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A Derivation of Probabilities of Correct and Wrongful Conviction in a Criminal Trial

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  • Lando Henrik

    (Copenhagen Business School)

Abstract

This article derives key variables in the analysis of standards of proof in criminal law from basic conditional probabilities. The variables derived are the probability of correct and wrongful conviction, the expected sanction, and society's incarceration costs, while the basic conditional probabilities are the probability of observing (any given) evidence against individual i given that individual j committed the crime (for any j including j equal to i. The variables are derived from the conditional probabilities as a function of the standard of the proof using simple Bayesian updating.

Suggested Citation

  • Lando Henrik, 2006. "A Derivation of Probabilities of Correct and Wrongful Conviction in a Criminal Trial," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(3), pages 371-379, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:2:y:2006:i:3:n:3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1988. "The Welfare Implications of Costly Litigation for the Level of Liability," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 151-164, January.
    3. McChesney, Fred S., 1993. "Boxed in: Economists and benefits from crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 225-231, June.
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