Does introducing lay people in criminal courts affect judicial decisions?: Evidence from French reform

Article in a refereed journal

Arnaud Philippe, "Does introducing lay people in criminal courts affect judicial decisions?: Evidence from French reform", International Review of Law and Economics, vol. 52, October 2017, p. 1-15. doi:10.1016/j.irle.2017.07.004.

Abstract

What is the effect of introducing jury members in criminal courts? While surveys regularly point out a demand by citizens for harsher punishment, the differences between surveys’ and real decisions’ conditions are large enough to cast a doubt on the results. The introduction of two jurors into a court composed of three professional judges in two French regions and for a subsample of crimes during sixteen months offers a good natural experiment. Difference-in-differences or triple-difference methods do not permit me to identify any major change in the probability of being convicted or in sentences given by a court including jurors. If some characteristics of the reform could partly explain those null results, they clearly go against the hypothesis of a major disagreement between professional judges and citizens when they have to make real decisions in criminal cases.

Keywords

Courts
Sentencing
Crime
Judicial decision
Jury members

IAST Discipline

Law
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