id: 06464615
dt: j
an: 2015e.00914
au: McGivney-Burelle, Jean; McGivney, Katherine; McGivney, Ray
ti: People vs. Collins: statistics as a two-edged sword.
so: AMATYC Rev. 28, No. 1, 22-30 (2006).
py: 2006
pu: ,
la: EN
cc: M90 K40 K70 K90 I20 I40
ut: mathematical applications; real-life mathematics; legal sciences;
statistics; differential calculus; functions; limits
ci:
li:
ab: Summary: Real-life applications of the use (and misuse) of mathematics
invariably pique students’ interest. This article describes a legal
case in California that occurred in the 1960’s in which a couple was
convicted of robbery, in part, based on the expert testimony of a
statistics instructor. On appeal, the judge noted several mathematical
errors in this testimony and overturned the conviction. In fact, he
observed that at least one of the instructor’s arguments actually
pointed to the innocence of the accused couple. This article gives the
details of the alleged crime itself, the main points of the
instructor’s testimony, and the judge’s corrections. It ends with
an interesting mathematical footnote from the judge, the details of
which surprisingly involve an application of L’Hôspital’s rule.
rv: