Every day, judges are faced with making decisions about a defendant’s potential risk as it relates to setting bail, sentencing, and a variety of other contexts. In making these decisions, judges must balance issues of fairness and protection of the individual rights of the accused with protection of society from dangerous predators who may commit future acts of physical or sexual violence. As professionals who are not specifically trained in violence assessment, judges must rely on others, including probation agents, attorneys, and expert witnesses, for information to assist in their decision-making. Through expert witnesses and up-to-date training of criminal justice professionals, judges should have access to a significant body of knowledge regarding the risk factors that are known to be related to future violence, particularly risk factors such as psychopathy which has been found to be the single best predictor of future violence in a wide variety of populations. A preliminary study was carried out in western Michigan counties using transcripts from sentencing hearings of violent offenders convicted of rape, felonius assault, or homicide/attempted homicide to determine whether known risk factors influenced judges’ decisions regarding sentencing and whether such information impacted a judge’s decision to depart from the Michigan sentencing guidelines. Results suggest that risk factors are often not mentioned during the sentencing hearings and that when they are, they rarely appear to influence judicial decisions. In particular, no mention of the term psychopathy or of expert testimony related to risk or of the names of scientifically validated instruments for assessing violence risk was found in all transcripts reviewed. Implications of these results for professional training and improvement in judicial sentencing are discussed.