Earlier today, I posted a simple question. Should a defendant be required to stand when the judge hands down the sentence? The post has now generated a fair number of comments, and they are very good ones. Admitting that there is no correct view, I want to provide my own answer now. I hope that his post might also generate a good discussion because this issue, in my opinion, is more important than you might think.
- Whenever a judge enacts a rule or a procedure the judge ought to ask whether there is a good reason for the rule or procedure. Otherwise, the law of unintended consequences comes into play.
- I did a fairly detailed search of the Internet, including Google Scholar, and Westlaw, including the “all-feds” and “law review” data bases. I failed to find any analysis of why a judge should require a defendant to stand when hearing the sentence.
- Watch this clip of an 18-year-old high school boy (Tony Farmer, a highly recruited basketball player) receiving a prison sentence while standing. Then, you will see why I don’t require defendants to stand when hearing what is frequently a helluva of a long and life altering sentence.