Sentence


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sentence

1) n. the punishment given to a person convicted of a crime. A sentence is ordered by the judge, based on the verdict of the jury (or the judge's verdict if there was no jury) within the possible punishments set by state law (or Federal law in convictions for a Federal crime). Popularly, "sentence" refers to the jail or prison time ordered after conviction, as in "his sentence was 10 years in state prison." Technically, a sentence includes all fines, community service, restitution or other punishment, or terms of probation. Defendants who are first offenders without a felony record may be entitled to a probation or pre-sentence report by a probation officer based on background information and circumstances of the crime, often resulting in a recommendation as to probation and amount of punishment. For misdemeanors (lesser crimes) the maximum sentence is usually one year in county jail, but for felonies (major crimes) the sentence can range from a year to the death penalty for murder in most states. Under some circumstances the defendant may receive a "suspended sentence" which means the punishment is not imposed if the defendant does not get into other trouble for the period he/she would have spent in jail or prison, "concurrent sentences" in which the prison time for more than one crime is served at the same time and only lasts as long as the longest term, "consecutive sentences," in which the terms for several crimes are served one after another, and "indeterminate" sentences in which the actual release date is not set and will be based on review of prison conduct. (See: concurrent sentence, suspended sentence, indeterminate sentence, restitution, death penalty)

SENTENCE. A judgment, or judicial declaration made by a judge in a cause. The term judgment is more usually applied to civil, and sentence to criminal proceedings.
     2. Sentences are final, when they put, an end to the case; or interlocutory, when they settle only some incidental matter which has arisen in the course of its progress. Vide Aso & Man. Inst. B. 3, t. 8, c. 1.

References in classic literature ?
A Sentence or Phrase is a composite significant sound, some at least of whose parts are in themselves significant; for not every such group of words consists of verbs and nouns--'the definition of man,' for example - -but it may dispense even with the verb.
It was no less than twelve days after our receiving sentence before any were ordered for execution, and then upon a Wednesday the dead warrant, as they call it, came down, and I found my name was among them.
I had now a certainty of life indeed, but with the hard conditions of being ordered for transportation, which indeed was hard condition in itself, but not when comparatively considered; and therefore I shall make no comments upon the sentence, nor upon the choice I was put to.
Cornelius listened to the sentence with an expression rather of surprise than sadness.
After the sentence was read, the Recorder asked him whether he had anything to answer.
And, finally, the paper complained at the mildness of the sentence. It should have been six months at least.
In Hester Prynne's instance, however, as not unfrequently in other cases, her sentence bore that she should stand a certain time upon the platform, but without undergoing that gripe about the neck and confinement of the head, the proneness to which was the most devilish characteristic of this ugly engine.
Miss Dunross wrote the words, and paused in anticipation of the next sentence. The light faded and faded; the room grew darker and darker.
When they announce the sentence, you know, and prepare the criminal and tie his hands, and cart him off to the scaffold--that's the fearful part of the business.
Bean, one of the Americans, was found a note-book in which had been penciled some sentences which admit us, in flesh and spirit, as it were, to the presence of these men during their last hours of life, and to the grisly horrors which their fading vision looked upon and their failing consciousness took cognizance of:
He set his teeth and read on; he tried desperately to concentrate his attention; the sentences etched themselves in his brain by the force of his effort, but they were distorted by the agony he was enduring.
In telegraphic sentences, half swallowed at the ends, They hint a matter's inwardness--and there the matter ends.