Judges and Victims

Several considerations found in the literature that may affect a judge’s decision

Law embodies fundamentally different decision making norms. Lawmakers and social policymakers have no comparable chance to postpone judgment because decision promotes the interest of disputants who benefit from the status quo. The main focus of law and the central responsibility of judges is the resolution of conflicts in a timely and equitable manner. One challenge of this responsibility is that judges and other legal decision makers rely on crude but administrable rules. This act calls for consideration of some scientific or logical relevant issues.

There exist criteria which are of significant in resolution of legal disputes.  Six general clusters include:

  • Allocation of institutional responsibilities
  • Justiciabilityconstraints
  • Unquantifiable and incommensurable interests
  • Fairness and evenhanded justice
  • Global efficiency effects
  • Micro efficiency effects

Court decides cases through balancing the quantifiable interests of parties in each dispute.

Allocation of institutional responsibilities

Appellate courts always charged with the responsibility to preserve the decision making prerogatives of other institutions. Every judge acknowledges the importance of these institutional concerns irrespective of whether they promote or impede economically efficient results in some cases.

Justifiability constraints

This arises from basic conceptions about the nature and limitations of judicial power. Courts decide cases on non-justifiability grounds even if there is no present likelihood that the other participant will raise the same issues in court.

Unquantifiable and incommensurable interests

This being one of the listings, it reveals that it is crucial to differentiate between economic terminology and economic methodology. For instance, it is so easy to pronounce that interests in free speech must balance against competing interests; this claim though does not qualify as economic analysis in any meaningful situation (maltz, 2000)

Fairness and Evenhanded justice

Considerations such as fairness, consistency, predictability and adequacy of notice include incommensurable non-economic interests. This criterion shows how the law itself should carry its activities irrespective of promotional of substantive social goals. The principle facilitating these decision factors are normally difficult to explain and confine in abstract, they are most influential in the disposition of cases. Criteria such as predictability, consistency and adequate notice is efficiency enhancing because they enable private players to make reliable and an excellent investment decisions

Global efficiency effects

Allocative decisions should be based on a balancing of competing opportunity cost in dealing with individuals situations. Global efficiency effects constitute (case-by-case) judicial cost-benefit analysis tailored to the circumstances party face. Courts are often more concerned with the effects of their decisions on broad realms of institutional or private behavior. Decisional criteria for instance, simplicity, uniformity, judicial economy and administrative considerations depend on judicial assessments of individualized circumstances. There majorly lead to judgments that conflict with the results pointed by micro efficiency analysis criteria.

Micro efficiency Effects

This concern with the perspective of economic analysis, the issue that needs to be looked into are whether there was some attribute or effect of the defendant’s behavior that would impede efficient market transactions. Though economic analysis of micro efficiency effects may be relevant to the necessary judicial consideration, it can fail to do so if it is decisive (Landies, 2009).

Victim’s roles

Victims of crime play a pivotal role in criminal justice system. The victims provide eyewitness information to the police who in turn proceed to convict the suspects.  Prosecutors and judges rely on the victim’s testimony in court. The American system of jurisprudence has emphasized the interests of offenders. The needs and concern of victims have become subordinate to those of the offenders.

Victim’s right movement has arisen to solve the problems victims face. The movement started as a coalition of many organizations calling to redress the criminal justice systems inadequate treatment of victims. The movement is largely growing and it is undertaking its activities in advocating for legislation addressing the problems of the victims.

Victim’s involvement at the plea-bargaining stage makes ninety five percent of all criminal actions in the United States. Plea bargains grant certain concessions in exchange for a guilty plea by the defendant. Prosecutors are the ones who decide whether or not to offer the defendant the chance to plead guilty to a reduced charge. Plea-bargaining process affect victims their rights need to be developed and implemented. To solve this concern, the efficiency and expediency of plea bargaining must be weighed against the satisfaction that victims get from taking part in the decision-making process.

Victims face opposition from the judges and prosecuting attorneys. They place a little importance on victim participation. Prosecutors believe that greater involvement will disrupt the criminal process and increase their workload.  The prosecutors feel that the victim participation hinders the plea-negotiation process, without providing any new insight from the decision maker. Concerning the victim participation in the plea bargaining the system should be fair to all participants. To attain fairness judges have directed prosecuting attorneys to; confer with the victims before offering a plea bargain. Attorneys take part in bringing victims into court to present their views and provide a nutshell of their views in a statement (Larry, 2011).

Victim participation in court has contributed in decreasing their assessment that the system is too lenient on criminals. It also enables the judges and prosecutors interact with them which provide them with sense of participation, rather than forced acquiescence. Since victims interests are not like those of prosecutors, and then they should be offered independent recognition.  The victims need to have an enforceable role this ensure the systems fairness and provide the judge with complete and realistic view.

Victim involvement at parole hearings is another concern. State legislatures have facilitated statutes empowering victims with a voice at parole hearings. Victims have a reasonable interest in the criminal justice system and in that case, deserve the opportunity to be heard at parole hearings. Most states allow victims involvement to submit written statements while others require the victim to make oral statements before parole board. The concern is that some victims are unable to put their feelings in written form and, therefore, prefer oral statements.  State legislatures have known the need to treat victims with fairness, sensitivity and dignity all times. They know that without the victim’s assistance, the legal system would not provide satisfactory results. Victim satisfaction yield effect and enhance the criminal justice system. They can win victims as they encourage future victim involvement and promoting system efficiency.


The challenge of victim alienation associated with plea bargaining can be solved in the case where prosecutors provide more information to them (victims). Majority of the problems can be alleviated by, instituting uniform standards of notification.


Hayward, Allison. The Per Curiam Opinion of Steel: Buckley v. Valeo as Superprecedent?, Cato Supreme Court Review 195, 202, (2005-2006).

Larry J. Seigel, Frank J. Schmalleger and John Worrall, Courts and Criminal Justice in America, p. 137, Prentice Hall (2011).

Landes, William & Posner, Richard. “Legal Precedent: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis”, 19 Journal of Law and Economics 249, 251 (2009).

Maltz, Earl. “Abortion, Precedent, and the Constitution: A Comment on Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey”, 68 Notre Dame L. Rev. 11 (2000), quoted by Rosen, Jeffrey. So, New York Times (2005-10-30).