CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, July 13, 2018

Obidzinski & Oytana on The Presumption of Innocence and Deterrence

Marie Obidzinski and Yves Oytana (Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas and Université de Bourgogne) have posted Presumption of Innocence and Deterrence on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This paper deals with the presumption of innocence and the law enforcer's incentives to exert investigative effort. Our main result is that, even if the presumption of guilt maximizes deterrence for a given effort by the law enforcer, divergent objectives between the law enforcer (who maximizes the probability of a conviction weighted by the magnitude of the sanction and the type of the citizen) and the public decision-maker (who minimizes social costs) may lead the latter to prefer the presumption of innocence. Indeed, the presumption of innocence may induce the law enforcer to increase investigative efforts thereby improving deterrence. As a consequence, if the law enforcer's effort is relatively efficient compared with its cost, and if the external harm from the crime is high enough, considering the law enforcer's effort as an endogenous variable tilts the balance in favor of the presumption of innocence. Therefore, under some conditions, the presumption of innocence does not interfere with deterrence.

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