Recently there have been studies specifically examining how sleep or lack of sleep might affect a judge’s decision. It may not take a study to convince you that decision making during periods of fatigue might not be optimal. But, for those skeptics, there is relief in sight. Holger Spamann (Harvard Law School) has posted Are Sleepy Punishers Really Harsh Punishers?: Comment on SSRN.
Here is the abstract:
This comment points out four severe reservations regarding Cho et al.’s (PS 2017) finding that U.S. federal judges punish more harshly on “sleepy Mondays,” the Mondays after the start of Daylights Savings Time. First, Cho et al.’s finding pertains to only one of at least two dimensions of harshness, and the opposite result obtains in the second dimension. Second, even within the first dimension, Cho et al.’s result is statistically significant only because of a variable transformation and sample restrictions that are neither transparent in the article nor theoretically sound. Third, reanalysis of the data with superior methods reveals no significant “sleepy Monday” effect in the years 1992-2003. Fourth, sentences were on average shorter on “sleepy Mondays” out of sample, namely in 2004-2016.