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Information suppression by teams and violations of the Brady rule

Andrew Daughety () and Jennifer Reinganum ()

No 17-00001, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers from Vanderbilt University Department of Economics

Abstract: We develop a model of individual prosecutors (and teams of prosecutors) and show how, in equilibrium, team-formation can lead to increased incentives to suppress evidence (relative to those faced by a lone prosecutor). Our model assumes that each individual prosecutor is characterized by a variable that captures that individual's level of tradeoff between a desire for career advancement (by winning a case) and a disutility for unjustly convicting an innocent defendant by suppressing exculpatory evidence. We assume a population of prosecutors that is heterogenous with respect to this tradeoff rate, and each individual's tradeoff rate is their own private information. A convicted defendant may later discover the exculpatory information; a judge will then void the conviction and may order an investigation. If the prosecutor is found to have violated the defendant's Brady rights (to exculpatory evidence), this results in penalizing the prosecutor. The payoff from winning a case is a public good (among the team members) while any penalties are private bads. The anticipated game between the prosecutors and the judge is the main focus of this paper. The decision to investigate a sole prosecutor, or a team of prosecutors, is determined endogenously. We show that the equilibrium assignment of roles within the team involves concentration of authority about suppressing/disclosing evidence.

Keywords: Evidence suppression; prosecutorial misconduct; disclosure; team organization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K0 D8 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-law and nep-mic
Date: 2017-01-10
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