Defendant Should Have the Last Word – Experimentally Manipulating Order and Provisional Assessment of the Facts in Criminal Procedure

32 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2017

See all articles by Christoph Engel

Christoph Engel

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students; Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Andreas Glöckner

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; University of Cologne

Sinika Timme

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Date Written: November 2017

Abstract

From a normative perspective the order in which evidence is presented should not bias legal judgment. Yet psychological research on how individuals process conflicting evidence suggests that order could matter. The evidence shows that decision-makers dissolve ambiguity by forging coherence. This process could lead to a primacy effect: initial tentative interpretations bias the view on later conflicting evidence. Or the process could result in a recency effect: the evidence presented last casts decisive light on the case. In two studies (N1 = 221, N2 = 332) we test these competing hypotheses in a mock legal case. Legal orders sometimes even expect judges to provisionally assess the evidence. At least they have a hard time preventing this from happening. To test whether this creates or exacerbates bias, in the second dimensions, we explicitly demand experimental participants to express their leaning, after having seen half of the evidence. We consistently observe recency effects and no interactions with leanings. If the legal order wants to preempt false convictions, defendant should have the last word.

Keywords: criminal procedure, presumption of innocence, recency, primacy

JEL Classification: C91, D01, D02, D91, K41

Suggested Citation

Engel, Christoph and Glöckner, Andreas and Timme, Sinika, Defendant Should Have the Last Word – Experimentally Manipulating Order and Provisional Assessment of the Facts in Criminal Procedure (November 2017). MPI Collective Goods Preprint, No. 2017/24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3077855 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3077855

Christoph Engel (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany
+049 228 914160 (Phone)
+049 228 9141655 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.coll.mpg.de/engel.html

University of Bonn - Faculty of Law & Economics

Postfach 2220
D-53012 Bonn
Germany

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics, Students ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
PO Box 1738
Rotterdam
Netherlands

Universität Osnabrück - Faculty of Law

Osnabruck, D-49069
Germany

Andreas Glöckner

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.coll.mpg.de/team/page/andreas_gloeckner

University of Cologne ( email )

Richard-Strauss-Str. 2
Köln, 50931
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://soccco.uni-koeln.de/andreas-gloeckner.html

Sinika Timme

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Wilhelmsplatz 1
Göttingen, 37073
Germany

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