The Size of the Sanction Should Depend on the Weight of the Evidence

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    Abstract

    The paper argues that society should vary the sanction applied to acriminal defendant with the weight of the evidence against him or her.This is optimal when it is costly for society to apply sanctions, since it canyield the same degree of deterrence while requiring fewer resources to bespent on sanctioning. Furthermore, when the unfairness of convicting aninnocent defendant increases with the size of the sanction, this provides afurther rationale for graduating sanctions with the probability of guilt.Some objections are briefly discussed, mainly that it is inherently unfairto apply different sanctions on people, who have committed the sameoffense, and that the legal system will lose legitimacy if it allows sanctionsto vary in the way suggested.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

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