D, a 24 year old with an already long criminal record, was convicted of stealing mail.
The judge sentenced him to the lower range of the Sentencing Reform Act. As a condition of supervised release, D was required to perform 100 hours of community service, 8 hours of which must include wearing a sign in front of a post office stating that D stole mail.
Trial court amended the sentence to include only 8 hours of "shaming."
9th Cir COA affirmed, sentence legitimate.
Is requiring a convicted person to wear a sign in public stating his crime reasonably related to the legitimate statutory objective of rehabilitation so as to render it proper under the Sentencing Reform Act?
Requiring a convicted person to wear a sign in public stating his crime is reasonably related to the legitimate statutory objective of rehabilitation so as to render it proper under the Sentencing Reform Act.
The trial judge outlined a sensible logic underlying its conclusion that a set of conditions, including the shaming, would better promote D's rehabilitation than a longer jail sentence.
Criminal offenses and their punishment always induce shame and embarrassment.
While the shaming is crude, it is coupled with more socially useful provisions, including lecturing to students and writing letters of apology.
The shaming punishment is only meant to humiliate D, not to rehabilitate him or deter him from future crime.
This cheapens the criminal justice system.
There is a split in courts and scholars about whether shaming sanctions are a proper form of punishment.