Appeal Severity of Sentence Pennsylvania

Various theories of criminal responsibility were considered in formulating the guidelines, and we will not join the never-ending debate of the merits of these theories; such dialogue is undoubtedly worthwhile, but this debate will go on into the millennium and beyond. We note, however, that assigning potential and advisory penalties proportionate with the injury caused by criminal activity should not be characterized as simple retaliation. Not only does the penalty make a point with the wrongdoer, and future wrongdoers, but it also serves to satisfy the public's need to know that our justice system will impose consequences commensurate with the criminal behavior. If this be deemed simple or "crude" by some, it is deemed simple justice by an equal number of others. 42 Pa.C.S. Section 9722 (1)-(12) sets forth factors the sentencing court should consider when determining the severity of a sentence. The Commonwealth claims that based upon these factors, a sentence of probation should not have been entered. While these factors should be accorded weight, they are "not controlling upon the discretion of the court." 42 Pa.C.S. 9722. The sentencing court indicated that when all twelve factors in Section 9722 are considered, they mandate neither a sentence of probation nor a sentence of incarceration. A court shall impose a sentence of total confinement, pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. Section 9725, where there is an undue risk the party will commit another crime or is in need of correctional treatment that would be provided most effectively by commitment to an institution, or where a lesser sentence would depreciate the seriousness of the crime.