Volume 15, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
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Studies on sentencing are dominated by normative studies prescribing how judges should sentence. Few studies examine how judges actually sentence. This study provides an insight into the empirical reality of judges’ sentencing practices by examining their negative (of ) of offenders and their behaviour in six sentencing remarks. It finds that judges are doing more appraisal work when their sentencing decisions are below or much higher than the starting point, but less appraisal work when their sentencing decisions are just a few years above the starting point. Such findings demonstrate that the starting point has a binding power on judges’ sentencing practices despite judges having the discretion to arrive at a sentencing decision of any length (whatever the starting point). Findings of the current study could provide meaningful starting points for future examination of large quantities of sentencing remarks.


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