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Artikel

Understanding judges’ choices of sentence types as interpretative work: An explorative study in a Dutch police court

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 1 2016
Trefwoorden Judicial decision-making, sentencing type, (ir)redeemability, whole case approach
Auteurs Peter Mascini, Irene van Oorschot PhD, Assistant professor Don Weenink e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    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.


Peter Mascini
Peter Mascini holds a chair in Empirical Legal Studies at the Erasmus School of Law of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, where he is also associate professor of sociology at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. His research focuses on the legitimization, implementation, and enforcement of laws and policies.

Irene van Oorschot PhD
Irene van Oorschot is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of the Social Sciences at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and will soon start as a postdoctoral researcher at the Anthropology Department of the University of Amsterdam. Drawing on actor network theory and feminist studies of knowledge, her research focuses on legal and scientific modes of truth-production.

Assistant professor Don Weenink
Don Weenink is assistant professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He has published work on, among other subjects, ethnic inequalities in judicial sentencing.

Gratiëlla Schippers
Gratiëlla Schippers has studied Sociology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. For her master thesis she has done research about the understanding of judges’ choices of sentence types.

Nina Holvast
Nina Holvast is promovenda bij de Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid van de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Ze doet onderzoek naar de rol en invloed van juridische ondersteuning op het rechterlijk besluitvormingsproces. Daarnaast geeft ze onderwijs, onder andere het vak Recht en Menselijk Gedrag.
Artikel

Van besluit tot beslechting: ervaringen van burgers met de bezwaarprocedure

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 1 2011
Trefwoorden objection procedure, procedural justice, citizens’ experiences, qualitative study
Auteurs Mirjan Oude Vrielink en Boudewijn de Waard
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The GALA lays down general rules that in principle apply to the entire field of administrative law. If a decision by an administrative body can be appealed to a court, the general rule is that an objection procedure must be followed before the matter can be taken to court. Recently, research has been conducted to survey citizens’ experiences before and during objection procedures, as well as factors influencing these experiences. The research was divided into a quantitative research and a subsequent qualitative study to gain insight into the underlying mechanisms. The article reports about the major findings of the qualitative study.
    On the whole, the interviewees appreciated their treatment at the hearing. They indicated that they were able to expound their position (voice), that their arguments were taken seriously (trustworthiness), and that they were treated with respect (interpersonal respect). On these elements, the qualitative study paints a slightly rosier picture than the quantitative study.
    The most critical comments on the hearing we recorded concerned the attitude of those representing the administrative authority in cases that were considered by an independent committee. That attitude was often judged to be rigid and the respondents were annoyed by the appearance at the hearing of (‘yet’) another official than the one(s) they had previously been in contact with.
    Many administrative bodies have chosen to use an informal approach which implies the use of mediation skills, after an objection has been lodged. When informal resolution was attempted, the response of the interviewees concerned was by no means invariably positive, and in some cases even distinctly negative.
    The interviews showed that the objectors would have preferred to have had more information about the actual objection procedure in detail and in advance. A number of interviewees indicated that they felt very uncomfortable when certain procedural aspects were sprung on them, such as the presence of the opposing party (which they had not expected) and a medical examination being carried out. Ambiance matters. It was found that the perceived level of treatment could be influenced by subtle expressions of social etiquette. The research shows that objectors set great store by a proper reception and value the physical layout of the hearing venue.


Mirjan Oude Vrielink
Mirjan Oude Vrielink is bestuurskundige en promoveerde op een rechtssociologisch proefschrift. Zij werkt als senior onderzoeker aan de Universiteit Twente. In deze functie is zij momenteel betrokken bij twee projecten: ‘Burgers maken hun buurt’ en ‘Evaluatie Wijkcoaches Velve-Lindenhof’. Belangrijke thema’s in haar wetenschappelijke onderzoek zijn burgerparticipatie, zelfregulering en coregulering, horizontale verantwoording, goed bestuur en de rol van professionals. Met B.R. Dorbeck-Jung e.a. publiceerde zij recent het artikel ‘Contested hybridization of regulation: Failures of the Dutch regulatory system to protect minors from harmful media’ (Regulation and Governance 2010-4(2), p. 113-260).

Boudewijn de Waard
Boudewijn de Waard is hoogleraar Staats- en Bestuursrecht aan de Universiteit van Tilburg. Daarvóór was hij verbonden aan de juridische faculteit van de Universiteit van Utrecht (1980-1991), laatstelijk als universitair hoofddocent. Van 1977 tot 1980 was Boudewijn de Waard advocaat te Utrecht.
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