RHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE A Practice Manual – Sentencing Factors

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A Practice Manual, 4th Edition
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Sentencing Factors

State v. Coleman, 984 A.2d 650, 655 (R.I. 2009). “In formulating a fair sentence, a trial justice considers various factors including the severity of the crime, the defendant’s personal, educational, and employment background, the potential for rehabilitation, societal deterrence, and the appropriateness of the punishment.” Quoting State v. Bettencourt, 766 A.2d 391, 394 (R.I. 2001). ]

State v. Tiernan, 645 A.2d 482 (R.I. 1994). With respect to the potential for rehabilitation, “a trial justice may consider a defendant’s attitude toward society, his sense of remorse, as well as his inclination and capacity to take his place as an honest and useful member of society.”

State v. Marini, 638 A.2d 507, 518 (R.I. 1994). “In imposing sentences, trial justices are bound only by statutory limits… The sentencing justice may impose a more severe or a less severe punishment than that recommended by the state. In formulating a fair sentence, the trial justice bears the affirmative duty to treat each defendant separately, focusing on the individual’s unique background and character. He should consider the gravity of the crime, the possibilities for defendant’s rehabilitation, deterrence to others, and the appropriateness of the punishment for the crime.”

Armenakes v. State, 821 A.2d 239 (R.I. 2003). Noting that a judge may properly consider an Alford plea as a relevant factor in sentencing.

Mattatall v. State, 947 A.2d 896, 899 n. 4 (R.I. 2008). An Alford plea qualifies as a conviction and may later be used “for any legitimate purpose, including sentencing factors and enhancement, impeachment, and in collateral proceedings, such as deportation.”

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