Extraneous factors in judicial decisions

  title={Extraneous factors in judicial decisions},
  author={Shai Danziger and Jonathan Levav and Liora Avnaim-Pesso},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  pages={6889 - 6892}
Are judicial rulings based solely on laws and facts? Legal formalism holds that judges apply legal reasons to the facts of a case in a rational, mechanical, and deliberative manner. In contrast, legal realists argue that the rational application of legal reasons does not sufficiently explain the decisions of judges and that psychological, political, and social factors influence judicial rulings. We test the common caricature of realism that justice is “what the judge ate for breakfast” in… Expand

Figures, Tables, and Topics from this paper

Judging the Judiciary by the Numbers: Empirical Research on Judges
Do judges make decisions that are truly impartial? A wide range of experimental and field studies reveal that several extralegal factors influence judicial decision making. DemographicExpand
Do Judges Actually Care About the Law? Evidence from Circuit Split Data
A central debate among scholars of judicial decisionmaking is whether judges are merely political actors that vote based on their policy preferences or legal actors that try to identify the “correct”Expand
Does introducing lay people in criminal courts affect judicial decisions? Evidence from French reform
What is the effect of introducing jury members in criminal courts? While surveys regularly point out a demand by citizens for harsher punishment, the differences between surveys’ and real decisions’Expand
Judicial Incentives and Performance at Lower Courts: Evidence from Slovenian Judge-Level Data
Empirical studies of judicial behavior using judge-level data are scarce and almost exclusively focused on higher court judges in the U.S. The majority of disputes in any legal system, however, areExpand
On Getting Inside the Judge’s Mind
According to the scales of justice, the judge, in an unbiased way and directed by law, attends to all of the available information in a case, weighs it according to its significance, and integratesExpand
Doctrinal Reasoning as a Disruptive Practice
  • Jessie Allen
  • Psychology, Political Science
  • Journal of Law and Courts
  • 2018
Legal doctrine is generally thought to contribute to legal decision-making only to the extent it determines substantive results. Yet in many cases, the available authorities are indeterminate. IExpand
Judicial Errors: Evidence from Refugee Appeals
Judges with the same overall conviction rate may convict different defendants, which has important implications for the fairness and efficiency of the judicial system. I show how this notion ofExpand
Judicial Decision-Making From An Empirical Perspective
ABSTRACT The traditional theories of judicial decision-making have their differences set around the importance of logical, rule-bound, and step-by-step reasoning. For legal formalists, judicialExpand
Gender bias and judicial decisions of undue influence in testamentary challenges.
The results suggest that probate rulings involving undue influence are likely to represent a complex interaction of factors involving the testator's and judge's genders and the specifics of individual cases. Expand
Vacancy in Justice: Analyzing the Impact of Overburdened Judges on Sentencing Decisions
Policymakers and scholars repeatedly warn that frequent and persistent judicial vacancies pose one of the greatest threats to the federal judiciary by overburdening judges. Scholars, in turn, areExpand


Playing Dice With Criminal Sentences: The Influence of Irrelevant Anchors on Experts’ Judicial Decision Making
Judicial sentencing decisions should be guided by facts, not by chance, but the sentencing decisions of experienced legal professionals are influenced by irrelevant sentencing demands even if they are blatantly determined at random. Expand
The Psychology of Trial Judging
Trial court judges play a crucial role in the administration of justice for both criminal and civil matters. Although psychologists have studied juries for many decades, they have paid relativelyExpand
Blinking on the Bench: How Judges Decide Cases
How do judges judge? Do they apply law to facts in a mechanical and deliberative way, as the formalists suggest they do, or do they rely on hunches and gut feelings, as the realists maintain? DebateExpand
Inside the Judicial Mind
The quality of the judicial system depends upon the quality of decisions that judges make. Even the most talented and dedicated judges surely make occasional mistakes, but the public understandablyExpand
Judges' Race and Judicial Decision Making: Do Black Judges Sentence Differently?
Objective. This study examines the effects of race of judge on sentencing decisions. Do black judges sentence offenders more severely/leniently than white judges, and do they use similar/differentExpand
Overlooked factors in the analysis of parole decisions
Using the same decision rules as Danziger et al., the authors' data indicate that unrepresented prisoners account for about one-third of all cases, but they prevail only 15% of the time, whereas prisoners with counsel prevail at a 35% rate. Expand
Let My People Go: Ethnic In-Group Bias in Judicial Decisions - Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment
Does ethnic identity affect judicial decisions? We provide new evidence on ethnic biases in judicial behavior by examining the decisions of Arab and Jewish judges in first bail hearings of Arab andExpand
Psychological Models of Professional Decision Making
  • M. Dhami
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Psychological science
  • 2003
In both courts, a simple heuristic proved to be a better predictor of judicial decisions than a more complex model that instantiated the principles of due process. Expand
Policies , Processes , and Decisions of the Criminal Justice System
Over the past 20 years, the United States has experienced a massive increase in imprisonment. The number of people incarcerated and the clustering of that incarceration in the inner-city blackExpand
The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory
Notes on Contributors. Introduction: William A. Edmundson (Georgia State University). Part I: Contending Schools of Thought:. 1. Legal Positivism: Brian H. Bix (University of Minnesota). 2. NaturalExpand