We analyze judicial policy lines concerning the punishment of environmental crime using a unique
European dataset of individual criminal cases, including case-specific information on offenses and offenders.
We investigate policy choices made by lower criminal courts, as well as their follow-up by the relevant
court of appeal. The sanctioning policy of the courts has proven to be varied as well as consistent. Judges
carefully balance effective and suspended penalties, most often using them cumulatively, but in specific
cases opting to use them as substitutes. Overall, both judges in lower and appeal courts balance environmental
law and classic criminal law and aim at protecting individuals and their possessions as well as the