Beware the hungry judge!

By Razib Khan | April 14, 2011 5:12 pm

This is a datum which you can dine out on, The Bias You Didn’t Expect:

It turns out that legal realism is totally wrong. It’s not what the judge had for breakfast. It’s how recently the judge had breakfast. A a new study (media coverage) on Israeli judges shows that, when making parole decisions, they grant about 65% after meal breaks, and almost all the way down to 0% right before breaks and at the end of the day (i.e. as far from the last break as possible). There’s a relatively linear decline between the two points.

  • fish

    Or is that they put the worst cases off to the end of the day? Interesting study though.

  • Georg

    Lucky that those judges are not cannibals :=)

  • crf

    So the defence council should give the judge a lollipop?

  • Urstoff

    I recently heard a lawyer speaking on some program (TAL, maybe) that she makes sure to never schedule cross examinations after lunch since she’s not nearly as aggressive on a full stomach as she is on an empty one. If she can’t control the scheduling, she skips lunch.

  • jay

    On a similar vein, I’ve wondered about the effects of few or no smoke breaks on the attitudes of jurors during deliberations (I’m a non smoker but I have experience with the grumpiness of deprived smokers). Certainly I would want my jurors to have all the smoke breaks they wanted


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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