Sentencing Principles

Scenario

Jake’s Story
I’m Jake. I’m 15 years old and I’ve never been in any trouble before. In fact, I’ve been on the honour roll all through high school. But I did something stupid and now I’ve really got trouble.

It all started out as fun. A few of my friends and I were drinking beer and hanging around the school one night. I don't have a driver's license, but somehow I got the idea to borrow my sister-in-law’s car and go for a joy-ride. You see, I knew she always kept her car keys on the fridge. Right now, I wish they weren’t there that day.

Anyway, I got the keys and the car. My three buddies came along and brought the beer with them. We were drinking and cruising along when it happened. I guess I’m not that great a driver yet and the road was icy.

I accidentally went up over a curb and hit an old lady, Mrs. McGee. Geez, she’s my grandma’s age, 72, and I hurt her bad! The police and ambulance showed up and I was arrested. I was charged with drunk driving and aggravated assault.

What a mess for me and my family. I’m really sorry about the old lady. She’s out of the hospital now, but she hurt her back. Turns out she knows all my aunties. I’m really sorry. I’ll never do any drinking and joy-riding again.

What happened next...
Jake went to trial in youth court and pled guilty to drunk driving and aggravated assault. The judge agreed that the community should be involved in deciding what Jake’s sentence should be. Jake will participate in a sentencing circle.

Activity
Who do you think should participate in the sentencing circle? Choose one of the participants and decide from that participant’s point of view what you would recommend to the judge regarding the type of sentence that Jake should receive.

Does it matter that Jake was an honour student before the accident? Does it matter that Jake did not have a driver's license? Does it matter that Jake had been drinking beer at the time of the accident?

Consider the purpose and the principles for sentencing as well as the factors for determining if a youth should receive a custodial sentence. What do you recommend?

Jake is Aboriginal. Does this change your recommendation? Explain.