Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Law of Police

30 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2015  

Richard H. McAdams

University of Chicago Law School

Dhammika Dharmapala

University of Chicago Law School

Nuno M. Garoupa

Texas A&M University School of Law; Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) - Católica Global School of Law

Date Written: February 6, 2015

Abstract

Some Fourth Amendment doctrines distinguish between searches executed by police and others, being more demanding of the former. We explore these distinctions by offering a simple theory for how “police are different,” focusing on self-selection. Those most attracted to the job of policing include those who feel the most intrinsic satisfaction from facilitating the punishment of wrongdoers. Thus, we expect police to have more intensely punitive preferences, on average, than the public or other governmental actors. Some experimental evidence supports this prediction. In turn, stronger punishment preferences logically lower one’s threshold of doubt — the perceived probability of guilt at which one would search or seize a suspect. That police have a lower threshold of doubt plausibly justifies more judicial scrutiny of police searches than of nonpolice searches (as well as more-permissive rules when police perform tasks outside the scope of law enforcement). We also consider and critique Bill Stuntz’s alternative explanation of the relevant doctrine.

Suggested Citation

McAdams, Richard H. and Dharmapala, Dhammika and Garoupa, Nuno M., The Law of Police (February 6, 2015). University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 82, 2014; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 505. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2561497 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2561497

Richard H. McAdams (Contact Author)

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-834-2520 (Phone)

Dhammika Dharmapala

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Nuno M. Garoupa

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States

Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) - Católica Global School of Law ( email )

Lisboa
Portugal

Paper statistics

Downloads
139
Rank
175,393
Abstract Views
659