The effect of evidentiary rules on conviction rates

Alexander Lundberg*, Murat Mungan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Evidentiary rules for criminal trials disallow various forms of probative evidence. Conventional wisdom assumes these rules benefit all defendants, whether guilty or innocent, and thus reduce wrongful convictions at the price of more wrongful acquittals. We show the conventional view only holds under stylized conditions. We further identify properties of evidence generation mechanisms under which the conventional view is backward: an evidentiary rule will harm the innocent and protect the guilty. However, if adjudicators place too much weight on the evidence, its exclusion can reduce both wrongful convictions and wrongful acquittals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-576
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Volume203
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Criminal
  • Evidence
  • Jury
  • Trial
  • Wrongful conviction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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