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Does introducing lay people in criminal courts affect judicial decisions?

Philippe, Arnaud (2017) Does introducing lay people in criminal courts affect judicial decisions?: Evidence from French reform. International Review of Law and Economics, 52. pp. 1-15.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Sub-title: Evidence from French reform
Language: English
Date: October 2017
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Courts, Sentencing, Crime, Judicial decision, Jury members
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2018 08:17
Last Modified: 15 May 2019 09:46
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