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Judicial bias may lead to bad decisions

On Behalf of The Foley Law Firm | November 6, 2019

For people facing criminal charges in Colorado, the idea that the judge presiding over the case might be biased can be frightening. Judges are simply people, though, and they bring their biases into the courtroom more than those in the legal profession would like to admit. Indeed, research has shown that a person's belief in his or her objectivity might actually increase the likelihood of a biased outcome. A criminal defense lawyer might be able to overcome judicial or institutional bias on behalf of a client and get a fair trial.

Advances in neuroscience have demonstrated that people are more influenced by the subconscious mind than they are aware. The subconscious often steps in and takes over to make people behave in ways that the conscious mind would not agreed with. There has been research performed in courtroom settings as well, and it indicates that judicial bias can impact the outcome of criminal cases.

Black defendants, for example, have been shown to receive harsher sentences, including longer periods of incarceration and more frequent death penalties. Research has shown that judges rely on intuition more often than they rely on deliberate, analytical processes, possibly leading to biased decisions. Personal and institutional diligence may work to alleviate the problem of bias in courtroom decision-making, but it remains a potential problem in criminal proceedings.

In cases where a person has been charged with a crime, a lawyer might be able to help by examining the evidence advanced by the prosecution and looking for weaknesses in the prosecution narrative. Where the evidence appears to be strong,, lawyer might be able to negotiate a plea deal in exchange for reduced charges.

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