Understanding Judges' Choices of Sentence Types As Interpretative Work: An Explorative Study in a Dutch Police Court

Recht der werkelijkheid, 37(1): 32-49, 2016

16 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2016

See all articles by Peter Mascini

Peter Mascini

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Law; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of Social Sciences

Irene van Oorschot

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Faculty of Social Sciences

Don Weenink

University of Amsterdam

Gratiella Schippers

Independent

Date Written: June 8, 2016

Abstract

This article critically evaluates the prevailing factor-oriented (e.g. a priori defined legal and extralegal characteristics of defendants) approach in analyses of judicial decision-making. Rather than assuming such factors, we aim to demonstrate how Dutch judges engage in interpretative work to arrive at various sentence types. In their interpretative work, judges attempt to weigh and compare various legal and extralegal features of defendants. Importantly, they do so in the context of the case as a whole, which means that these features do not have independent or fixed meanings. Judges select and weigh information to create an image of defendants’ redeemability. However, extralegal concerns other than redeemability also inform judges’ decisions. We argue that studying the naturally occurring interpretative work of judges results in a better understanding of judicial decision-making than outcome-oriented studies, which view criminal cases as collections of independent legal and extralegal factors.

Keywords: Judicial decision-making, sentencing type, (ir)redeemability, whole case approach

JEL Classification: D73, K10, K40

Suggested Citation

Mascini, Peter and van Oorschot, Irene and Weenink, Don and Schippers, Gratiella, Understanding Judges' Choices of Sentence Types As Interpretative Work: An Explorative Study in a Dutch Police Court (June 8, 2016). Recht der werkelijkheid, 37(1): 32-49, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2792327 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2792327

Peter Mascini (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Law ( email )

Office: Sanders building, L7-23
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
0031 622498090 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.eur.nl/people/peter-mascini/

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of Social Sciences ( email )

Mandeville building, T7-18
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
0031622498090 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.eur.nl/people/peter-mascini/

Irene Van Oorschot

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Faculty of Social Sciences ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062
Netherlands

Don Weenink

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Gratiella Schippers

Independent

No Address Available

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