Faultless Reversal

February 1, 2020, The Writ, “Appellate Briefs”

In an article reviewing empirical research on judicial decisions, the authors addressed whether “aversion  to reversal can produce undesirable, strategic effects on judicial decisions.” Rachlinski, Jeffrey J. and Wistrich, Andrew J., Judging the Judiciary by the Numbers: Empirical Research on Judges, 13 Annual Review of Law and Social Science (2017). Noting the low rates of appellate reversal throughout the federal courts (“approximately 15% of appealed cases are reversed”), the article’s literature review identified studies that “support[ed] the conclusion that avoiding reversal matters to judges.” Id. at 10. Such reversal aversion could be caused by “embarrass[ment] by reversal or irritat[ion] by the extra work resulting from a remand.” Id. at 10. One recent reversal by the Nevada Supreme Court should not cause the trial judge any embarrassment though, as the Court itself took responsibility for the error leading to reversal. Reif by & through Reif v. Aries Consultants, Inc., 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 51, 449 P.3d 1253 (Oct. 10, 2019). To read the entire article click here.

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