Illinois Sentencing Hearings — #2

Evidence During Sentencing Hearings

During a sentencing hearing, both the defendant and the prosecution have the opportunity to present evidence that is relevant and reliable.  No other rules of evidence apply, so evidence that is inadmissible at trial may be admissible at sentencing.

At sentencing, the defendant seeks mercy from the judge.  The defendant introduces evidence that (hopefully) will convince the judge to show him as much mercy as possible.  To reach this end, the defendant may testify himself and he may offer the testimony of his friends, family, and members of his community.   The best evidence at sentencing hearings usually is, as Scott Ealy recently wrote, evidence that shows “specific post-crime conduct that demonstrates a firm and consistent resolve to make matters right.”  For example, in a DUI case, evidence that a defendant completed alcohol counseling (and took it seriously) long before being ordered to do so, will be much more powerful than a defendant’s promise not to use or abuse alcohol again.

Jeremy Richey

Jeremy J. Richey, Attorney at Law
© Jeremy J. Richey and The East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog, 2008-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.