The Issue of Bad Math in Court Discussion Essays

The Issue of Bad Math in Court Discussion Essays

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Bad math in court is something that happens over and over again and because of it, many innocent victims have been jailed and punished unjustly over the years. The problem is not some sort of miscalculation, but the refusal of the court to recalculate. More than often enough, the judge refuses to reexamine the collected DNA in an investigation case. What the people of the court fail to realize at times is that probability is not a one off thing, it is something that should be repeated at least more than once and can even be repeated over and over again. The flipping of a coin is frequently used to explain this logic and will be explained in following paragraphs. Sometimes statistician will state that there is only a one in a million chance (or some other ludicrously large number) that the defendant is innocent; but then they fail to examine: what is that 1, what are the chances that the accused that that one in a million? In this paper, I will be discussing the issue of ‘bad math in court,’ why it happens and how something as simple as probability can get innocent people out of jail.

I chose to explore the idea of bad math in court’ because ever since I was a child, my mother always said to me: “No matter what you choose to do in life, it’ll always require mathematics.” She said this as a way to encourage me to take my math classes more seriously (and it worked!) When watching an episode of criminal minds, my mom’s saying came into mind and I was left wondering if what my mom said was true. Once my teacher introduced this Math IA project, I took it as the perfect opportunity for me to explore an issue that had been bugging me for a while, which was: Math in Court. However, when I was doing a little but of background information...


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...entity beyond a reasonable doubt, then neither could a second test on an even smaller sample.”
The judge exhibited a strong mathematical fallacy when he assumed that repeating the test could not tell us anything about the reliability of the first results. What he didn’t realize was that by doing a test twice and obtaining the same result, it would tell us something about the possible accuracy of the original result.
I mean lets say we made a tree diagram based on how many heads and tales we got. We would do this test over and over again till we could determine the likelihood that we had a higher or lower prospect of spinning a head or a tail:




http://ibmathsresources.com/2013/05/03/amanda-knox-and-bad-maths-in-courts/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22310186
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/27/opinion/when-judges-cant-do-math-justice-suffers.html?_r=4&

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