In the sentencing phase of a utah man who shot and

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In the sentencing phase of a Utah man who shot and paralyzed a man during an avoidable argument, presiding Judge Mark Kouris told the defendant that he just wanted him to apologize and was concerned that he had not done so. He stated, “You have chained him to that chair for the rest of his life and you show no sympathy. I can’t wrap my head around that”. Kouris explained that his lack of remorse left him no option but to impose the maximum sentence allowed (Morgan, 2010). The implication was clear: had the defendant shown remorse or apologized to the victim, his sentence would have been lighter. A prosecutor will weigh all of these factors. For Hopkins, a prosecutor may feel that a sentence of 25 years to life would be beneficial. It would offer a sense of leniency in light of his aid and remorse, while still providing the justice that the victims and their families deserve. It is still a harsh sentence as there is no guarantee that parole will ever be granted. In fact, the opposite is most likely to be true. The State of Utah operates indeterminate sentencing structures for a set time range. There is a minimum and a maximum range to sentence time frames. What makes Utah especially unique is that their Constitution gives power to its Board of Pardons and Parole to determine exactly what that time frame is that the defendant will spend behind bars. The Board is a five member panel that is appointed by the governor. They are part of the
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Executive Branch, yet they are a separate, independent agency. Any state parole board can deny parole to an inmate when they come before them. In Utah, the Board can deny parole Running Head: SENTENCE RECOMMENDATION 5 completely- ever. They can, and oftentimes do, effectively turn 25 years to life sentences into life without parole sentences (State of Utah, 2017). The Board has complete autonomy over the length of time the inmate serves. Studies have shown that these “up to life” sentences in Utah almost overwhelmingly turn into a life sentence. The Sentencing Project found that as of 2013, there were 105 first degree felony inmates serving life sentences in Utah. There were another 1,943 first degree felony inmates serving “up to life” sentences.
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