When arguing on the basis of proportionality of punishment, people tend to question the effect of mercy on justice, whether mercy makes victims receive more punishment in legal the system than they deserve or that people receive less punishment than they deserve. This is because when mercy is considered in the process of delivering justice, it would either lead to a sentence being either lower than deserving of a victim or make a victim get lesser sentence than a crime deserves. This dilemma has made many question the appropriateness of fusing justice with mercy and thus tempering justice with mercy. Whiles some reason that mercy is necessary in ensuring that people receive the most proportionate form of punishment due to the nature and circumstances surrounding their crime, there are others who have said that mercy often make people take less than they deserve for their crime and thus serve as an indictment on the legal system.
In this paper, the issue of tempering justice with mercy is given a very critical and well researched overview. This is because it is commonly thought that if judges in criminal cases are obliged to do justice, justice must always be allowed to prevail without any disruptions with mercy. In the same manner, prosecutors and parole boards are expected to exercise discretion with maximum justice.