Sentencing usually occurs several weeks after the Trial
. The Judge is responsible for sentencing the defendant.The defendant's previous criminal history is considered during the sentencing. Some convicted defendants may be eligible for a sentence that includes probation. The Probation Department may prepare a pre-sentence report. IThe victim or victim's family may be interviewed as a part of this pre-sentence report. Pre-sentence evaluations may be ordered. Evaluations attempt to determine community risk if the defendant is released and to assess the defendant's amenability to alternative sanctions. Victims
may attend and speak at the Sentencing. They are allowed to read Victim Impact Statements
to the Judge and to the court. In these statements, victims explain to the court the effects of the crime in detail, including physical, emotional, mental, and financial. In the case of a child victim, the mother is allowed to write and read a Victim Impact Statement that expresses the damages to the child victim. Victims or family members may also state their preference for an appropriate sentence for the defendant. If victims do not attend the Sentencing, the District Attorney will inform them of the sentence.
All of this information assists the Judge in deciding a sentence for the defendant. Criminal law informs the judge of the range of sentences available to be imposed for a particular crime. Some felony offenses carry a mandatory prison sentence. The Judge is responsible for determination of the sentence within the statutory guidelines.