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Principles and Values in Criminal Law and Criminal JusticeEssays in Honour of Andrew Ashworth$
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Lucia Zedner and Julian V. Roberts

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199696796

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199696796.001.0001

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‘Wrongful’ Acquittals and ‘Unduly Lenient’ Sentences—Misconceived Problems that Provoke Unjust Solutions

‘Wrongful’ Acquittals and ‘Unduly Lenient’ Sentences—Misconceived Problems that Provoke Unjust Solutions

Chapter:
(p.307) 18 ‘Wrongful’ Acquittals and ‘Unduly Lenient’ Sentences—Misconceived Problems that Provoke Unjust Solutions
Source:
Principles and Values in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
Author(s):

Michael Tonry

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199696796.003.0018

This chapter addresses an oddly neglected but equally important question in sentencing theory, namely why the wealth of attention rightly given to wrongful convictions has not also been awarded to wrongful acquittals and unduly lenient sentences? The first section provides a recitative of recent developments in England and Wales and the United States concerning ‘wrongful acquittals’ and ‘unduly lenient sentences’. The second section dips shallowly into the literature on moral luck to see whether it offers insight. The third section presents a series of arguments concerning why wrongful acquittals and unduly lenient sentences should be allowed to rest where they fall, why policies should not be adopted to remedy them, and why conventional arguments in favour of remedies are unpersuasive.

Keywords:   sentencing theory, wrongful acquittals, unduly lenient sentences, moral luck

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