Law-Community Agreement and Conflict, and Its Implications

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter first discusses how the criminal law does often agree with community intuitions, but it also often conflicts with lay judgments of justice. It builds on the discussion of the “utility of desert,” in Chapter 8 and elaborates further on the implications of these conflicts. It explains that the community and the law often differ not just in their result but in their general approach to assessing liability. It considers the interesting attraction that test subjects had for using the “liability but no punishment” option commonly given to them in the research studies. Finally, it examines whether the use of a jury system has implications for the present research findings.


criminal law, justice, lay judgments, community view, utility of desert, criminal liability, punishment, jury system

Publication Title

Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert