Reducing False Guilty Pleas and Wrongful Convictions through Exoneree Compensation
17 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2014 Last revised: 15 Dec 2016
Date Written: 2016
A great concern with plea-bargains is that they may induce innocent individuals to plead guilty to crimes they have not committed. In this article, we identify schemes that reduce the number of innocent-pleas without affecting guilty individuals' plea-bargain incentives. Large compensations for exonerees reduce expected costs associated with wrongful determinations of guilt in trial and thereby reduce the number of innocent-pleas. Any distortions in guilty individuals' incentives to take plea bargains caused by these compensations can be off-set by a small increase in the discounts offered for pleading guilty. Although there are many statutory reform proposals for increasing exoneration compensations, no one has yet noted this desirable separating effect of exoneree compensations. We argue that such reforms are likely to achieve this result without causing deterrence losses.
Keywords: Exoneration, Compensation, Wrongful Convictions, Judicial Errors, Deterrence
JEL Classification: K00, K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation