Unambiguous Deterrence: Ambiguity Attitudes in the Juvenile Justice System and the Case for a Right to Counsel During Intake Proceedings
This Note is the first to apply behavioral insights about ambiguity attitudes to deterrence models within the juvenile justice system. Drawing on insights from behavioral economics and psychology literature, this Note argues that juveniles are likely to be ambiguity-averse with respect to detection and ambiguity-seeking with respect to punishment. In other words, juveniles are more likely to commit crimes if the odds of being caught are clear and the odds of being punished, if caught, are unclear. Therefore, maximum deterrence of juvenile crime can be achieved by making detection more ambiguous—making the probability of detection less clear—and by making punishment less ambiguous—making the probability of punishment more clear. Based on this theory and an analysis of current levels of ambiguity in the juvenile justice system, this Note advocates for providing juveniles a right to counsel at intake proceedings as one way to decrease the ambiguity of punishment and deter juvenile crime.
J.D./Ph.D. in Law and Economics, expected 2019, Vanderbilt University Law School; B.A., 2013, Lewis & Clark College.