COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Way too harsh or extremely lenient, that’s what many people think when they hear a person’s sentence. But Circuit Judge Jim Kithens says careful thought and procedure factor into the process.
“As a judge you look to see if the person’s been in trouble with the law before, the severity of the crime, did they take responsibility of the crime. All those things you think about when you’re trying to decide the number of years if you will,” says Judge Kitchens.
The sentencing phase weighs heavy on the heart of any good judge.
“Most judges that are circuit judges will tell you that it’s the least favorite part our job is to do the sentencing part of it. It’s very difficult you’re dealing with somebody’s life, you know, whether they’re sent on probation or sent to prison, you’re affecting families and everything else, but you have to remember that a lot of times, there’s a victim to a crime and they have some expectations of justice also, so year, it’s not easy,” says Judge Kitchens.
Defense Attorney Carrie Jourdan says the severity of sentences can vary, even for the same crime.
“Aggravated assault can happen if someone fired a gun into a crowd and someone was injured. But you’re not gonna be punished the same way as someone who intentionally fired into a crowd say directly,” says Attorney Jourdan.
And for those who seem to get off easy, more than likely, there’s a reason.
“When we see some leniency, it’s because the court felt like the defendant showed they can be a good citizen. And that’s what we want isn’t it? Do we want everybody in jail or do we want them to learn the error of their ways and get out and be taxpayers,”says Attorney Jourdan.
Kitchens says, in the end, Judges work to put the right people behind bars in order to keep society safe.
“You just try to make sure that you fairly listen to everybody. Most judges I know, everyone of them take their jobs very seriously and do the best they can,” says Judge Kitchens.
Another factor that plays apart in sentencing is the legislature. Lawmakers set perimeters and sentences for judge’s to follow.