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Interrogation and Evidence Fabrication

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  • Jesse Bull

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    (Department of Economics, Florida International University)

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    Abstract

    I explore the rather common legally permissible practice of police lying to suspects and/or fabricating evidence by analyzing a simple model in which police can fabricate/lie and then the accused chooses whether to confess. When police are not permitted to fabricate/lie, the police presenting evidence, which in this case can be viewed as hard evidence, to the accused conveys information about the accused's chances at trial. However, when police are permitted to fabricate/lie, the evidence does not convey information to the accused. I find that allowing police to lie is helpful in cases where it either leads to a guilty accused confessing when he would otherwise go to trial, or an innocent accused not confessing when he otherwise would confess if police were not allowed to lie. However, allowing police to lie is harmful in cases where it either leads to a guilty accused not confessing when he would confess if the police were not allowed to lie, or an innocent accused confessing when he would not if police were not allowed to lie. These cases are characterized and some policy implications are provided.

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    File URL: http://economics.fiu.edu/research/working-papers/2013/1303/1303.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Florida International University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1303.

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    Length: 20 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fiu:wpaper:1303

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    1. Shavell, Steven, 1993. "Suit versus Settlement when Parties Seek Nonmonetary Judgments," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-13, January.
    2. Grossman, Gene M & Katz, Michael L, 1983. "Plea Bargaining and Social Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 749-57, September.
    3. Bull Jesse, 2008. "Mechanism Design with Moderate Evidence Cost," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-20, May.
    4. Chris Sanchirico & George Triantis, . "Evidentiary Arbitrage: The Fabrication of Evidence and The Verifiability of Contract Performance," University of Virginia John M. Olin Program for Law & Economics Working Paper Series uvalwps-1011, University of Virginia School of Law.
    5. Steven Shavell, 1989. "Sharing of Information Prior to Settlement or Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(2), pages 183-195, Summer.
    6. Rosenberg, David & Shavell, Steven, 2006. "A solution to the problem of nuisance suits: The option to have the court bar settlement," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 42-51, March.
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