“Quarterbacking from the bench”

Interesting article on factors effecting judge’s decisions – in this case, whether their alma mater LSU won or lost an important game the week before. Bad news from the study – which analyzed more than 8,000 cases – for both the defendants who appeared after a loss, and for the idea of judicial impartiality. The article has strong connections to other, perhaps more striking studies on the impact of implicit bias on both judging and prosecutorial discretion:

“Robert J. Smith and Justin D. Levinson, “The Impact of Implicit Racial Bias on the Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion,” Seattle University Law Review, 35 (2012): 806, http://bit.ly/1jEkffp, citing Task Force on Race and the Criminal Justice System, “Preliminary Report on Race and Washington’s Criminal Justice System,” Seattle University Law Review, 35 (2012): 647, http://bit.ly/KQHUxg. “‘[E]ven after legally relevant factors . . . are taken into account,’ racial differences affect how cases are processed: whites are less likely to have charges filed against them.” Smith and Levinson also state, “Similarly, prosecutors have been shown to charge white and black defendants differently in homicide cases. See, Michael L. Radelet and Glenn L. Pierce, “Race and Prosecutorial Discretion in Homicide Cases,” Law and Society Review, 19 (1985): 587, http://bit.ly/19QoljK (finding that the race of the defendant and victim mattered in charging decisions in Florida).”

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