Bayes 15: closing confession

I shall close this series of Bayesian blog posts with a confession. Ex ante, before I began building my Bayesian model of the litigation process, I had taken a dim view of the legal game. Given the complexity and ambiguity of substantive as well as procedural rules, the indeterminate nature of most legal standards, and the high levels of strategic behavior by both litigants and judges, I expected my Bayesian model to confirm my negative view of the legal process. Ironically, however, the results of my Bayesian model of the litigation game were very surprising. In essence, my model shows that, regardless of the operative rules of procedure and substantive legal doctrine, a guilty verdict is nevertheless a highly reliable indicator of a defendant’s actual guilt. Specifically, my model demonstrates that when a defendant is found guilty of committing a wrongful act (civil or criminal), there is a high posterior probability that the defendant actually committed such a wrongful act, even when the underlying process of adjudication is random and even when the moving parties are risk-loving or less-than-virtuous!

Note: Because of two other research projects I am currently working on right now–both of which must be completed by April 16–as well as my regular spring semester teaching duties, I will be suspending my series of Bayesian blog posts for the time being. (After April 16, I will resume this series by showing how Bayesian methods can solve the blue bus problem and other evidentiary paradoxes.) In the meantime, I will switch gears, so to speak, and blog about my two ongoing research research projects in the days ahead …

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About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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3 Responses to Bayes 15: closing confession

  1. Despite the convoluted nature of the American legal system, a guilty verdict is an adequate measure of guilt ( in most cases)?

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