Petty Crime Offenses Coursework

When making a legal determination of a case, a judge has to consider several factors about the defendant before making a ruling. These factors include issues like the defendants past criminal behavior, the possibility of change, legal requirement, and the defendants life (Steele 121). In some situations, the defendants life may predispose him or her to criminal activities. The following discussion analyzes Mary Lee case to determine if she deserves probation or imprisonment and ways a probation officer can help such an individual to change. In addition, the discussion will analyze the moral obligation of the courts or society in ensuring that her criminal conducts and she is successful in life.

Probation or Imprisonment

It is easy for the prosecution, in this case, to request the judge to sentence the defendant due to her criminal behavior. She has failed to change despite the fact that she has been on probation to ensure that she is supported to improve her conducts. The prosecution can argue that there is no possibility for her to change since she has proven that she is a threat to peace in the society (Mendicino 82). However, it is crucial to analyze why she has continued to behave in a criminal manner. The need to offer quality life for her children, pay rent, and live a decent life has forced her to engage in crime (Samaha 109). She got married at a tender age and she did not complete high school, which makes it difficult for her to get a rewarding job. In addition, the fact that she is divorced hence the only breadwinner for her family has forced her to engage in criminal activities. It is my opinion that the defendant should be put on probation since she has , which include the fact that she is making restitution, developing a , and she is providing a for her two children. In addition, if the court sentences her, the children will be taken to foster care, which may cause emotional distress for her and the kids. The court should consider her willingness to change when making its final decision.

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Duties of a Probation Officer

As a probation officer, I will provide counseling to Merry Lee by telling her about my past life. I was also bankrupt after a divorce, but I changed my life through guidance and further studies. I will also inform her about the risk she faces if she continues to engage in criminal activities (Masters 109). I can also help her enroll in school to complete her high school studies. This will ensure that she has a rewarding job and she can even register for college or scholarship. In addition, I will ensure that I meet her weekly to check her progress and deal with her concerns.

Society or Courts Moral Obligation

It is not enough for the society or courts to ask a defendant not to engage in petty larceny. The society should ensure that are provided with other income earning opportunities to prevent them from committing such crimes (Bibas 39). Due to the defendant social status, it is difficult for her not to commit petty crimes since she has to offer quality life for her family. The society should ensure such individuals are supported by changing the social status through education and providing rewarding jobs. The court should also ensure that the probation officer assigned to the case has the skills to change the defendants behavior to avoid future petty crimes (McLaughlin 76).


The Mary Lee case shows how being a victim of circumstances can predispose an individual to criminal conducts. A probation officer should endeavor to change the criminal behavior of an offender by providing guidance and counseling. The society has a moral obligation of supporting petty crime offenders who have been victims of circumstances to change their conduct.

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