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Psychology and Justice
Psychology and justice

This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice. (Oliver Wendell Holmes, jr. American judge and jurist, 1841–1935)

Our focus in this chapter is on ‘subjective justice’, how people think and behave in the realm of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. This is sometimes referred to as ‘commonsense justice’, but since how people think and behave can often be contrary to ‘common sense’, the term ‘subjective justice’ is more accurate. Subjective justice reflects justice as it actually takes place in the messy ‘real world’, as opposed to justice as it is ‘on the books’ according to ‘black letter law’. As the quotation from Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes indicates, there is often a gap between justice and what actually happens ...

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