Does the Type of Criminal Defense Counsel Affect Case Outcomes? A Natural Experiment in Taiwan

40 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2008 Last revised: 30 Jun 2011

See all articles by Kuo‐Chang Huang

Kuo‐Chang Huang

Institutum Iurisprudentiae

Kong-Pin Chen

Academia Sinica - Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences; National Taiwan University - Department of Economics

Chang‐Ching Lin

National Cheng Kung University

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

Taiwan's large-scale legal reform in 2003 provides an excellent natural experiment-like setting for empirical investigation to many issues related to legal procedures and practices. Using trial data from 2004 to 2007, we test whether there has been a systematic difference in trial outcomes between criminal defendants with different types of defense counsel, and examine the policy implications on issues related to adequate legal representation of indigent defendants. Our study finds that defendants who hire their own legal counsels do fare better: they are less likely to be convicted and, when they are, receive lighter punishment. Moreover, even among those who do not retain counsels, there is also a difference in trial outcomes: those represented by public defenders are more likely to be convicted than those represented by assigned counsels, but once convicted the former receive less severe punishment. Our study suggests that public defenders more often use a tactic during trial that encourages the defendants to confess to the crime in exchange for more lenient punishment.

Keywords: criminal justice system, indigent defense system, public defender

JEL Classification: K14, K41

Suggested Citation

Huang, Kuo-Chang and Chen, Kong-Pin and Lin, Chang-Ching, Does the Type of Criminal Defense Counsel Affect Case Outcomes? A Natural Experiment in Taiwan (2008). 3rd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Papers. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1119787 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1119787

Kuo-Chang Huang (Contact Author)

Institutum Iurisprudentiae ( email )

Nankang
Taipei, 11529
Taiwan
886-2-26525419 (Phone)
886-2-27859471 (Fax)

Kong-Pin Chen

Academia Sinica - Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences ( email )

RCHSS
Academia Sinica
Nankang, Taipei, 11529
Taiwan
886 2 2789 8160 (Phone)
886 2 2785 4160 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://idv.sinica.edu.tw/kongpin/

National Taiwan University - Department of Economics

21 Hsiu Chow Rd
Taipei, 10020
Taiwan

Chang-Ching Lin

National Cheng Kung University ( email )

No.1, University Road
Tainan
Taiwan

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