The Research Project, Week Twenty Eight, Nevada Judging Judges

By now it is a familiar routine; get your car serviced, spend the night in a hotel, call customer service for help with a problem, and a few hours or days later you get an email asking you to complete a survey to evaluate your experience. But what if, after making a court appearance, you were asked to complete a survey to evaluate the judge who presided over your case?

Rebecca Gill, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada Las Vegas is working to develop ways to evaluate judges objectively. Specifically, Professor Gill is using a multi-year National Science Foundation grant to find out if people unconsciously are biased against judges who do not fit their image of a judge.

In the study, which will include judges across 10 different states, judges are evaluated in the areas of courteousness, knowledge, and efficiency. Judicial performance evaluations have been done in the past but have not taken into consideration the potential bias of the those doing the evaluating. Professor Gill will especially focus on the evaluations of female and minority judges compared to the evaluations of white male judges.

UNLVSince its first classes were held on campus in 1957, UNLV has gone from a small branch college into a thriving urban research institution in one of the country’s fastest-growing cities.

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