Steroids use doesn't influence judges' sentencing
Anabolic steroids users on trial for violent crimes shouldn't think that the judge will consider their habit a mitigating factor that will reduce their sentence. The Australian behavioural scientist Matthew Dunn discovered this when he looked at six trials against steroids users.
In his publication, which appeared recently in Performance Enhancement & Health, Dunn analysed six court cases that took place in the period 2003-2013. Dunn got his legal data from public databases.
All the trials had taken place in the Australian state of Victoria. The offenders were on trial for "assault(1), intentionally causing injury (2), stalking(1), homicide(2), incest(1), theft(1), arson(1) and robbery(1)" and were all anabolic steroids users.
Dunn found no evidence that steroids use was a factor in the heaviness of the judges' sentencing. Sentences were neither lighter nor heavier as a result of the defendants' steroids habit.
The same was the case for a defendant who did not have total control over his actions as a result of a psychiatric disorder, even though the court thought that excessive steroids use had worsened the man's disorder. This made no difference to the sentence the man got.
In two cases the defendants also used other substances, such as alcohol, marijuana and amphetamine. It appears that the judges did take the effect of these drugs into account in their sentencing.
Dunn observed that it may not be possible to extrapolate the results of his study to other regions. In another Australian state, New South Wales, there have been many reports in the media in recent years about the relationship between violence and steroids use. It would be interesting to look at how judges regard steroids use in that state.
Performance Enhancement & Health 5 (2016) 31-3.
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