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09-00-00 Pahis, S: Corruption in Our Courts: What It Looks Like and Where It is Hidden, The Yale Law Journal, 118:1900 (2009)

09-00-00 Pahis, S: Corruption in Our Courts: What It Looks Like and Where It is Hidden, The Yale Law Journal, 118:1900 (2009)

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a b s t r a c t . Recent surveys and events indicate that judicial corruption could be a significant
problem in the United States. This Note builds an economic model of bribery to better
understand the incentives behind this pernicious phenomenon. It then compiles a data set of
discovered incidents of judicial bribery in the United States to test the effectiveness of our antijudicial-corruption institutions. This analysis suggests that our institutions are particularly
ineffective at preventing and uncovering judicial bribery in civil disputes and traffic hearings.
a b s t r a c t . Recent surveys and events indicate that judicial corruption could be a significant
problem in the United States. This Note builds an economic model of bribery to better
understand the incentives behind this pernicious phenomenon. It then compiles a data set of
discovered incidents of judicial bribery in the United States to test the effectiveness of our antijudicial-corruption institutions. This analysis suggests that our institutions are particularly
ineffective at preventing and uncovering judicial bribery in civil disputes and traffic hearings.

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Published by: Human Rights Alert, NGO on May 18, 2011
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1912.P
AHIS
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1900
Stratos pahis
 
Corruption in Our Courts: What It Looks Like and Where It Is Hidden
abstract.
Recent surveys and events indicate that judicial corruption could be a significantproblem in the United States. This Note builds an economic model of bribery to better understand the incentives behind this pernicious phenomenon. It then compiles a data set of discovered incidents of judicial bribery in the United States to test the effectiveness of our anti- judicial-corruption institutions. This analysis suggests that our institutions are particularly ineffective at preventing and uncovering judicial bribery in civil disputes and traffic hearings.
author.
 Yale Law School, J.D. 2009; Universidad Complutense de Madrid, M.A. 2005;Dartmouth College, B.A. 2004. I am grateful to Professor Susan Rose-Ackerman for inspiringmy interest in this topic and for her invaluable support and feedback over many drafts of thisNote. I am also indebted to the members of 
The Yale Law Journal
Notes Committee—inparticular to Victoria Weatherford for her patience, meticulous editing, and insightfulcomments. Thanks also to Sam Ferguson for his helpful feedback. All errors that remain are of course mine alone.
 
1912.P
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corruption in our courts
1901
note contents
introduction
1903
 
i.
 
understanding and observing judicial corruption
1906
 
 A.
 
 An Economic Model of Bribery 1906
 
1.
 
Understanding Defendants’ and Litigants’ Demand for Corruption 1907
 
2.
 
Understanding the Supply of Corruption 1908
 
B.
 
Morality and the Risk of First Movers 1910
 
1.
 
First-Mover Risk 1910
 
2.
 
First-Mover Risk with Relaxed Assumptions 1912
 
C.
 
Model Predictions and Observations 1914
 
ii.
 
sample and methodology
1916
 
 A.
 
 Accountability Institutions 1916
 
B.
 
Sample of Judges and Bribes 1918
 
C.
 
Methodology 1919
 
D.
 
Sample Bias 1921
 
iii.
 
corrupt judges and courts
1922
 
 A.
 
Federal Versus State Judges 1923
 
B.
 
Trial Versus Appellate Judges 1923
 
C.
 
 Elected Versus Appointed Judges 1924
 
D.
 
Multijudge Corruption Rings 1924
 
iv.
 
fact patterns of corruption
1925
 
 A.
 
Types of Cases 1925
 
B.
 
Corrupt Actions: What the Bribes Bought 1926
 
1.
 
Criminal Cases 1926
 
2.
 
Civil Cases 1927
 
3.
 
Traffic Violations 1927
 
 4.
 
 Administration of Cases 1928
 
C.
 
Prices: How Much Was Paid 1928
 
D.
 
Risk of Detection and Tip-Offs 1929
 
1.
 
Prosecutorial Leverage 1929
 
2.
 
 Judicial Conduct Organizations and Uninterested Tip-Offs 1930
 
 
1912.P
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the yale law journal
 
118:1900 2009
19023.
 
 Judicial Extortion 1930
 
 4.
 
Multijudge Corruption Rings 1931
 
5.
 
First-Mover Risk 1931
 
v.
 
analysis
1932
 
 A.
 
Criminal Versus Civil Cases 1933
 
1.
 
Risk of Detection 1933
 
2.
 
 Actual Incidence 1936
 
3.
 
Bias and Alternative Explanations 1940
 
B.
 
Traffic Bribes 1942
 
conclusion
1943
 

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