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Does Wrongful Conviction Lower Deterrence?

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  • Henrik Lando

Abstract

The traditional view is that wrongful conviction lowers deterrence by lowering a person’s payoff for being innocent without affecting the payoff for being guilty. However, this view fails to distinguish between mistake about identity and mistake about the act. For mistake about identity, the view is incorrect, since a person who commits a criminal act will not thereby eliminate the risk of being convicted of someone else’s crime. Conviction of the wrong person may still have an effect on deterrence, but the effect can be positive as well as negative and will tend to be small, mainly because the risk of wrongful conviction is shared among many people. When the court wrongly assesses the act committed by the defendant, the traditional view is correct when the choice set of the offender is binary, while the effect on deterrence is more likely to be positive when the choice set is continuous.

Suggested Citation

  • Henrik Lando, 2006. "Does Wrongful Conviction Lower Deterrence?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 327-337, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:35:y:2006:p:327-337
    DOI: 10.1086/501095
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Doménech, Gabriel & Puchades, Miguel, 2015. "Compensating acquitted pre-trial detainees," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 167-177.
    2. Lang, Matthias, 2017. "Legal uncertainty as a welfare enhancing screen," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 274-289.
    3. Immordino, Giovanni & Polo, Michele, 2014. "Antitrust, legal standards and investment," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 36-50.
    4. repec:eee:rujoec:v:2:y:2016:i:4:p:375-401 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Antonio Nicita & Matteo Rizzolli, 2014. "In Dubio Pro Reo. Behavioral Explanations of Pro-defendant Bias in Procedures," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 60(3), pages 554-580.
    6. Lando Henrik, 2009. "Prevention of Crime and the Optimal Standard of Proof in Criminal Law," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 33-52, January.
    7. Šastitko, Andrej E., 2013. "Effects of third party errors," EconStor Preprints 121747, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    8. Ikeda Yasuhiro & Mori Daisuke, 2015. "Can Decoupling Punitive Damages Deter an Injurer’s Harmful Activity?," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 513-528, November.
    9. Giovanni Immordino & Michele Polo, 2012. "Antitrust in Innovative Industries: the Optimal Legal Standards," Working Papers 434, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    10. Matteo Rizzolli & Luca Stanca, 2012. "Judicial Errors and Crime Deterrence: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 311-338.
    11. Murat C. Mungan & Jonathan Klick, 2016. "Reducing False Guilty Pleas and Wrongful Convictions through Exoneree Compensation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(1), pages 173-189.
    12. De Geest, Gerrit & Dari-Mattiacci, Giuseppe & Siegers, Jacques J., 2009. "Annullable bonuses and penalties," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 349-359, December.
    13. Feess, Eberhard & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Schramm, Markus & Wohlschlegel, Ansgar, 2015. "The impact of fine size and uncertainty on punishment and deterrence: Theory and evidence from the laboratory," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 526, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    14. Mungan, Murat C., 2014. "A behavioral justification for escalating punishment schemes," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 189-197.
    15. DeAngelo Gregory & McCannon Bryan C., 2016. "Public Outcry and Police Behavior," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 619-645, April.
    16. Mungan, Murat C., 2015. "Wrongful convictions and the punishment of attempts," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 79-87.
    17. Motta, Alberto & Burlando, Alfredo, 2007. "Self reporting reduces corruption in law enforcement," MPRA Paper 5332, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 23 Jun 2007.
    18. Matteo Rizzolli & Margherita Saraceno, 2013. "Better that ten guilty persons escape: punishment costs explain the standard of evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 395-411, June.
    19. Mungan Murat C., 2013. "Optimal Warning Strategies: Punishment Ought Not to Be Inflicted Where the Penal Provision Is Not Properly Conveyed," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(3), pages 303-339, November.
    20. Stan Miles & Derek Pyne, 2015. "Deterring repeat offenders with escalating penalty schedules: a Bayesian approach," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 229-250, August.
    21. Feess, Eberhard & Schramm, Markus & Wohlschlegel, Ansgar, 2014. "The Impact of Fine Size and Uncertainty on Punishment and Deterrence: Evidence from the Laboratory," MPRA Paper 59463, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Cremers, Katrin & Gaessler, Fabian & Harhoff, Dietmar & Helmers, Christian & Lefouili, Yassine, 2016. "Invalid but infringed? An analysis of the bifurcated patent litigation system," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 218-242.
    23. Giovanni Immordino & Michele Polo, 2011. "Optimal Legal Standards in Antitrust: Traditional v. Innovative Industries," Working Papers 420, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    24. Bertrand Chopard & Edwige Marion & Ludivine Roussey, 2014. "Does the Appeals Process Lower the Occurrence of Legal Errors?," EconomiX Working Papers 2014-43, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.

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