This page includes capsules that address sentencing topics. A few caveats!

  1. Needless to say, this is not legal advice.  It is designed to provide introductory explanations of certain topics in criminal law.
  2. These materials were designed for my students taking part in my criminal law class- as such they are NOT supposed to be comprehensive or exhaustive of the subject.
  3. They were made with time constraints in mind.  There are errors throughout, and though I feel confident about the product generally, I did not attempt to correct every mistake made.  The goal was to put a good product together in a short period of time.
  4. Often, in the interests of time, certain points are generalized.  This doesn’t mean they’re “wrong”, but nuances are often fleshed out in the course materials or in class.  Rather than include caveats with every sentence, I sometimes make broad generalizations even though I’m aware there might be exceptions that can occasionally arise.  Again, the goal is to promote a generalized understanding that provides a platform for deeper learning.
  5. I will heartily disavow any attempt to rely upon these in conflict with another Professor, judge, lawyer, etc.  Thus, anyone who says “yes, but Professor Sankoff said X”… will receive no support from me!  Especially where exams are concerned, it is always good practice to follow your Professor’s view of the law.  If this material helps you, by all means use it, but do so with care.

Basic Sentencing Tools  – August 2014

Recorded in August 2014, this introductory capsule explains the “tools” or options that a judge has in sentencing a guilty person after a verdict has been rendered.  It also explains how a joint submission on sentence works, and goes through basic concepts like parole ineligibility, minimum periods of incarceration and maximum penalties.

Sentencing for Murder – The Hub Mall Shooter – September 2013

Recorded in September 2013, this capsule delves through a number of basic sentencing issues particular to the Hub Mall shooting, a case of particular importance to the University of Alberta, as it occurred on campus in 2012.   It addresses: 1) Basic sentencing for murder; 2) Consecutive sentences vs Concurrent sentences; 3) The meaning of parole ineligibility; 4) How the principle against retroactive sentencing works; and 5) Joint submissions.

If you are interesting in learning more about sentencing for murder offences, check out this video blog, which addresses the Life Means Life bill.

This material has taken considerable time and effort to produce.  I ask only two things in return.  First, if you like these capsules – pass them on.  The primary objective here is to share a deeper understanding for the subject area I love most.  Second, if any of this was in any way useful, I urge you to let me know.  A short note at, or a comment (below), or even a “like”, would really make my day!

One thought on “Sentencing

  1. I’ve used your capsules to prepare my classes, I’ve had my students watch them and They have been a great help. Thank you
    Very well done and very useful!

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