Murder is often regarded as both the 'ultimate' and a unique crime, and whereas courts are normally given discretion in sentencing offenders, for murder the sentence is mandatory – indeterminate imprisonment. Since the crime and the punishment come as a 'package deal' this book looks at both the legal nature of the offence and at the current operation of the mandatory life sentence. Not only does the book adopt a critical approach, by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the status quo, it also draws upon comparative material from both common and civil law jurisdictions in an attempt to provide a comprehensive exploration of these issues. The need for public confidence in the criminal justice system is particularly acute in the way it deals with the most serious homicides. In this book the authors report findings from the first systematic exploration of public attitudes to sentencing murder in this or any other common law jurisdiction. The picture of public opinion emerging from this recent large-scale nationwide qualitative and quantitative survey, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, is likely to surprise many, and will be of interest to all jurisdictions where the mandatory life sentence for murder has been questioned.
Historically, at English common law, the death penalty was mandatory for the crime of murder and other violent felonies. Over the last three decades, however, many former British colonies have reformed their capital punishment regimes to permit judicial sentencing discretion, including consideration of mitigating factors. Applying a comparative analysis to the law of capital punishment, Novak examines the constitutional jurisprudence and resulting legislative reform in the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, focusing on the rapid retreat of the mandatory death penalty in the Commonwealth over the last thirty years. The coordinated mandatory death penalty challenges - which have had the consequence of greatly reducing the world’s death row population - represent a case study of how a small group of lawyers can sponsor human rights litigation that incorporates international human rights law into domestic constitutional jurisprudence, ultimately harmonizing criminal justice regimes across borders. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the study and development of human rights and capital punishment, as well as those exploring the contours of comparative criminal justice.
The fifth edition of this highly praised study charts and explains the progress that continues to be made towards the goal of worldwide abolition of the death penalty. The majority of nations have now abolished the death penalty and the number of executions has dropped in almost all countries where abolition has not yet taken place. Emphasising the impact of international human rights principles and evidence of abuse, the authors examine how this has fuelled challenges to the death penalty and they analyse and appraise the likely obstacles, political and cultural, to further abolition. They discuss the cruel realities of the death penalty and the failure of international standards always to ensure fair trials and to avoid arbitrariness, discrimination and conviction of the innocent: all violations of the right to life. They provide further evidence of the lack of a general deterrent effect; shed new light on the influence and limits of public opinion; and argue that substituting for the death penalty life imprisonment without parole raises many similar human rights concerns. This edition provides a strong intellectual and evidential basis for regarding capital punishment as undeniably cruel, inhuman and degrading. Widely relied upon and fully updated to reflect the current state of affairs worldwide, this is an invaluable resource for all those who study the death penalty and work towards its removal as an international goal.
The politics of criminal sentencing has recently crystallised around the issue of whether and how a system of structured sentencing should inform judicial approaches to punishing criminals. Increasingly, structured sentencing guidelines are being introduce to frame judicial discretion. This volume is the first to examine the experience in England and Wales in the light of international developments. This collection of essays begins with a clear and concise history of the guidelines as well as a description of how they function. Topics addressed include the effect of guidelines on judicial practice, the role of public opinion in developing sentencing guidelines, the role of the crime victim in sentencing guidelines, and the use of guidelines by practicing barristers. In addition, the international dimension offers a comparative perspective: the English guidelines are explored by leading academics from the United States and New Zealand. Although there is a vast literature on sentencing guidelines across the United States, the English guidelines have attracted almost no attention from scholars. As other jurisdictions look to introduce more structure to sentencing, the English scheme offers a real alternative to current US schemes. Contributors include practicing lawyers, legal and socio-legal academics, and also scholars from several other countries including New Zealand and the United States, providing a multidisciplinary and cross-jurisdictional approach to sentencing. This book will be of interest to academics from law, sociology and criminology, legal practitioners, and indeed anyone else with an interest in sentencing, around the world.
This book provides a leading point of reference in the field of partial defences to murder and with respect to the mental condition defences of loss of control and diminished responsibility in general. The work includes contributions from leading specialists from different jurisdictions. Divided into two parts, the first provides an analysis from the perspective of the UK, looking at particular concerns such as domestic violence, revenge and mixed motive killings, mistaken beliefs. The second part presents a comparative and international view to provide a wider background of how alternative systems treat issues of human frailty short of full insanity (loss of control, diminished responsibility) in the context of the criminal law.
This cross-government report drawn up in close consultation with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and other Cabinet Ministers is seen as an important first analysis of the problem of gangs and the interventions that work. It provides a platform for the intensive support that will need to be provided to the areas most affected. The riots that occurred in London and other parts of England during August 2011, had a gang aspect. In London, one in five of those arrested in connection with the riots were known gang members. Gangs and serious youth violence are seen as the product of high levels of social breakdown and disadvantage. Gangs themselves, create a culture of violence and criminality. The report makes clear that intensive police action is needed to stop the violence and bring perpetrators to justice, but this should be done alongside robust offers of support and an intensive prevention strategy. The proposals are wide-ranging but focus on five specific areas: (i) providing support - to local areas to tackle gang or youth violence; (ii) prevention - stopping young people becoming involved in serious violence; (iii) pathways out - offering exit strategies away from violence and gang culture; (iv) punishment - preventing the violence of those refusing to exit violent lifestyles; (v) partnership working - to join up the way local areas respond to gangs and youth violence.
Law by Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Justice Committee
Author: Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Justice Committee
Publisher: The Stationery Office
Joint enterprise is a form of secondary liability whereby a person who agrees to commit a crime with another becomes liable for all criminal acts committed by the other person (the principal offender) in the course of their joint criminal venture. It is a common law doctrine, which means it has been developed by the courts over the years. Inthis report the Justice Committee find that the law on joint enterprise is so confusing for juries and courts alike that legislation is needed urgently to ensure justice for both victims and defendants and end the high number of cases reaching the Court of Appeal. The MPs also call on the Director of Public Prosecutions to produce guidance for prosecutors on joint enterprise, particularly in cases of gang-related homicide. The Director of Public Prosecutions should collate data on the number of people charged under joint enterprise so that problems with the operation of the law identified by campaigning groups representing both victims and those that say they have been convicted in a miscarriage of justice can be alleviated, if necessary.