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You Be The Judge

Be your own judge: try your hand at sentencing - Times Online

The launch of an interactive website, You Be the Judge (http://ybtj.cjsonline.gov.uk/) will give the public a chance to pass their own sentences on real cases, working through mitigating and aggravating factors. The aim was to help the public to understand that sentencing was not just an arbitrary decision but a difficult and complex process, based on many factors.

Fun for the whole family - I've got the black wig on but I can't find the hang'em all button....


Picking nits:
Black wig? Not a black headscarf over a white wig?

As is typical of such questionnaires, the answers offered are designed to skew the responses in the direction favoured by the questioner (in this case, the CJS think that there is a perception that sentences are too lenient, and wants to entice people to suggest a more lenient sentence than the one actually given.)

In the case of Mr Horton, I did indeed allocate a "more lenient" sentence, because the options were absurd. Horton got pissed and did 1500 quid's worth of damage to a few cars. The sentences offered were 500 quid fine, 100 hrs community service plus 2 months curfew, 200 hrs community service, 4 months curfew and 2 yrs weekly probation meetings or 3 months in prison.

The probation suggestion is absurd. Horton isn't a career criminal, he's a prat. He doesn't need us to pay for probation officers to drink tea with him - that's a pointless waste of our money. What he does need is a fine which is actually commensurate with the damage done. 200 hrs work is only worth 1000 quid, which doesn't really hit the mark.

I'd want to give him a 1500 quid compensation order, so the damage gets put right at his expense, and then at least the same value again in community service work so that's be 300 hours community service, the curfew and the compensation, but no daft probation requirement.

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