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Should the Wealthy Be Able to "Buy Justice"?

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  • Lott, John R, Jr

Abstract

This paper shows that allowing wealthy individuals to influence the outcome of their trials through the purchase of legal services can be consistent with the optimal penalty literature. Using this analysis, the author reviews some of the advantages and disadvantages of varying the length of jail terms versus varying the probability of conviction. Finally, implications for the bail, prosecutorial, and plea bargaining systems are examined. Copyright 1987 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Lott, John R, Jr, 1987. "Should the Wealthy Be Able to "Buy Justice"?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1307-1316, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:95:y:1987:i:6:p:1307-16
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/261517
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grossman, Sanford J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1980. "On the Impossibility of Informationally Efficient Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 393-408, June.
    2. Stephen W. Salant, 1974. "Profitable speculation, price stability, and welfare," International Finance Discussion Papers 54, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Danthine, Jean-Pierre, 1978. "Information, futures prices, and stabilizing speculation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 79-98, February.
    4. McCafferty, Stephen & Driskill, Robert, 1980. "Problems of Existence and Uniqueness in Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1313-1317, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mariana Martínez & Fabio Sánchez T. & Holly Kosiewicz, 2007. "Is justice blind? An examination of disparities in homicide sentencing in Colombia, 1980-2000," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 004460, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    2. Garoupa, Nuno & Stephen, Frank, 2003. "A Note on Optimal Law Enforcement with Legal Aid," CEPR Discussion Papers 4113, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Hugh Gravelle & Nuno Garoupa, 2002. "Optimal Deterrence with Legal Defense Expenditure," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(3), pages 366-379, July.
    4. Thomas J. Miceli, 2009. "Deterrence and Incapacitation Models of Criminal Punishment: Can the Twain Meet?," Working papers 2009-25, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    5. Polinsky, A. Mitchell, 2006. "The optimal use of fines and imprisonment when wealth is unobservable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 823-835.
    6. Schwarz Mordechai E., 2012. "Subgame Perfect Plea Bargaining in Biform Judicial Contests," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 297-330, September.
    7. Jose Meade & Joel Waldfogel, 1998. "Do Sentencing Guidelines Raise the Cost of Punishment?," NBER Working Papers 6361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Sandy Baum & Linda Kamas, 1995. "Time, Money, And Optimal Criminal Penalties," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(4), pages 72-79, October.
    9. Kessler, Daniel P & Levitt, Steven D, 1999. "Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 343-363, April.
    10. Nuno Garoupa & Hugh Gravelle, 2003. "Efficient Deterrence does not Require that the Wealthy should be Able to Buy Justice," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 159(3), pages 545-545, September.
    11. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Bryan C McCannon, 2011. "The Redistricting of Public Prosecutors' Offices," Discussion Papers 11-13, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    12. Nuno Garoupa & Jonathan Klick & Francesco Parisi, 2006. "A law and economics perspective on terrorism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 147-168, July.
    13. Kobayashi, Bruce H. & Lott, John Jr., 1996. "In defense of criminal defense expenditures and plea bargaining," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 397-416, December.
    14. Parker, Jeffrey S & Atkins, Raymond A, 1999. "Did the Corporate Criminal Sentencing Guidelines Matter? Some Preliminary Empirical Observations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 423-453, April.
    15. Nuno Garoupa & Hugh Gravelle, "undated". "Does Efficient Deterrence Require that the Wealthy Should Be Able to Buy Justice?," Discussion Papers 00/07, Department of Economics, University of York.
    16. Goodman, John C. & Porter, Philip, 2002. "Is the criminal justice system just?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 25-39, July.
    17. Thomas J. Miceli, 2014. "Economic Models of Law," Working papers 2014-13, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

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