- Bestraffing van cocaïnesmokkelaars: richtlijnen, rechters, rechtbanken en de persoon van de dader
- Tijdschrift voor Criminologie
- Volume | Issue number
- 52 | 3
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
In the Netherlands, the number of cocaine traffickers arrested at Schiphol International Airport peaked in 2003. In May 2003, sentencing guidelines regarding cocaine traffickers were redefined into a smaller number of categories (wider quantity ranges, less specified offender categories) with lower sentences than before. New guidelines allowed criminal courts more flexibility, and judges were expected to sentence cocaine traffickers more often than before in accordance with guidelines. All cases, at all four applicable criminal courts, against cocaine traffickers that had been arrested at Schiphol in 2003 were analyzed (877 simple court and 994 full court cases). In between 30 and 40 percent of cases sentences were not according to the guidelines (mostly lower), and even more frequently than before the new guidelines had been introduced. Experience as a judge (number of years) was not associated with keeping up with guidelines, but male judges sentenced suspects more often than female judges in discordance with guidelines (and consequently below guidelines). In line with American literature, personal characteristics of suspects appeared strong predictors of the extent judges conformed to sentencing guidelines. Female offenders were twice as often as male offenders sentenced lower than the guidelines. The same result was found for offenders born or living in the Netherlands, versus migrants and offenders living abroad.
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