The Judicial Branch: A Partner in the Business of Governing Security?

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This paper concerns the role of the judiciary in the governance of security. Using the concept of governance of security as perceived by Johnston and Shearing, the question rises whether reducing a complex of governing functions and strategies, including courts and judges, to a ‘simple, generic type’ might result in a denial of their specificities. In actually describing the big picture of the governance of security, Johnston and Shearing seem to leave the question unanswered whether the ‘mentalities, procedures, structures, rules and practices’ of the respective institutions must be considered relevant factors. Because of the judiciary’s principal commitment to the Rule of Law and the democratic society it is associated with, an analysis of the role of the judiciary in governing security might give some insight in the relevance of the Rule of Law to the concept of nodal governance and the governance of security. By pointing out some partnership-practices from the judiciary, in particular with regard to judicial activities on improving consistency in sentencing, this paper explores in essence that very question: the relationship between the governance of security, nodal governance and the judiciary from the perspective of the Rule of Law.

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De discussie over de rechterlijke organisatie in Nederland kenmerkt zich de laatste jaren door een grote aandacht voor aspecten als transparantie, effectiviteit en efficientie. Tegelijkertijd dient met het oog op de legitimiteit van de rechtspraak aandacht te blijven voor het behoud van verworven rechtsstatelijke waarborgen van rechterlijke onafhankelijkheid en onpartijdigheid. De recente moderniseringsdebatten in Nederland, en ook in andere moderne rechtsstaten, komen hiermee in het teken te staan van het vinden van een nieuw evenwicht van uitgangspunten voor de rechterlijke organisatie. In dit boek wordt de discussie over de modernisering van de rechterlijke organisatie in Nederland, Frankrijk en Duitsland geanalyseerd vanuit een constitutioneel perspectief. Beoogd wordt aan te geven welke plaats nieuwe kwaliteitseisen - dat wil zeggen 'new public management'-beginselen - in het constitutionele kader innemen ten opzichte van klassiek-rechtsstatelijke beginselen. Een rechtsvergelijkende analyse biedt aanknopingspunten om het constitutionele afwegingskader van beginselen in kaart te brengen en de implicaties voor de invoering van nieuwe oplossingen voor de rechterlijke organisatie te schetsen.
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Modern – or so-called ‘new’ - judiciaries are more active in the field of law-making than they used to be. It is argued that this calls for new checks and balances. New forms of public, social accountability are warranted to enable public scrutiny. This contribution discusses and analyses the efforts of some judiciaries in Europe and the US to open up and work more transparently and thus further so-called soft public accountability. To this end, the paper looks into the different legal regimes of access to information pertaining to information held and produced by courts and the law on public hearing and public pronouncement of judgments. The paper does not stop at an inventory of the different legal regimes but it compares and analyses the way in which judiciaries in different countries tackle the demand for information about cases, case-related or court-related issues (i.e. the information-provision policies) as well. From these policies on information provision we may read how different courts themselves cope with the demand for public accountability. In conclusion the question is tackled whether and to what extent these information-provision policies, as methods of soft accountability, contribute to the legitimacy of the judiciary.
Tolerance as a way to defer negative reactions to things that are not morally approved is a core characteristic of Dutch society. Since the 1970s tolerance has had important manifestations in cultural and legal settings. In Dutch criminal justice policy, tolerance not only refers generally to leniency regarding (petty) crime but also means that government in some circumstances does not prosecute specified infractions of statutory law. This tradition made possible distinctive Dutch ways of handling problems such as drugs, prostitution, and euthanasia. Dutch tolerance makes it possible to differentiate between dangerous and less dangerous forms of questionable behavior and to focus less on moral judgments. Tolerance has not impeded efforts against organized crime, nor has it much influenced levels of drug abuse or medical end-of-life decisions. Dutch policies in some of these fields are more effective than those in other Western countries. Rising criticism of legal tolerance coincides with a decline of cultural tolerance in general. Some blame official tolerance for recent ethnic difficulties involving the rapidly growing Muslim minority.
Judicial independence is traditionally deemed to ensure citizens about the impartiality of adjudication and, by doing so, to guarantee the legitimacy of the authoritative allocation of power that is exercised by a non-elective actor, that is, the judge. However, despite its relevance, this concept in itself cannot cast a proper light on the dynamics and the logics of action judicial actors follow in prosecuting and adjudicating cases. In this paper, the author retains this judicial accountability, with its multiple dimensions, and argues that this may provide promising insights on judicial governance and, accordingly, on the type of constitutionalism exhibited by a country or, as proved in the last section of the paper, in a multilevel system of governance, as the EU. Th e paper associates the reconstruction of judicial governance with the assessment of democratic quality.
This PhD project explores the possibility of creating a normative way of assessing quality of the judicial organisation by arguing that legitimacy is related to the functioning of the organisation. This further leads to the idea that the judiciary can be held constitutionally accountable for its organisation or lack thereof. This is a comparative thesis looking at the judicial organisations and the constitutional settings of France and the Netherlands. The issue of quantifying and measuring quality in the judicial organisation poses an interesting challenge. On the one hand, it has a special status within the separation of powers to uphold the law. In a constitutional state (rechtsstaat) based on a democracy, the checks and balances have been set out to protect judicial independence whilst finding legally conventional ways to hold members of the judiciary to account for the exercise of their power. For the last two centuries, the system has held the three powers in balance in order to protect people from arbitrary abuse of power. Legality has always been the basis upon which public organisations make decisions in a democracy. The same is said for the judiciary. So long as judges followed rules of procedure, no matter how long it took, and how easily manipulated (by lawyers), they were judges were acting within the bounds of legality (due process). This was (and still is) valid in the days of corrupt and partial officials, or of the days of bureaucracy, when there were so many rules that the protection that due process should have afforded was failing and red tape hid the actions of state officials. On the other hand, the judiciary is an organisation with limited resources to fulfil their tasks. Given the fact that their organisation has been ignored due to judicial independence, judiciaries throughout Europe have had to cope with growing caseloads and no organisational solution. Today, therefore, there is a new organisational enemy: ineffectiveness through failure of the organisation to act efficiently. Resources and use thereof are not the only issue in policy today: there is also an issue of timeliness. In the sphere in which the judiciary acts, this is essential as their judgments must be relevant at the time that they are issued. If judgments do not give solutions to problems at the time they are needed, they lack legitimacy. If judgments lack legitimacy, then the judiciary begins to lose the trust of the public. From this thesis, it would appear that quality theories support the function of justice and provide transparent methods for organisation. Furthermore, as regards the organisation, quality methods appear to have given the judiciary in both countries the possibility to examine in closer detail the elements involved in the delivery of effective justice.
This study explores the impact of truth-in-sentencing (TIS) legislation on police, prosecutors, and criminals. Truth-in-sentencing laws are determinate-sentencing laws that require violent offenders to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences. The standard economic model of crime suggests that TIS laws will deter violent offenders but also reduce probabilities of arrest and conviction. However, I explain that if states share the goals of TIS legislation, police and prosecutors may increase these probabilities. My theoretical model also predicts that the legislation will cause more trials and impose higher maximum prison sentences. Using a county-level data set, empirical results confirm that TIS laws deter violent offenders, increase the probability of arrest, and increase maximum imposed prison sentences. Truth-in-sentencing laws decrease murders by 16 percent, aggravated assaults by 12 percent, robberies by 24 percent, rapes by 12 percent, and larcenies by 3 percent. However, offenders substitute into property crimes: burglaries increase by 20 percent and auto thefts by 15 percent. Copyright 2002 by the University of Chicago.
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