A Utilitarian Justification for Heightened Standards of Proof in Criminal Trials

Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Vol. 167, No. 2, 2011

CLEA 2009 Annual Meeting Paper

19 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2009 Last revised: 7 Apr 2011

See all articles by Murat C. Mungan

Murat C. Mungan

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: June 29, 2009

Abstract

This paper contributes to the interpretation of the standard of proof in criminal trials in two ways. First, it provides a purely utilitarian explanation as to why there are asymmetric costs associated with false convictions and acquittals. It relies on the fact that noncriminals may engage in precautionary activities in order to avoid false convictions. Second, it shows that this difference in the costs associated with false-conviction and -acquittal rates is under certain circumstances sufficient to justify heightened standards of proofs.

Keywords: Standard of Proof, Judicial Error, Crime and Deterrence, Precautionary Activity

JEL Classification: K00, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Mungan, Murat C., A Utilitarian Justification for Heightened Standards of Proof in Criminal Trials (June 29, 2009). Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Vol. 167, No. 2, 2011; CLEA 2009 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1427264

Murat C. Mungan (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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