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Old 03-30-2007, 09:49 AM
psychonaut is online now
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Europe
Posts: 5,922

Bribing juries after the verdict (operant conditioning)

Provided that no promise of payment is made in advance of a verdict, is it legal for a defendant to pay jurors upon his acquittal? If so, what's preventing wealthy defendants from establishing a precedent whereby juries which acquit are rewarded? That is, say one wealthy defendant pays his acquitting jury with, say, $50,000 per juror; other wealthy defendants might start to do the same after their trials. Eventually it would become common knowledge that if you're a juror trying a wealthy defendant, you have a good chance (but obviously no guarantee) of being rewarded for acquitting him. This would lead to a situation where juries would start acquitting wealthy defendants simply in hopes of obtaining payment, rather than on the basis of the law and the evidence presented at trial.

On the flip side, what's preventing wealthy civil plaintiffs and wealthy crime victims from establishing a similar precedent for payment of juries which convict the defendant? (And please don't answer "the market system"—it's rare that both the defendant and plaintiff/victim have equal purchasing power.)

Again, keep in mind that no promise of payment is made in advance of the trial. Payment is made only afterwards, and then not necessarily in every case, but often enough that juries come to expect it implicitly. I think this is pretty much what psychologists would refer to as operant conditioning, except that it's carried out on a population rather than an individual.


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