Homicide trials in Classical Athens
Homicide trials in Classical Athens had a unique feature. After the initial evidence was presented the defendant was given the option to go into a self-imposed exile for life losing all protections, rights, and wealth. If the defendant did not go into exile, then the trial continued with additional arguments presented. If the judges voted to convict, the sanction of death was imposed. Given the limited set of feasible sanctions available to the Athenians, it is argued that this institution is effective as it separates some guilty from the innocent. Consequently, fewer innocent are convicted and more guilty are punished.
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