Sentencing Circles as an Alternative Method of Sentencing in Ohio

Anna Crisp*

I. Introduction

Over ten years ago, two men in their early twenties stole a fire truck in Kenny Lake, Alaska.[1] Both intoxicated at the time of the theft, they set it on fire.[2] It was the only fire truck around for miles.[3] Most judges would find a sentence simple to impose in a crime like this; the evidence is clear and the men even admitted to their wrongdoing. These men were troubled, as many criminals are. However, Eric Smith, a Superior Court Judge in Palmer, Alaska, saw an opportunity for them to turn their lives around.[4] With the consent of the prosecutor and the defendants, Judge Smith referred the case to an alternative sentencing method that addressed the underlying issues facing the two men and brought the community together to heal: circle sentencing.[5] The sentencing circle consisted of multiple parties including the defendants and an Alaska state trooper, as well as a sister and a relative of the defendants.[6] The state trooper spoke about the years he spent trying to keep the young men out of prison despite their continued misconduct and the frustration it caused him. The sister of one of the men talked about extra work she would have to do if her brother went to jail such as hauling water and cutting wood.[8] And, a relative spoke about the negative impact that alcohol abuse had created in her life, insisting that the men not let the same thing happen to them.[9] The circle was emotional, bringing both defendants to tears by the time is was over.[10] The discussions within the circle helped Judge Smith design a sentence that was fair, lawful, and considerate of the ultimate effects on the community.[11] Ultimately, his sentence included jail time, but the opinions and emotions expressed in the sentencing circle informed more meaningful conditions to the defendants’ probation.[12] Judge Smith said that the sentencing circle “served as kind of a catharsis and a realization, [and] it helped the community out enormously because they got to vent.”[13]

Sentencing circles are a method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) inspired by restorative justice.[14] “[R]estorative justice processes combine ‘the principles of negotiation, mediation, consensus-building and peacemaking’ as an alternative method to litigation for resolving disputes.”[15] The concept of restorative justice itself “fits under the broad umbrella of ADR.”[16] While traditional methods of sentencing rely on arbitrary guidelines and opinions of judges, prosecutors, and other players in the criminal justice system whose motivations may or may not be pure, sentencing circles focus on the needs of the victim, the defendant, the community, and the justice system as a whole. It is important to consider the underlying motivations of defendants as well as any relevant circumstances that led to the commission of a crime in order to ensure proper justice is served on the defendant and to prevent future wrongdoing. And, while it may not be appropriate in all situations, involving the victim in sentencing can empower the victim and provide closure. Furthermore, the community is better served by a system of justice that considers the impact of a sentence and its effectiveness at deterring future crime and making the community whole again.

States such as Alaska, Minnesota, and Florida have introduced circular sentencing or other alternatives to traditional sentencing into their judicial systems. Also, the practice is well-established in Canada. The state of Ohio currently utilizes sentencing circles as an alternative means to traditional sentencing on only a limited basis.

This note first examines the historical evolution of circle sentencing from its early origins to it modern applications in North American criminal practice. Then, criminal sentencing procedures in Ohio and examples of sentencing reform in Franklin County, Ohio are explored. This note will conclude with recommendations for further implementation of circle sentencing in Ohio.

II. Circle Sentencing

A. Origins

Canada is often regarded as “the birthplace of restorative justice in North America.”[17] The country’s approach to criminal justice is highly influenced by its religious and aboriginal cultural groups.[18] Specifically, Mennonite culture, which values salvation and peacemaking, inspired the use of victim-offender mediation, and aboriginal culture brought forth the use of sentencing circles.[19] A culture rooted in foundations of peace and healing influence aboriginal concepts of justice.[20] This tradition is referred to as “Justice as Healing,” and prioritizes righting what has been wronged.[21] Aboriginal culture values the restoration of peace, community stability, and the personal needs of wrongdoers and of those that have been offended.[22] Sentencing circles are one method used to accomplish healing by moving forward and restoring peace.[23]

Sentencing circles were first introduced into the Canadian justice system in 1992.[24] Judge Barry Stuart, a Yukon Territorial Court judge first introduced the practice and used them regularly as a method of conflict resolution.[25] Judge Stewart boasts about the “community building” and “healing” aspects of sentencing circles that might be associated with involving those affected by the crime in sentencing rather than traditional courtroom figures.[26] The method encourages judges to be creative in their sentencing and make punishments specific to the individual.[27]

B. Elements

Sentencing circles can be integrated into a judicial proceeding in various ways.[28] For example, a judge may order the use of a sentencing circle prior to formal sentencing.[29] This is usually done after an individual is found guilty of an offense or admits to his or her guilt Alternatively, an offender may apply to participate in a sentencing circle.[31] The offender’s application is then considered by a committee as well as the parties affected by the offender’s crime that might participate in the circle.

While the exact structure of a sentencing circle can vary, there are a number of elements common to their practice. First, the session is led by either a respected community member or judge referred to as the “keeper of the circle.”[34] Anywhere from fifteen to fifty participants sit in chairs arranged in a circle and listen as the attorneys for both parties to the dispute make opening statements.[35] Then, members of the community, the offender, and the victim have opportunities to speak.[36] Unique to sentencing circles as compared to a traditional trial are the matters often focused on in discussion:

[1] The extent of similar crimes within the community;

[2] The underlying cause of such crimes;

[3] A retrospective analysis of what life in the community had been before crime became so prevalent;

[4] The impact of these sorts of crimes on victims generally, on families and community life and the impact of this crime on the victim;

[5] What can be done within the community to prevent this type of dysfunctional behavior;

[6] What must be done to help heal the offender, the victim and the community;

[7] What will constitute the sentence plan;

[8] Who will be responsible for carrying out the plan, and who will support the offender and victim in ensuring the plan is successfully implemented;

[9] A date to review the sentence and a set of goals to be achieved before review.[37]

 

The sentencing circle may last up to eight hours and is often spread out over multiple hearings.[38] Because of the substantial time and emotional commitment that a sentencing circle requires, it is common that their use is reserved for more .[39] Once the sentencing circle is finally complete, a plan is created for the offender that lays goals inspired by the discussions had among the parties and community.[40] The circle might review the plan at a later date before final sentencing to ensure that the offender is confident in his or her ability to carry out the plan.[41] Finally, the judge will use the recommendations of the sentencing circle to impose a punishment.[42]

C. Sentencing Circles in Practice

Restorative justice efforts, including the use of sentencing circles, are associated with a number of benefits. Restorative justice “can be effective at promoting respect for the law, deterring future crime, and protecting the community.”[43] In addition, greater cognitive, affective, behavioral, and mental health benefits have been associated with restorative justice as compared to the traditional judicial process.[44] Discussed below are a few examples of how sentencing circles have been or are being used in Alaska, Minnesota, and Florida.

 

  1. Alaska

According to a report by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, sentencing circles employed in the city of Kake, Alaska were successful “where the state court system had repeatedly failed…”[45] Magistrate Mike Jackson sought to introduce sentencing circles in Kake to address the city’s higher rate of issues related to alcohol abuse resulting in more accidental deaths, child abuse, and suicides than anywhere else in the state.[46] In 1999, he arranged for the first sentencing circle in Kake after a woman addicted to alcohol was found guilty of crimes related to her addiction.[47] Magistrate Jackson wanted the circle to “bring together family, friends and others who know [the] victim or offender to help [the] judge hand down a fair sentence by considering local history, community beliefs and other views of a defendant’s background.”[48] And, it did. State authorities present at the sentencing circle told the woman that she would lose her children if she failed to seek treatment, and the woman’s family and friends were able to encourage her to accept help.[49] Dinah Aceveda, an organizer of the circle, said that the woman “changed her life from that [because] [w]hen you have good people around you in that circle, in that community, that’s what can happen.”[50] Aceveda went on to organize sixty-six more circles over the next thirteen years.[51]

 

  1. Minnesota

Minnesota sentencing circles are unique because they have statutory authority to “assign an appropriate sanction to [an] offender.”[52] Under Minnesota’s restorative justice statute, programs, such as sentencing circles, that focus on similar alternatives to traditional sentencing receive case referrals from attorneys. Although the state disagrees to some extent as to what types of cases should be referred to sentencing circles, many Minnesota communities utilize them. For example, the South Saint Paul Restorative Justice Council is one of the longest-existing groups to use circles for various matters, including sentencing circles.[56] They incorporate other types of circles in the South Saint Paul community and its schools as well.[57]

 

  1. Florida

An hour after he shot her, McBride turned himself in to the police in Tallahassee, Florida.[59] He was charged with first-degree murder, and Florida imposes a mandatory life sentence or the death penalty for those convicted of such charges.[60] However, McBride’s foreseeable future was changed when Ann’s parents forgave him for killing their daughter.[61] Ann’s parents wanted restorative justice and, after obtaining the support of all parties, the prosecutor arranged for a sentencing circle to take place.[62]

The sentencing circle was similar to a victim-offender mediation with the exception that the sentencing circle included the attorneys for both McBride and Ann’s parents.[63] McBride, his parents, and Ann’s parents each had the opportunity to voice their suffering as a result of McBride’s actions and Ann’s death.[64] When Ann’s parents were asked what they thought an appropriate punishment might be, they requested that McBride spend ten to fifteen years in prison and “do enough good work for society for two people ‘because Ann was not there to do her share.’”[65] The state attorney considered Ann’s parents’ suggestions and ultimately sentenced McBride to twenty years in prison and ten years on probation, decades less than the term mandated by the traditional sentencing guidelines.[66]

A restorative justice expert involved in the situation, Sujatha Baliga, identified the benefits of using a sentencing circle, rather than traditional sentencing, in this case:

[T]he retributive system rarely sees the importance and need of including the victims in deciding what happens to the people who have done unimaginable damage to their lives. Likewise, the retributive system does not recognize redemption or allowing the offender the opportunity to repair the irreparable before entering the doors of the courthouse.[67]

Here, McBride was punished for his crime in a way that allowed Ann’s parents to receive closure on their terms. Had a sentencing circle not been used, McBride would have spent his life in prison or been sentenced to death, and Ann’s parents would not have felt that justice was appropriately served.

 

III. Sentencing Procedures in Ohio

Ohio has distinct processes for prescribing punishment in both civil and criminal dispositions. In civil matters, a trial court judge issues a final judgement against a defendant following a verdict.[68] A jury trial may or may not be involved in reaching a verdict, and the judgement is based on the grant or denial of the remedy that a plaintiff seeks.[69] Criminal cases may or may not involve a jury as well.[70] However, unlike a civil defendant who faces only fines and injunctions, a criminal defendant, if convicted, will also incur a judge-imposed sentence.[71] In cases involving minor crimes, a judge can issue a sentence immediately following a guilty verdict.[72] Conversely, when more serious crime is involved, sentencing is usually postponed while a pre-sentencing investigation is completed.[73] This investigation allows the judge to obtain more information about the case as well as the offender’s background in order to issue a proper sentence.[74] The judge will consult the Ohio Criminal Code for guidance related to felony and misdemeanor sentencing in Ohio.[75] Victims and their family members can also influence sentencing by providing impact statements, either orally at sentencing or in writing to a probation officer.[76]

The Ohio Criminal Code sets forth some requirements for sentencing offenders, however, it also leaves judges a great deal of discretion in the imposition of a sentence.[77] The Code offers a range of penalties for felonies and misdemeanors as recommended by the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, then judges decide the exact amount of time an offender will serve in jail.[78] While this gives judges a great deal of discretion, some crimes require mandatory prison terms.[79] For example, it is mandatory that a prison term:

[B]e imposed for offenders convicted of criminal acts in the following cases:

 

[1] aggravated murder when a death sentence is not imposed;

[2] murder;

[3] any rape and any attempted rape when the victim is younger than 13 years old;

[4] first- or second-degree felonies when the offender has a prior second-degree or higher felony conviction;

[5] first-, second-, or third-degree drug offenses when specified as mandatory by statute;

[6] corrupt activity (racketeering) when the most serious underlying offense is a first-degree felony;

[7] felony vehicular homicides and assaults, or drunk driving when specified by statute;

[8] having a firearm in the commission of a felony; [and more.][80]

 

Mandatory terms are more severe for repeated offenders of violent crimes and major drug crimes, adding up to ten years of jail time to their sentence.[81]

For crimes that do not carry a mandatory prison term, judges may choose not to follow the sentencing guidance in the Ohio Criminal Code so long as the judge provides a reason for departing from those guidelines.[82] A judge can choose to impose sentences unique to the offender such as by:

[1] ordering a sentence to be served in a local jail on weekends or overnight, enabling the offender to keep a job and maintain family responsibilities (much more common for misdemeanants than for felons);

[2] permitting payment of a fine in installments; [or]

[3] providing for commitment and treatment options for offenders determined to be mentally deficient, mentally ill or drug- or alcohol-dependent.[83]

 

Ultimately, the purpose of Ohio’s sentencing system is to “punish offenders and protect the public from future crimes” by “balanc[ing] needs for incarceration, rehabilitation, restoring victims’ losses, deterring crime and, in some cases, retribution.”[84]  However, the system is not without flaws. For example, the state’s system often fails to adequately address recidivism. In 2015, Ohio had 244,000 people on probation and parole – the third-highest rate among the United States – and twenty-three percent of people entering the state’s prisons each year are repeat offenders.[85] In addition, prisons are overcrowded and costly. Between 2000 and 2016, the number of inmates increased by nine percent per year and sentences have increased in length, costing the state $1.8 billion per year.[86] Arguably most problematic is Ohio’s drug crime. From 2000 to 2016, arrests of drug offenders went up twelve percent to over 32,000 arrests per year.[87] Something needs to change, and it might be Ohio’s approach to sentencing.

IV. Sentencing Reform in Ohio

Ohio is aware of its need to reform its sentencing system. Sara Andrews, Director of the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission, recognizes the need to “share information, spark conversation, enlighten minds and move ideas to solutions that advance public safety, realize fairness in sentencing, preserve judicial discretion, provide a meaningful array of sentencing options, and distinguish the more efficient and effective use of correctional resources.”[88] Although the following examples of sentencing reform in Franklin County, Ohio cannot represent the entirety of reformative efforts made by the state, these examples serve as evidence that Ohio’s sentencing system can improve by implementing alternative processes.

A. Franklin County Diversion

The Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office represents the State of Ohio in the prosecution of criminal The Office is composed of a number of specialized “units” that focus their work on particular types of crime such as high crime, drug offenses, sexual assault, white collar crime, gang activity, and gun-related charges.[90] Another unit within the Prosecutor’s Office is the Diversion Unit.[91] This unit “was created to allow for some first-time non-violent offenders to avoid prosecution or be ‘diverted’ from prosecution after indictment.”[92] Diversion officers, who operate under supervision of the Criminal Division, review cases and determine whether or not the offender might be appropriate for admittance to the Diversion Unit.[93] If accepted, offenders must meet certain requirements of the Unit and have the burden of “display[ing] a willingness to cooperate and an ability to benefit from the program.”[94] The Diversion Unit’s standards of behavior and cooperation serve as an alternative to prosecution and sentencing.[95]

The Franklin County Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office and Juvenile Magistrates can refer certain cases to the Diversion Unit as well.[96] In order to be considered for diversion, the charge must be a first-time, misdemeanor offense, the youth must be between eleven and seventeen years-old and admit to the offense, and a parent or guardian must consent to the youth’s participation in the Unit.[97] Diversion Officers will meet with the youth and his or her parent or guardian in order to determine an appropriate alternative to sentencing.[98] Potential alternatives include a variety of community-based programs, an apology, community service, an essay or legal research paper, rehabilitation programs for shoplifting, alcohol-abuse, or drug abuse, and/or the following court-managed programs: Teen Court, Juvenile Restorative Justice Circles, and Mediation.[99] By completing the requirements of whatever sentencing alternative is prescribed, the youth can avoid having the offense on their criminal record.[100] But, failure to complete the sentencing alternative as required will result in formal charges.[101]

B. Franklin County Juvenile Court Restorative Justice Circles Program

As noted above, “Restorative Justice Circles” are an alternative to sentencing for youth recommended to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office Diversion Unit. Referred to as “Community Restorative Circles,” or “CRCs,” the program is based on restorative justice principles of offender accountability to both the victim and the community for the impact of his or her crime.[102] CRCs exist to bring the youth offender, the youth’s parents or guardians, the victim, and the community together in order to address the needs of those involved “by developing a holistic understanding of the youth offender and the circumstances that led to the offense.”[103]

CRCs are led by the Restorative Justice Circles Program Coordinator and participants include the youth, the youth’s parents or guardians, the victim (if appropriate and applicable), and “trained community volunteers who understand the issues facing at risk youth in Franklin County and have successfully submitted to a criminal history check, child abuse/neglect screening and personal interview.”[104] The Juvenile Court sets forth certain rules of conduct for CRCs, prohibiting cell phones, certain clothing, and tobacco.[105] During the CRC, the circle participants have the opportunity to talk about the youth’s wrongdoing and work together to determine an appropriate way to move forward.[106] The CRC collaborates to create a “Plan of Action” that the participants agree to and sign.[107] The Plan may include an apology, community service, an essay or legal research paper, or other obligation that promotes the youth’s accountability.[108] As the youth completes the plan, his or her progress is monitored by the Juvenile Court and the youth might ultimately avoid formal charges.[109] The Juvenile Court states that “[t]he information and knowledge gained from this Restorative Justice experience assists the youthful offender to be better equipped to make improved life choices, change negative behaviors and leads to the enhancement of public safety.”[110]

V. Recommendations

A. Implementation of Sentencing Circles in Ohio

Sentencing circles can easily be implemented in Ohio as they have already been introduced to the state’s criminal justice system through the Franklin County Juvenile Court Restorative Justice Circles Program. Restorative justice techniques should be further implemented in Ohio by making such programs available as an alternative to sentencing in all Ohio courts and by considering the programs in all appropriate criminal proceedings. There are numerous ways to accomplish further implementation, and differing approaches may be more appropriate for one court as compared to another. Rather than specifying an exact method of implementation, this paper identifies a variety of options and advocates simply for greater consideration of sentencing circles, or similar alternatives, in the process of sentencing.

Sentencing circles can be utilized either before or after a criminal conviction.[111] Like the method employed by the Franklin County Juvenile Court, sentencing circles can serve as a form of diversion and take place in lieu of a formal charge.[112] Alternatively, sentencing circles might occur after a guilty plea is entered and be used to inform a judge’s sentencing decision.[113] Sentencing circles can be used for a variety of offenses. As discussed herein, sentencing circles have been used in situations as dramatically different as theft and homicide. This method of sentencing may even be useful as Ohio combats the heroin epidemic because restorative programs, such as sentencing circles, have been powerful in cases of “victimless” crimes like drug offenses.[114] Sentencing circles force an offender to “confront and listen to the victims of his offense and hear harm that it has caused, rather than simply enter into another … formulaic guilty plea and abstract sentencing hearing.”[115] Perhaps a more holistic sentencing approach to crimes involving heroin would better address the underlying causes and potential solutions to the epidemic.

The structure of the sentencing circle itself can also be implemented in a variety of forms. The circle can be led by a judge, community member, or, like in Franklin County, by a program director.[116] The community members invited to the circle can be trained individuals as is the case in Franklin County.[117] Or, it may be more appropriate to include members of the community impacted by the crime. Individuals that are able to share specifically how an offender’s actions harmed them may be more impactful in determining an appropriate way to remedy the wrongdoing and encourage the offender to take responsibility. Regardless of the exact structure, a discussion aimed at the purpose of justice and healing should be had among the circle participants.[118] Then, the group should agree to an appropriate sentence. The sentence can be imposed by the sentencing circle program or be shared with the judge as a recommendation for formal

B. Addressing Concerns

While there are many potential positive impacts to the criminal justice system and the community associated with sentencing circles,[120] the practice also raises potential concerns. Perhaps the most obvious issue is that sentencing circles are not appropriate in all cases. Certain crimes of violence such as homicide, domestic abuse, and sexual offenses serve as examples.[121] These crimes often elicit strong emotions and great pain of a nature that may not be remedied by bringing an offender, a victim, and community members together. In fact, doing so could cause more harm to the healing process than good by forcing individuals to revisit a painful event.

Alternative methods of sentencing also provoke concerns related to uniformity.[122] In particular, sentencing system actors are cautious to apply restorative justice methods because of the potential for disparity in the sentencing of similar offenders for similar offenses.[123] Dissimilar punishments for the same offense are contrary to sentencing guidelines such as those set forth by the Ohio Sentencing Commission. However, sentencing guidelines have been criticized for

[S]ort[ing] real events and individuals into abstract groups for mechanical calculations and, in the process, eliminat[ing] most of the distinctive aspects of the offense and affected parties . . . thus ignor[ing] the truism of life that no two crimes are exactly alike; there is a background and a foreground to every event that can be disregarded only at the expense of dehumanizing that which is inextricably human.[124]

Just as no two crimes are exactly alike, it should follow that no two sentences are exactly alike. Sentencing circles create a more “meaningful” version of equality  than the sentencing guidelines’ “mechanical” version by tailoring a sentence to the crime and offender while simultaneously meeting the victim and community’s needs.[125] Although it may appear otherwise, imposing the recommended punishment of a sentencing circle does not circumvent statutory sentencing guidelines. It is more likely that judges consider both the guidelines and the sentencing circle recommendation in sentencing.[126] Nevertheless, it would be appropriate to maintain a system of review to promote the fair practice of sentencing circles.

VI. Conclusion

Sentencing circles, rooted in Native American justice system values of peace and healing,[127] offer courts an option to exercise a method of alternative dispute resolution in sentencing that is inspired by concepts of restorative justice. By bringing an offender, a victim, and members of the community together in the sentencing process, sentencing circles inspire a more holistic sentence rather than the traditional method of sentencing that focuses only on the needs of the immediate parties to the criminal action. Sentencing circles have been successful in Canada, Alaska, Minnesota, and Florida, and they are currently utilized in Columbus, Ohio at the Franklin County Juvenile Court. Ohio has made efforts to reform its system of sentencing, but the state would benefit from further implementation of sentencing circles as such methods of restorative justice “can be effective at promoting respect for the law, deterring future crime, and protecting the community.”[128] Alternatives to traditional sentencing, namely sentencing circles and similar restorative programs, should be available in all Ohio courts and should be considered as an option in all appropriate criminal sentencing proceedings.

 

* The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Juris Doctor Candidate, 2020.

[1] Neil B. Nesheim, The Indigenous Practice That Is Transforming the Adversarial Process, Am. Bar Ass’n (Nov. 1, 2016),ihttps://www.americanbar.org/groups/judicial/publications/judges_journal/2016/fall/the_indigenous_practice_that_is_transforming_the_adversarial_process/.

[2] Zaz Hollander, Talking circles, not steel bars: Retiring Palmer judge pioneered tribal sentencing, Anchorage Daily News (May 14, 2016), https://www.adn.com/crime-justice/article/talking-circles-not-steel-bars-retiring-palmer-judge-forges-tribal-sentencing/2016/05/14/.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Janelle Smith, Note, Peacemaking Circles: The “Original” Dispute Resolution of Aboriginal People Emerges as the “New” Alternative Dispute Resolution Process, 24 Hamline J. Pub. L. & Pol’y 329, 340 (2003).

[15] Id. (quoting Kay Pranis, Restorative Justice: Peacemaking Circles, Corrections Today, at 2 (Dec. 1997)).

[16] Id.

[17] Katherine Beaty Chiste, The Origins of Modern Restorative Justice: Five Examples from the English-Speaking World, 46 U.B.C. L. Rev. 33, 54 (2013).

[18] Id.

[19] Id. at 54–55.

[20] Id. at 57.

[21] Id.

[22] Id.

[23] Id.

[24] Kevin Libin, Sentencing circles for aboriginals: Good justice?, Nat’l Post (Feb. 27, 2009), http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Sentencing+circles+aboriginals+Good+justice/1337495/story.html.

[25] Id.

[26] Id.

[27] Id.

[28] Erik Luna & Barton Poulson, Sentencing Guideline Law and Practice in a Post-Booker World: Rethinking Sentencing Post-Booker: Restorative Justice in Federal Sentencing: An Unexpected Benefit of Booker?, 37 McGeorge L. Rev. 787, 794 (2006).

[29] Id.

[30] Id.

[31] Id.

[32] Id.

[33] Id.

[34] Heino Lilles, Circle Sentencing: Part of the Restorative Justice Continuum, Int’l Inst. for Restorative Practices (Aug. 9, 2002), https://www.iirp.edu/news/circle-sentencing-part-of-the-restorative-justice-continuum.

[35] Id.

[36] Id.

[37] Id.

[38] Id.

[39] Id. But see supra note 28, at 813 suggesting that certain serious crimes may not be appropriate for a sentencing circle.

[40] Id.

[41] Id.

[42] Id.

[43] Luna & Poulson, supra note 28, at 797.

[44] See id. at 799–807.

[45] Douglas A. Berman, Alaska’s interesting experiences with circle sentencing, L. Professor Blogs Network: Sent’g L. and Pol’y (Mar. 17, 2012, 9:22 PM), https://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2012/03/alaskas-interesting-experiences-with-circle-sentencing.html (quoting an article no longer available by the Anchorage Daily News).

[46] Id.

[47] Id.

[48] Id.

[49] Id.

[50] Id.

[51] Id.

[52] Mary Ellen Reimund, The Law and Restorative Justice: Friend or Foe? – A Systemic Look at the Legal Issues in Restorative Justice, 53 Drake L. Rev. 667, 678 (2005) (citing Minn. Stat. Ann. §611A.775 (West 2003)).

[53] Id. at 678–79.

[54] Id.

[55] State v. Pearson, 637 N.W.2d 845, 848-49 (Minn. 2002); see also id.

[56] Reimund, supra note 52, at 679.

[57] South Saint Paul Restorative Justice Council, About, Facebook (last accessed Dec. 18, 2019), https://www.facebook.com/pg/SSPRJ/about/?ref=page_internal.

[58] Amber Massey, An Eye for an Eye Will Make the Whole World Blind: How Restorative Justice Will Help Florida See Again, 43 Nova L. Rev. 79, 93-94 (2018).

[59] Id.

[60] Id. at 94.

[61] Id.

[62] Id. As of 2018, this remains the only instance in which restorative justice was used in a Florida criminal case. Id. at 93.

[63] Id.

[64] Id.

[65] Id.

[66] Id.

[67] Id.

[68] The Ohio State Bar Assoc. & The Ohio State Bar Found., The Law & You: A Legal Handbook for Ohio Consumers and Journalists 30 (14th ed. 2012).

[69] Id. at 29–30.

[70] Id. at 40.

[71] Id.

[72] Id.

[73] Id.

[74] Id.

[75] Id. at 46.

[76] Id. at 48.

[77] Id. at 46.

[78] Id.

[79] Id.

[80] Id. at 46–47.

[81] Id. at 47.

[82] Id. at 48.

[83] Id. at 48–49.

[84] Id. at 51.

[85] Randy Ludlow, Review of Ohio’s Criminal Sentencing Seeks Balance Between Punishment, Rehabilitation, The Columbus Dispatch (Nov. 27, 2017), https://www.dispatch.com/news/20171127/review-of-ohios-criminal-sentencing-seeks-balance-between-punishment-rehabilitation.

[86] Id.

[87] Id.

[88] Sara Andrews, Sentencing in the Heartland: A Perspective from Ohio, 30 Fed. Sent. R. 94, 100 (2017).

[89] Criminal Division, Franklin Cty. Prosecuting Att’y, https://prosecutor.franklincountyohio.gov/criminal-division. (last visited Apr. 17, 2020).

[90] Id.

[91] Id.

[92] Diversion Unit, Franklin Cty. Prosecuting Att’y, https://prosecutor.franklincountyohio.gov/criminal-division/diversion-unit. (last visited Apr. 17, 2020).

[93] Id.

[94] Id.

[95] Id.

[96] Intake, Diversion, and Unruly/Incorrigible Youth Programs Overview, Franklin Cty. Ct. of Common Pleas Domestic Rel. and Juv. Div., https://drj.fccourts.org/DRJ.aspx?PN=Intake_and_Diversion.htm. (last visited Dec. 18, 2019).

[97] Id.

[98] Id.

[99] Id.

[100] Id.

[101] Id.

[102] Restorative Justice Circles Program, Franklin Cty. Ct. of Common Pleas Domestic Rel. and Juv. Div., https://drj.fccourts.org/DRJ.aspx?PN=Restorative_Justice_Circles.htm. (last visited Dec. 18, 2019).

[103] Id.

[104] Id.

[105] Id.

[106] Id.

[107] Id.

[108] Id.

[109] Id.

[110] Id.

[111] Luna, supra note 28, at 798.

[112] See supra note 102.

[113] Luna, supra note 28, at 798.

[114] Id. at 814.

[115] Id. at 813–14.

[116] Lilles, supra note 34; see also Restorative Justice Circles Program, supra note 102.

[117] See Restorative Justice Circles Program, supra note 102.

[118] See Chiste, supra note 17, at 57.

[119] See Reimund, supra note 52, at 678; Lilles, supra note 34.

[120] See Luna, supra note 28, at 799–807.

[121] Id. at 813.

[122] Id. at 814.

[123] Id.

[124] Id. at 815.

[125] Id.

[126] See Massey, supra note 58 (discussing Conor McBride’s sentence which involved consideration of both sentencing guidelines and sentencing circle recommendations).

[127] See Chiste, supra note 17, at 57.

[128] Luna, supra note 28, at 796.