Does the Appeals Process Lower the Occurrence of Legal Errors ?
Bertrand Chopard & Edwige Marion & Ludivine Roussey, 2014. « Does the Appeals Process Lower the Occurrence of Legal Errors?, » EconomiX Working Papers 2014-43, University of Paris West – Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
This paper challenges the commonly held idea that the appeals process lowers the occurrence of legal errors. We show that, even if incorporating the right to bring an appeal in criminal adjudication directly offers the opportunity to correct mistakes made at trial, the nal impact on the appeals process on the accuracy of judicial decisions is ambiguous because of its effect through trial court decision-makerse’s effort and crime deterrence. We nd out that according to (i) whether trial court decision-makers are rather reputation-concerned or socially-motivated, (ii) the distribution of the population of potential offenders and (iii) the marginal effecf of decision-makers’effort on the probability of wrongful conviction compared to wrongful acquittal, implementing an appeals process may spur decision-makers to reduce their effort and thus be detrimental to the accuracy of legal decisions. We show that this result is true whether an appeal can be brought both after an acquittal or a conviction at trial, or the right to bring an appeal is limited by double jeopardy.