd had imposed a 10-year sentence on a 14-year-old boy who killed another youth with one punch. The death occurred when the victim fell and hit his head on the pavement. In that case, the defen-dant could be paroled after five years or be sent to an adult prison at age 19 to serve the final five years. Critics expressed concern that Boyd had imposed a more severe sentence on the 14-year-old, an African American youth who killed one person, than she did on a wealthy white teen who killed four people and seriously injured others.Does this provide evidence of racial discrimination? Some observers noted that Boyd had sought to emphasize rehabilitation for both boys, but no treatment program would accept the boy who threw the punch. Thus, he ended up in juvenile prison. By contrast, Couch’s parents were so wealthy that they could afford to send him to a treatment facility in California that cost $450,000 per year per patient. In addi-tion, Couch’s bad behavior continued; later, he violated his probation conditions by drinking alcohol, and fled to Mexico with his mother. He was eventually caught and returned to the United States in January 2016.Wealth discrimination? Racial discrimination? Excessive leniency? Excessive emphasis on rehabilitation without proper concern for other objectives of punishment? These cases raise challenging questions about a judge’s responsibilities in sentencing.

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