American Judges Association



Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 49, Issue 3 (2013)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


This is the second of two Court Review issues devoted to judicial decision making. The prior issue began with the American Judges Association’s 2012 white paper on judicial decision making, which reviewed the science of decision making, some common problems that judges may have in processing information, and some suggestions about how judges might become more “mindful.” The issue also contained an article considering the emotions judges deal with in doing their jobs, along with strategies judges might use to better regulate their emotions. And the issue included an article about how judges use heuristics (cognitive shortcuts or rules of thumb), often without conscious thought, and how that may led to errors.

This issue begins with a question that judges face in courtrooms daily: Can we tell the difference between the truth and a lie? Richard Schauffler, Director of Research Services at the National Center for State Courts, and Minneapolis Judge Kevin Burke explore this question from the judge’s perspective. They review the literature on whether we can be trained to tell who’s lying (the short answer is no) and then discuss what judges might do to perform better. Schauffler and Burke conclude with three specific suggestions for judges.