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The benefits of a right to silence for the innocent

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  • Shmuel Leshem

Abstract

This article shows that innocent suspects benefit from exercising their right to silence during criminal proceedings. We present a model in which a criminal suspect can either make a statement or remain silent during police interrogation. At trial, the jury observes informative but imperfect signals about the suspect's guilt and the truthfulness of the suspect's statement. We show that a right to silence benefits innocent suspects by providing them with a safer alternative to speech, as well as by reducing the probability of wrongful conviction for suspects who remain silent with and without a right to silence. Copyright (c) 2010, RAND.

Suggested Citation

  • Shmuel Leshem, 2010. "The benefits of a right to silence for the innocent," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(2), pages 398-416.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:41:y:2010:i:2:p:398-416
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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1756-2171.2010.00105.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "The Informational Role of Warranties and Private Disclosure about Product Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 461-483, December.
    2. Nick Feltovich & Richmond Harbaugh & Ted To, 2002. "Too Cool for School? Signalling and Countersignalling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 630-649, Winter.
    3. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:01:p:23-35_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    6. Hugo M. Mialon, 2005. "An Economic Theory of the Fifth Amendment," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 833-848, Winter.
    7. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
    8. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
    9. Daniel J. Seidmann, 2005. "The Effects of a Right to Silence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 593-614.
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    Cited by:

    1. Che, Yeon-Koo & Severinov, Sergei, 2015. "Legal Advice and Evidence with Bayesian and non-Bayesian Adjudicators," Microeconomics.ca working papers sergei_severinov-2015-24, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 31 Dec 2015.
    2. Mialon, Hugo M. & Mialon, Sue H. & Stinchcombe, Maxwell B., 2012. "Torture in counterterrorism: Agency incentives and slippery slopes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 33-41.
    3. repec:aea:aejmic:v:9:y:2017:i:2:p:188-225 is not listed on IDEAS

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