Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Justice requires a good breakfast

The WSJ reports:
If you have to face a judge, try for first thing in the morning or right after lunch. A new study suggests that is when judges are most lenient.

Seeking to test the idea that justice depends on "what the judge ate for breakfast," researchers studied 1,112 rulings by Israeli judges who were presiding over boards deciding whether to grant parole to prisoners.

"We find that the likelihood of a favorable ruling is greater at the very beginning of the work day or after a food break than later in the sequence of cases," the researchers report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They found that at the beginning of a court session, about 65% of the rulings tended to be in favor of the prisoner, but the chance of a favorable ruling declined to near zero by the end of the session. After a break for a meal, favorable rulings for the prisoners jumped back up to about 65%, and then began declining again. ...

When people are making a lot of decisions in a row, they look for ways to simplify the process when they get mentally tired, he said, and the easiest thing is to maintain the status quo—that is, leave the prisoner in jail.
My next court appearance is schedule right before lunch. Maybe I should try to get is rescheduled for after lunch.

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