Working paper

Do jurors and professional judges differ in their treatment of crime?

Arnaud Philippe

Abstract

Do citizens and professional judges agree on the accuracy of sentences? 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 in 2012 offers a good natural experiment for documenting the question of the differences between professional judges and citizens. Difference-in-differences or tripledifference methods do not permit me to identify any 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;

JEL codes

  • D83: Search • Learning • Information and Knowledge • Communication • Belief
  • K14: Criminal Law
  • K4: Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

See also

Published in

TSE Working Paper, n. 17-763, February 2017