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Our discussion of The Scarlet Letter will ask what is punishment and what kinds of punishment are just. In this paper assignment, you will decide for yourself whether a particular type of punishment is fair, given the following circumstances. You are a trial court judge who has just presided over a criminal jury trial. The jury voted unanimously to convict the defendant, Michael Brown, of shoplifting expensive electronics on three different occasions. You now have sole responsibility for sentencing Brown. The applicable sentencing guidelines suggest that you sentence Brown to two years of probation, rather than imprisonment ,because Brown has no criminal rec ord. The guidelines state that the purposes of probation are as follows: (1) retribution; (2) rehabilitation; (3) deterrence ; and (4) public protection . In addition to the normal conditions of probation (maintaining contact with a probation officer, not leaving the state without permission, regular drug tests, etc.), t he guidelines include a “catch all provision” that allows the court to impose any other condition on probation that the court ,in its discretion, believes is just, as long as this condition is “reasonable.” The prosecutor has asked you to impose a condition that Brown be required to wear a shirt that says in big, bold letters “CONVICTED SHOPLIFTER” any time he sets foot in a retail store during the term of his probation. The defense has opposed this request. In an opinion, evaluate the pros and cons of imposing this requirement. Consider the purposes of punishment and whether you believe this probation condition satisfies those purposes and ultimately serves justice. In doing so, you should draw on (with appropriate citations) The Scarlet Letter and the court cases we have read ,as well as our class discussions . (You may cite the court cases simply with the excerpt’s page number –for example, Goldschmitt v. State 2 .) No additional research is required for this assignment. If you do choose to reference outside sources, please cite them appropriately. Make sure to place quotation marks around others’ words and cite any ideas that are not your own. Your “opinion” should be double spaced in a 12 point font with 1 inch margins and include page numbers.
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