The Problem of Enforcement Error

Randy E. Barnett

in The Structure of Liberty

Published in print February 2000 | ISBN: 9780198297291
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598777 | DOI:
The Problem of Enforcement Error

Show Summary Details


The problem of enforcement error arises when using power to achieve compliance with justice and the rule of law increases the costs imposed by erroneous judgements on the innocent. Because the use of power imposes costs on the innocent, and rights legitimate the use of power, we need to limit the number and kind of rights we recognize to those which address pervasive social problems that cannot be dealt with adequately by any other means. So too, the use of force to prevent previous offenders from committing further crimes should be limited to those who have demonstrated by their past criminality or other conduct, their intention to violate rights in the future. This showing should be subjected to a standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Keywords: burden of proof; costs; enforcement error; force; re‐offending; rights; social problems

Chapter.  8965 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.