n Guilty Men

Alexander Volokh

Emory University School of Law

University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 146, No. 2 (1997).

"Better that n guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished." Blackstone and Justice Douglas had n = 10; the Romans had n = 1; the Jews had n = 1000; Ben Franklin had n = 100. The U.S. Supreme Court sides with the Romans. n is the father of criminal law. This (humorous) article traces the history of n from the dawn of time to modern U.S. jurisprudence. The evolution of n (both in Anglo-American law and in foreign lands), the gender and species of the "one innocent man," and the possible types of punishment contemplated in connection with the maxim, are discussed. The views of prominent skeptics are explored. Values of n are compared and contrasted on the federal and state levels. States and federal circuits with high values of n are recommended as possible residences for potential criminals.

JEL Classification: K14

Accepted Paper Series

Not Available For Download

Date posted: October 17, 1997  

Suggested Citation

Volokh, Alexander, n Guilty Men. University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 146, No. 2 (1997).. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=11412

Contact Information

Alexander (Sasha) Volokh (Contact Author)
Emory University School of Law ( email )
1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-712-5225 (Phone)
404-727-6820 (Fax)
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