'Wrongful' Acquittals and 'Unduly Lenient' Sentences-Misconceived Problems that Provoke Unjust Solutions

Michael Tonry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPrinciples and Values in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honour of Andrew Ashworth
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191742293
ISBN (Print)9780199696796
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 16 2012

Keywords

  • Moral luck
  • Sentencing theory
  • Unduly lenient sentences
  • Wrongful acquittals

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    Tonry, M. (2012). 'Wrongful' Acquittals and 'Unduly Lenient' Sentences-Misconceived Problems that Provoke Unjust Solutions. In Principles and Values in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice: Essays in Honour of Andrew Ashworth Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199696796.003.0018