Better that X guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer
AbstractThe principle that it is better to let some guilty individuals be set free than to mistakenly convict an innocent person is generally shared by legal scholars, judges and lawmakers of modern societies. The paper shows why this common trait of criminal procedure is also efficient. It extends the standard Polinsky and Shavell (2007) model of deterrence and shows that when the costs of convictions are positive, and guilty individuals are more likely to be convicted than innocent individuals it is always efficient to minimize the number of wrongful convictions, while a more than minimal amount of wrongful acquittals may be optimal.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 168.
Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision: Jul 2009
Type I errors; Type II errors; evidence; optimal underdeterrence; Blackstone Pareto distribution; optimal screening;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
- K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
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