Criminal Sentencing and Appeals


Welcome to LawShelf’s video-course on criminal sentencing and appeals. This course focuses on the post-verdict phase in criminal cases from sentencing through appeals. This is an introductory level course in criminal procedure, and no prior knowledge or experience is required.

Our first module presents a survey on the different types of sentences, including plea-bargains, diversion, fines, probation, community service, house arrest and incarceration. We will also look at sentencing structure, including discussions of concurrent and consecutive sentencing, split sentences and suspended sentences.

We will then turn to sentencing procedure. Module 2 looks at the sentencing hearing and the statements by various parties, including the prosecution, defense counsel, the defendant, witnesses and victims. We’ll also look at the pre-sentence report and the role it plays in many sentencing procedures. We’ll also discuss the roles of victim impact statements and when and for what they are appropriate.

Module 3 covers the statutory bases for sentencing. We’ll look at statutory sentences, including prescribed minimums, maximums and the landscape of the judge’s discretion in sentencing. We’ll also focus on the role and mechanics of the federal sentencing guidelines.

In Modules 4 and 5, we’ll turn to appeals. Module 4 covers the right to appeal, types of appellate review and the applicable standards of review. We’ll look at de novo, abuse of discretion and review for “clear error.” We’ll also cover the types of errors that can or must lead to reversal and the “plain error” rule. We’ll also look at habeas corpus. While not direct appeals, habeas petitions present collateral bases for appeal.

In Module 5, we’ll look at appellate procedure. We’ll cover the final judgment rule and when interlocutory appeals are allowed. We’ll also discuss when, where and how appeals must be filed. We’ll cover the procedures of writing briefs, conducting oral arguments and the issuance of appellate decisions. Finally, we’ll outline the possible results of appellate proceedings.

By completing this course, you should acquire a better understanding of the processes that follow criminal convictions in the criminal justice system. We hope that you will take advantage, as well, of our other criminal law and procedure courses.

Best of luck and please let us know if you have any questions or feedback.


Sentencing Options - Module 1 of 5


Sentencing Procedure - Module 2 of 5


Sentencing Statutes and Guidelines - Module 3 of 5


The Right to Appeal - Module 4 of 5


Appellate Procedure - Module 5 of 5

Final Exam only needs to be taken by those seeking to earn the Digital Badge credentials for this course.