100% Error Rate

If you decide that out of 5,000 potential innocence cases only one meets the criteria for DNA testing, and then you do the test and it exonerates the prisoner, the only accurate way to describe that result is the title of this post.

But in Colorado, the prosecutor “conviction integrity unit” conducting the reviews – or not, as the case may be, except in the one instance – boasts that it proves the opposite:  the near infallibility of the justice system on the first go round.  Because only one in 5,000.

The defect in reasoning is stunning.  Law school is supposed to weed minds like this out before they ever get to practice law at all, to say nothing of prosecuting people.


(h/t wrongful convictions blog)

Then again, systemic failure?  Well, sure.



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4 responses to “100% Error Rate

  1. Chris Halkides

    This is reminiscent of a calculation that Scalia used to champion IIRC. I think it is a disingenuous argument, rather than one made in ignorance.


  2. Zarepheth

    I believe this is a deliberate attempt to mislead the public. I’m under the impression that many of those in positions of power are evil and use their intellects to oppress other people. The only “stupid” thing about this, is the obvious fallacy for anyone schooled in statistics. For those not schooled or who have forgotten that schooling, such an argument would make perfect sense…


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