Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2295033
 


 



Contrition in the Courtroom: Do Apologies Affect Adjudication?


Jeffrey J. Rachlinski


Cornell Law School

Chris Guthrie


Vanderbilt University - Law School

Andrew J. Wistrich


California Central District Court

July 17, 2013

Cornell Law Review, Vol. 98, No. 1189, 2013
Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-90

Abstract:     
Apologies usually help to repair social relationships and appease aggrieved parties. Previous research has demonstrated that in legal settings, apologies influence how litigants and juries evaluate both civil and criminal defendants. Judges, however, routinely encounter apologies offered for instrumental reasons, such as to reduce a civil damage award or fine, or to shorten a criminal sentence. Frequent exposure to insincere apologies might make judges suspicious of or impervious to apologies. In a series of experimental studies with judges as research participants, we find that in some criminal settings, apologies can induce judges to be more lenient, but overall, apologizing to a judge is often unhelpful and can even be harmful.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 57

Keywords: Judges

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Date posted: July 18, 2013 ; Last revised: October 18, 2013

Suggested Citation

Rachlinski , Jeffrey J. and Guthrie, Chris and Wistrich, Andrew J., Contrition in the Courtroom: Do Apologies Affect Adjudication? (July 17, 2013). Cornell Law Review, Vol. 98, No. 1189, 2013; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-90. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2295033 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2295033

Contact Information

Jeffrey John Rachlinski (Contact Author)
Cornell Law School ( email )
524 College Ave
Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-5878 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)
Chris Guthrie
Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )
131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-322-6823 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)
Andrew J. Wistrich
California Central District Court ( email )
Los Angeles, CA 90012
United States
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