Psychological Tip #1 for Attorneys: Timing is everything in court

Although Judges are trained to be neutral parties in the courtroom and one would assume they are in complete control of their decision-making process, studies have shown that there are several factors (which attorneys can often subtly manipulate) in order to help tip the scales during difficult trials.

A large research study in Ireland analyzed the results of 1,112 parole board hearings, as they relate to the time of day in which they occurred. The results were astonishing: 

Researchers clearly identified a pattern in which the judges were substantially more likely to rule in favor of the defendants whose cases were heard immediately after breakfast or immediately after lunch (in about 65% of the cases).

The defendants whose cases were not heard until the very end of the day were denied parole in nearly every case analyzed.

One theory behind this phenomenon is that mental energy and willpower are limited resources and even judges only have the ability to maintain control of these internal influencers for so long. This means that when judges are tired, hungry, or burnt out from a long day, they tend to fall back on “safer”, “default rulings” that require far less mental energy to come up with. 

The bottom line: If you are representing a client that needs the “long shot” or out-of-the-box ruling, if given the option, attempt to schedule your hearing right after lunch. However, if you are the attorney who is looking for the “safer” or “default ruling”, attempt to schedule the hearing right before lunch, or at the very end of the day.

For more tips like these, check out our blog and schedule a consultation With our forensic psychologist and trial consultant, Dr. Kristin Tolbert. 

We are conveniently located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, less than one mile off of I-95 on Northlake Blvd. We regularly assist attorneys throughout Palm Beach County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County, Florida, and we are willing to travel anywhere within United States. 

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