Reasonable Doubt and Beyond

29 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2018 Last revised: 16 Feb 2019

See all articles by Liqun Liu

Liqun Liu

Harris School of Public Policy Studies

Date Written: February 7, 2019


I study a static inspection game in which an inspector makes binary verdict based on evidence contaminated by an inspectee’s concealment effort. I characterize the equilibrium existence property under mild assumptions, showing that any equilibrium involves inspector’s use of a cutoff conviction strategy on the basis of evidence maturity. I identify several equilibrium effects, including a “pathological” one: as the inspector prioritizes on convicting the guilty rather than acquitting the innocent, the new equilibrium conviction threshold may relax, leading to a lower overall conviction rate. The results shed light on the optimal judicial mechanism design, and instrumentally justify the value of respecting liberty in authority’s terrorism prevention policy.

Keywords: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Inspection Game, Monotone Comparative Statics

JEL Classification: K0, C7

Suggested Citation

Liu, Liqun, Reasonable Doubt and Beyond (February 7, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Liqun Liu (Contact Author)

Harris School of Public Policy Studies ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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