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Search, Seizure and (False?) Arrest: An Analysis of Fourth Amendment Remedies when Police can Plant Evidence

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  • Dhammika Dharmapala

    (University of Illinois)

  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures in criminal investigations. The Supreme Court has interpreted this to require that police obtain a warrant prior to search and that illegally seized evidence be excluded from trial. A consensus has developed in the law and economics literature that tort liability for police officers would be a superior means of deterring unreasonable searches. We argue that this conclusion depends on the assumption of truth-seeking police, and develop a game-theoretic model to compare the two remedies when some police officers (“bad” types) are willing to plant evidence in order to obtain convictions, while other police (“good” types) are not (where this type is private information). We characterize the perfect Bayesian equilibria of the asymmetric-information game between the police and a court that seeks to minimize error costs in deciding whether to convict or acquit suspects. In this framework, we show that the exclusionary rule with a warrant requirement leads to superior outcomes (relative to tort liability) in terms of the truth-finding function of courts, because the warrant requirement can reduce the scope for “bad” types of police to plant evidence. JEL Classification: K14, K42 Key words: Exclusionary rule, Fourth Amendment, search and seizure

Suggested Citation

  • Dhammika Dharmapala & Thomas J. Miceli, 2012. "Search, Seizure and (False?) Arrest: An Analysis of Fourth Amendment Remedies when Police can Plant Evidence," Working papers 2012-37, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2012-37
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Benjamin Lester & Nicola Persico & Ludo Visschers, 2012. "Information Acquisition and the Exclusion of Evidence in Trials," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 163-182.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gerd Muehlheusser & Andreas Roider, 2004. "Black Sheep and Walls of Silence," Diskussionsschriften dp0410, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    2. Hugo Mialon & Sue Mialon, 2008. "The Economics of Search Warrants," Emory Economics 0810, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    3. repec:gam:jscscx:v:7:y:2018:i:7:p:116-:d:158287 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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