Brief Fact Summary. The Appellee, Donald Scott Chaney (Appellee), was convicted of two counts of forcible rape and one count of robbery. The trial court imposed a concurrent one-year sentence and provided for parole in the discretion of the parole board. Even though the law prohibits an increase in the sentence upon appeal, the State of Alaska filed this appeal in order to express its disapproval of the judgment of the trial court.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The principles and objectives of criminal reformation are rehabilitation of the offender, isolation of the offender, deterrence of the offender, deterrence of other potentially similarly situated individuals in society and community condemnation of the offender in order to reaffirm societal norms.
Issue. What goals should be achieved by the imposition of a sentence in a criminal case?
Discussion. This case was written by Judge Rabinowitz of the Supreme Court of Alaska for the purpose of expressing the court’s disapproval of the sentence imposed by the trial court. The opinion outlines the state’s constitutional principles of reformation and the need for public protection against criminals. The court believes that a longer jail sentence would verify the seriousness of the Appellee’s conduct. It appears from the opinion, that the trial judge seemed apologetic with regard to his decision to impose a jail sentence. Even though the Appellee showed no remorse on the record about what had happened, his fine military service was discussed at length along with his possible eligibility for early parole. Not mentioned in sentencing was the victim of the Appellee’s crimes. The sentence imposed fell short of reaching the goal of reaffirmation of societal norms. This could lead to the conclusion that forcible rape and robbery are not demonstrative of serious antisocial conduct.