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The Benefits of a Right to Silence for the Innocent

RAND Journal of Economics, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 398-416, 2010

USC CLEO Research Papers Series No. C11-19

USC Legal Studies Research Papers Series No. 11-26

30 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2011 Last revised: 12 Nov 2013

Shmuel Leshem

Independent

Date Written: November 18, 2011

Abstract

This article shows that innocent suspects benefit from exercising their right to silence during criminal proceedings. We present a model in which a criminal suspect can either make a statement or remain silent during police interrogation. At trial, the jury observes informative but imperfect signals about the suspect's guilt and the truthfulness of the suspect's statement. We show that a right to silence benefits innocent suspects by providing them with a safer alternative to speech, as well as by reducing the probability of wrongful conviction for suspects who remain silent with and without a right to silence.

Suggested Citation

Leshem, Shmuel, The Benefits of a Right to Silence for the Innocent (November 18, 2011). RAND Journal of Economics, Vol. 41, No. 2, pp. 398-416, 2010; USC Legal Studies Research Papers Series No. 11-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1935063

Shmuel Leshem (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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