Oct 12

Math Across the Cannon Talk

Tue, October 12, 2021 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm (1h) • Weitz Cinema

CSI Statistics: How the Principled Use of Quantitative Methods can Contribute to the Fair Administration of Justice

Lecture 7:00-8:00 pm, Reception 8:00 pm

The United States leads the world in terms of the number of its citizens it incarcerates. Black and Brown people are over-represented among jailed individuals and tend to receive harsher sentences than Whites for the same crime. Saddest of all, the Innocence Network estimates that about 20,000 wrongfully convicted individuals are languishing in jail today for crimes they did not commit. Ad-hoc forensic methods, exaggerated claims and junk science are leading contributors to wrongful convictions. Yet many un-validated, poorly tested forensic technologies continue to be admitted in court proceedings. Today we briefly highlight some of the limitations of forensic practice and propose a principled quantitative framework to address those limitations. We focus on the forensic question of source: how likely is it that the defendant was the source of the evidence at the crime scene? When the evidence is biological, forensic DNA analysis provides science-based answers. When evidence consists of a pattern such as a fingerprint or the markings on a fired bullet, much of the science still needs to be developed.

This event is sponsored by The St. Olaf Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, The Carleton Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the Michael Morrill Fund,


from Mathematics and Statistics

Event Contact: Sue Jandro

Event Summary

Math Across the Cannon Talk
  • Intended For: General Public, Students, Faculty, Staff

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