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September 5, 2014

"Reducing Guilty Pleas Through Exoneree Compensations"

The title of this post is the title of this intriguing new article available via SSRN authored by Murat Mungan and Jonathan Klick.  Here is the 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.

September 5, 2014 at 08:10 AM | Permalink


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I'm not sure there is a deterrent from innocence compensation laws. Texas has the most generous innocence compensation package in the country, but the state pays the bill, not the county and city-level actors responsible for the false conviction. So there's no direct financial disincentive, at least in our case. I'm unaware of any state compensation statute that puts the burden on the government entity that made the mistake. I've heard it suggested, many times, but never heard of it being implemented.

The argument is certainly true to the extent that compensation comes from awards in civil suits.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Sep 5, 2014 2:15:05 PM

What about the innocent and wrongly accused citizens in cases in which DNA-testable evidence isn't a factor? Does the notion of exoneration even plausibly apply in those cases?

Posted by: John K | Sep 6, 2014 10:53:14 AM

End all tort immunities. They are an abomination. They immunize bumblers, careless worthelss government tax sucking parasites.

I have shown how immunity and liability and grow and shrink the entire industry not just the defendant. To anyone who wants smaller government, tort liability is the golden road. IN government, you generate a lawsuit as a worker, especially an at will one, one will be working outside of government in less than a year. because they will fire you. The government tax sucking parasites all know that and will be deterred personally.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 6, 2014 11:42:49 PM

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