Research

Judges are more lenient after lunch

April 19, 2011 1825

Miller-McCune magazine reports on a new study examining rulings made by Israeli parole board judges in relation to when they had taken a meal break. The study found that a judge who has just taken a break or eaten a meal is significantly more likely to grant a defendant’s request than a judge who is hungry or tired.

In addition to showing up on time and not wearing loud ties, criminal defense attorneys would do well to think about the care and feeding of the judges who hear their clients’ cases.

A hungry, tired judge, it turns out, is much less likely to grant a defendant’s request than one who has just eaten or taken a break. At least that’s the finding of an ingenious new study looking at the rulings made by Israeli parole board judges in relation to when they had taken a meal break.

Overall, prisoners saw a 65 percent success rate if their cases were heard early in the workday or immediately after a judge had eaten, but the number of requests granted dropped to nearly zero just before a break period and at the end of the day.

“This is a pretty stark demonstration of how arbitrary things can be,” says co-author Jonathan Levav,  an associate professor at the Columbia Business School. “On the one hand, it confirms our intuition, and on the other hand it’s terrifying.”

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at 1,112 judicial rulings made by eight Israeli parole board judges over a 10-month period. Each judge heard between 14 and 35 cases in a day and took mid-morning and mid-afternoon meal breaks. The data included the time of day at which the prisoner’s request was considered and its place in the day’s docket.

The full article is available here.

One of Library Journal’s Best Magazines of 2008, Miller-McCune not only identifies policy issues of global important but provides evidence-based solutions offered by academic research and real-world models. Through excellent but understandable writing and proven judgment in what to cover, the nonprofit Miller-McCune has received a surprising amount of acclaim and, more importantly, a large and growing audience interested in the social and natural sciences.

View all posts by Pacific-Standard Magazine

Related Articles

Analyzing the Impact: Social Media and Mental Health 
Research
May 15, 2024

Analyzing the Impact: Social Media and Mental Health 

Read Now
Free Online Course Reveals The Art of ChatGPT Interactions
Resources
March 28, 2024

Free Online Course Reveals The Art of ChatGPT Interactions

Read Now
Apply for Sage’s 2024 Concept Grants
Announcements
March 7, 2024

Apply for Sage’s 2024 Concept Grants

Read Now
New Podcast Series Applies Social Science to Social Justice Issues
Impact
February 28, 2024

New Podcast Series Applies Social Science to Social Justice Issues

Read Now
New Dataset Collects Instances of ‘Contentious Politics’ Around the World

New Dataset Collects Instances of ‘Contentious Politics’ Around the World

The European Research Center is funding the Global Contentious Politics Dataset, or GLOCON, a state-of-the-art automated database curating information on political events — including confrontations, political turbulence, strikes, rallies, and protests

Read Now
The Risks Of Using Research-Based Evidence In Policymaking

The Risks Of Using Research-Based Evidence In Policymaking

With research-based evidence increasingly being seen in policy, we should acknowledge that there are risks that the research or ‘evidence’ used isn’t suitable or can be accidentally misused for a variety of reasons. 

Read Now
Fake News, Misinformation Focus of New Microsite

Fake News, Misinformation Focus of New Microsite

A new Information Literacy Microsite from sage can be your new home for pressing research on the digital age and the ways to combat mis-, dis-, and misinformation.

Read Now
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments