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2009

Statistics

Michael I. Meyerson

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Significant Statistics: The Unwitting Policy Making Of Mathematically Ignorant Judges, Michael Meyerson Mar 2009

Significant Statistics: The Unwitting Policy Making Of Mathematically Ignorant Judges, Michael Meyerson

Michael I. Meyerson

The inability of judges to understand mathematics has led them to abdicate their responsibility to make important policy choices. This article explores the surprisingly wide-ranging effects of the judicial failure to understand the meaning of numbers. For example, largely unaware of both the meaning and effect of statistical analysis, courts have permitted prosecutors to highlight the race of criminal defendants when race is irrelevant to the case. Judges have also allowed prejudice to reduce tort awards for African Americans and woman. In cases involving securities fraud, courts have unwittingly created a system which exaggerates the harm of the risk of ...