Saturday, January 22, 2005

Bifrucation & Reverse Bifurcation

This is a request for input or collaboration, really. One of my current research projects (hopefully a forthcoming article) is focused on the role of bifurcation in both civil and criminal trials (where phases of the trial, like guilt/liability and damages/punishment, are done separately, usually to avoid prejudice or for strategic reasons). I am mostly interested in the developing area of reverse bifurcation, where the traditional order is reversed - that is, in a civil case, the judge has the jury decide the damages first before impanleing a second jury to assess liability, or in a criminal case, where the court determines the sentence first and then has a trial to determine actual guilt. There's very little - if any - serious scholarship published on the latter phenomenon, although there is evidence that courts are experimenting with it. I'm particularly interested in interdisciplinary discussion of these procedures (economics, psychology, decision theory, game theory, etc.), but would also be interested in anecdotal evidence or experiences from practitioners.

If any of my readers are also researching in this area, or have suggestions for good material, or simply know a lot about it and have lots of well-informed opinions, I'd be much obliged. Thanks!