Why Public Prosecutors Cannot Appeal Acquittals

25 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2008

Date Written: 2008


While defendants can always appeal convictions in trial, public prosecutors often face prohibition of appealing acquittals. This asymmetry twists the criminal procedure towards the interests of the defendant. The paper first inquires the impact of asymmetrical appeal powers on the number of convictions, acquittals and errors of type I and type II. It then surveys the traditional justifications of asymmetric appeal powers. Finally it put in context the reasoning that pro-defendant features such as asymmetric appeal powers are usually justified on the reasoning that it takes several erroneous acquittals to impose a social cost equal to the one of an erroneous conviction for the same offence.

Keywords: double jeopardy, asymmetric appeal powers, pro-defendant criminal procedure

JEL Classification: K4

Suggested Citation

Rizzolli, Matteo, Why Public Prosecutors Cannot Appeal Acquittals (2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1092885 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1092885

Matteo Rizzolli (Contact Author)

LUMSA University ( email )

Via Pompeo Magno
Roma, Rome 00191

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