Perceptions of judges ought to be based on their performance. Yet, few studies of the relation between perceived and actual judicial performance exist. Those claiming judicial bias should be especially sensitive to the relation between perception and performance. Judges perceived by the public or by the legal community as disfavoring a group may be regarded as biased, but that perception is unfair if the judges’ votes in cases do not disfavor the group. For example, it may be unfair to accuse an appellate judge of pro-state bias in criminal cases if the judge votes for defendants at a higher rate than several other judges on the same court. This Article addresses whether perception matches reality.Part II of this Article provides background information about the Israeli judiciary. Part III presents survey results regarding the Israeli legal community’s perceptions of sixteen ISC justices’ tendencies in criminal cases. The survey asked respondents the degree to which they believe individual justices are favorable to the state or to defendants. Part IV compares the survey results with justices’ actual voting patterns in criminal cases. Part V explores the differences between perceptions reported in Part III and the reality reported in Part IV. Part VI concludes.
Theodore Eisenberg, Talia Fisher, and Issi Rosen-Zvi, Actual Versus Perceived Performance of Judges, 35 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 695 (2012).