Definition - What does Legal Realism mean?
Legal realism is the idea that law should be determined by what a judge actually does instead of what they say they will do.
Justipedia explains Legal Realism
It is a claim that the repercussions for breaching any law can be seen better by what a judge actually sentences a person to instead of the range in law that is allowed for such sentencing.
There tends to be a set standard in sentencing that is not the worst the judge has the ability to do in terms of a sentence, but that is based on the background of the case and whether or not the defendant had a criminal record.