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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 94349 Find in a Library
Title: Managerial Judges and Court Delay - The Unproven Assumptions
Journal: Judges' Journal  Volume:23  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1984)  Pages:8-11,54-55
Author(s): J Resnik
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The trend toward judicial management may not be a beneficial change because it may reduce court productivity, threaten judicial impartiality, and create other decisionmaking problems. The decision to move toward judicial management should be debated in terms of what role judges should take.
Abstract: Federal judges are adopting more managerial duties today. They not only adjudicate case merits but also meet with parties in chambers to encourage settlement and supervise case preparation. Proponents ofjudicial management argue that it reduces court delay, produces more dispositions, and reduces litigation costs. However, there is little support for these conclusions. Data are not available to back up these arguments and intuition does not compel them. Moreover, judicial management tends to enhance the power of judges in a somewhat detrimental way and can undermine traditional constraints on the use of that power. Self-interest often makes professionals less objective, less dispassionate, and less able to do what is best. There also are risks to the informal meetings held by judges and lawyers to discuss discovery schedules and to explore settlement proposals. The information received by judges here is not filtered by the rules of evidence. Moreover, judges are in close contact with attorneys and their judgment may be biased. Judges may gain stakes in the cases they manage in that their prestige may ride on efficient management, calculated by the speed and number of dispositions. These images have not traditionally been associated with due process decisionmaking. Judicial management emphasizes quantity and ignores quality. Deliberation and the writing of opinions may be seen as an obstacle to efficiency. The system should design rules to limit the flow of untested information to the judge, refrain from giving judges too many distracting new responsibilities, and require them to act in public and to state reasons for their actions. Eleven reference notes are supplied.
Index Term(s): Court case flow management; Judicial activism; Judicial attitudes; Judicial conduct and ethics; Judicial discretion
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