Wrongful Convictions and the Punishment of Attempts

18 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2014 Last revised: 3 Dec 2015

See all articles by Murat C. Mungan

Murat C. Mungan

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: January 20, 2014


This article presents economic models of law enforcement where the punishment of attempts leads to an increased risk of wrongful convictions. It shows that the case for punishing attempts becomes weaker once such risks are considered. Specifically, attempts ought to be punished less frequently than suggested in previous work, and even when the punishment of attempts is desirable, they typically ought to be punished less severely than accomplished crimes. Purely deterrence related rationales as well as rationales based on costs associated with wrongful convictions support this conclusion. The presence of wrongful conviction costs also implies that a degree of under-deterrence is optimal.

Keywords: Type-I errors, Attempts, Wrongful Convictions, Judicial Errors, Crime and Deterrence, Optimal Sanctions

JEL Classification: K00, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Mungan, Murat C., Wrongful Convictions and the Punishment of Attempts (January 20, 2014). 42 International Review of Law and Economics 79 (2015).; FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 658; FSU College of Law, Law, Business & Economics Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2374887 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2374887

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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