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Not-So-Blissful Ignorance - Informing Jurors About Punishment in Mandatory Sentencing Cases

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 20 Issue: 3 Dated: (Winter 1983) Pages: 343-392
Date Published
50 pages
Mandatory sentencing schemes have been established in response to a demand for strict and certain measures to control crime.
In this article, Professor Heumann and Lance Cassak present data which suggest that juries may be unwilling to convict, regardless of the prosecutor's having proved his case beyond a reasonable doubt, if they know such a sentence will inevitably be imposed. Although mandatory sentence statutes are often well-publicized to maximize their deterrent effect, defendants whose juries happen to be ignorant of the mandatory sentence may consequently be adversely affected. This disparate impact caused by disparate levels of juror knowledge leads the authors to offer due process and equal protection arguments that jurors be notified at some stage of the proceeding that a mandatory penalty will be imposed if the defendant is convicted. (Publisher abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 1983