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Science Bench Book for Judges: Section 4 Introduction to Statistical Thinking for Judges

Journal: Science Bench Book for Judges
Published: 2020
Primary Author: Alicia Carriquiry
Secondary Authors: Eryn Blagg

Alicia Carriquiry, the director of the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE), and Eryn Blagg, a doctoral student in statistics at Iowa State University, wrote a section on statistics for the newly released second edition of the Science Bench Book for Judges.

The Science Bench Book for Judges was created by the Justice Speakers Institute and The National Judicial College with funding by the State Justice Institute. It is available online, downloadable, searchable and free. It is meant to guide and assist judges during pre-trial, trial and post-trial proceedings in both civil and criminal cases.

The bench book provides judges with an overview of legal procedure involving validity, reliability and admissibility of evidence. It introduces research terminology, concepts and scientific methods and includes case citations, relevant legal authority and evidentiary rulings. It was prepared under the guidance and written by appellate justices, judges, legal scholars and lawyers.

Carriquiry and Blagg’s section, Introduction to Statistical Thinking for Judges, explains some of the common concepts used in statistical analysis. They start by defining the basics, including populations and samples, before moving on to different types of data that might arise in legal proceedings. They also discuss various approaches to collecting data, design of studies, summarizing sample information and making conclusions about a population using information from a sample. Carriquiry and Blagg finish the section by discussing how to assess the quality of data from a sample or a study.

To download the complete bench book, visit http://justicespeakersinstitute.com/science-bench-book/.

To download Carriquiry and Blagg’s section, go to http://justicespeakersinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/4-Statistics.pdf.

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