The sentencing in the American courts makes a complicated issue for long discussions. It is a complex system which includes interconnected institutions such as judges, lawyers, the public, and the jury when it is applied. A specific feature of American sentencing system is the death-defying sentence which lasts longer than any person is expected to live.
The sentences of 100, 150, or even more than 800 years of prison are not unusual for American courts. This fact can be explained by the treatment of the penalty by American judges. Unlike many colleagues from other countries who consider imprisonment as the possibility to think about the life and rehabilitate, judges in the US Court treat the loss of freedom as a punishing measure. Thus, the individuals who have been proved to commit repetitive and serious crimes get consecutive terms and not concurrent. It is intended to stress the seriousness of the offense and the appropriateness of the severe sentence.
However, every prisoner has an opportunity to appeal to the US Supreme Court. There is a particular appeals process for the sentenced to death. The direct appeal is a process automatic for criminals with death penalties. After the appeal, judges revise the case and can affirm the sentence, cancel the statement or change the death penalty for a less severe punishment. On the whole, appeal courts do not take into account any new evidence. Typically, they work with the existing case and can change the sentence if they find any mistakes or misinterpretations of law in the work of the previous court and layers. As a rule, the federal appeal is a long lasting process. It usually takes not less than a year to study every case and come up with a final decision.
The application of death penalty is one of the most difficult questions since it is the supreme measure of punishment. On the federal level, it is applied to the individuals who have committed severe crimes such as terrorism, treason, federal murder, espionage, and some others. As for the capital punishment on the state level, it is the choice of the state. At present, 31 states in the USA apply the death penalty in their prisons. There are some authorized methods of conducting the death penalty. They include lethal injection, electrocution, gas chamber, hanging, and firing squad. The first one is the most spread today applied by thirty-three states and both the military and US Government.
At the same time, the last two are in use in only three states each. The capital punishment is probably the first issue when it goes about the judicial system and penalties. The people are divided into two groups: those who support the death penalty and those who object it. The supporters consider it a suitable way to punish the criminals who committed severe or repetitive crimes. Their opponents consider the death penalty a risky punishment since an innocent person can be punished. As for me, I do not support the capital punishment. The judicial system is not perfect both in America and the other countries. Thus, a chance that a mistake may happen during the process cannot be excluded. Consequently, an innocent person might be accused. To avoid the misunderstanding, the death penalty should be replaced with a life sentence. Moreover, prisoners should have the opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Court to prove their innocence.