Fear of the legal system 11/19

what if "loser pays" applied to prosecutors?

Bryan Caplan writes,

Why do people tolerate – and even energetically defend – a system of justice that virtually everyone thinks would hellishly mistreat them if they were innocent?

He praises a new book by Michael Huemer.

My immediate reaction is that an encounter with the legal system is inherently asymmetric. If you are found guilty, you get punished. If you are found not guilty, you get. . .nothing. That asymmetry creates distorted incentives.

This suggests that the solution is something like “loser pays” for prosecutors. Have the state pay if it loses a case. This might alter the plea-bargaining calculus. “I’m not going to plea to a lesser charge. Go ahead and charge me with the serious crime. When the verdict goes my way, you’ll have to pay me big bucks.”

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