Rocksheng Zhong, MD, MHS∞
The role of offenders’ remorse in criminal justice remains controversial. This research examined criminal judges’ views about remorse, its assessment, and its relevance in their decision-making. Judges were interviewed, and transcriptions of these sessions were analyzed using a qualitative methodology known as narrative summary. The results showed that judges varied widely in their views about the assessment of remorse and its relevance in judicial decision-making. Although they generally agreed that remorse was a valid legal construct, they disagreed about for which types of crimes and at which stage of criminal proceedings remorse was most relevant. They further disagreed about the indicators of remorse; behaviors that suggested remorsefulness to some judges suggested remorselessness to others. Finally, judges differed in their opinions concerning the impact of mental illness on remorse and frequently lacked a nuanced understanding of psychiatric disorders. These findings shed light on the courts’ current treatment of a complex phenomenon and suggest that judges should give remorse, and especially the absence of remorse, much less weight than they currently do.
In recent years, transgender adults in the entertainment world have capitalized on their public platform to advocate for and increase awareness about issues affecting the transgender community. Yet even with the emerging cultural understanding of this community, there is a noticeable absence of a voice for transgender youth, a particularly vulnerable segment of this misunderstood population. Children—often as young as four or five—are more commonly proclaiming to be “born in the wrong body.” In addition to being subject to intolerable bullying and harassment by their peers, transgender youth face an uphill battle in public schools because educators are unprepared to handle the logistics of their transition process, which includes a prolonged period of living in all aspects as the opposite sex.
Pregnant women are routinely faced with the stressful decision of whether to consume needed medications during their pregnancies. Because the risks associated with pharmaceutical drug consumption during pregnancy are largely unknown, pregnant women both inadvertently consume dangerous medications and avoid needed drugs. Both outcomes are harmful to pregnant women and their fetuses.
On February 28, 2013, Juan Duran pled guilty to harboring an alien, in federal court. His defense counsel likely advised him that under the guidelines, the base offense level is twelve for an individual without prior felonies, which carries a range of ten to sixteen months. However, the statutory maximum for such an offense is much higher at 120 months. The defense counsel could have told his client that the average sentence for alien harboring offenses, as calculated by the Sentencing Commission, is 17 months.