Fairness and the Willingness to Accept Plea Bargain Offers
Notre Dame Law School
University of Haifa - Faculty of Law
Stephen M. Garcia
University of Michigan
April 2, 2009
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 97-116, March 2010
CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper
In contrast with the common assumption in the plea bargaining literature, we show fairness-related concerns systematically impact defendants' preferences and judgments. In the domain of preference, innocents are less willing to accept plea offers (WTAP) than guilty defendants and all defendants reject otherwise attractive offers that appear comparatively unfair. We also show that defendants who are uncertain of their culpability exhibit egocentrically biased judgments and reject plea offers as if they were innocent. The article concludes by briefly discussing the normative implications of these findings.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: Fairness, Decision Making, Judgment, Experimental, Behavioral, self-serving bias, risk, prospect theory, law, criminal procedure, plea bargaining
JEL Classification: D89, D99, K14, K41, K42
Date posted: May 6, 2009 ; Last revised: February 7, 2012
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