Reducing False Guilty Pleas and Wrongful Convictions through Exoneree Compensation

17 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2014 Last revised: 15 Dec 2016

Murat C. Mungan

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Law School; Erasmus School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

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

Mungan, Murat C. and Klick, Jonathan, Reducing False Guilty Pleas and Wrongful Convictions through Exoneree Compensation (2016). 59 Journal of Law and Economics 73 (2016); FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 705; FSU College of Law, Law, Business & Economics Paper No. 14-12; U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 14-34. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2490518 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2490518

Murat C. Mungan (Contact Author)

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

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
2157463455 (Phone)

Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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