This article shows that innocent suspects benefit from exercising their right to silence during criminal proceedings. We present a model in which a criminal suspect can either make a statement or remain silent during police interrogation. At trial, the jury observes informative but imperfect signals about the suspect's guilt and the truthfulness of the suspect's statement. We show that a right to silence benefits innocent suspects by providing them with a safer alternative to speech, as well as by reducing the probability of wrongful conviction for suspects who remain silent with and without a right to silence.
Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Economics | Human Rights Law | Law and Economics | Public Law and Legal Theory | Social Welfare Law
Date of this Version
Shmuel Leshem, "The Benefits of a Right to Silence for the Innocent" (November 2011). University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series. Working Paper 83.