One in Millions, Billions and Trillions: Lessons from People V. Collins (1968) for People V. Simpson (1995)
Journal of Legal Education, Vol 47, pp. 214-223, 1997
10 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2009 Last revised: 30 Jun 2015
Date Written: April 1, 1997
On June 18, 1994, newspaper headlines across the world trumpeted the arrest of sports superstar O. J. Simpson in Los Angeles for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. After a contentious nine-month trial, the jury took only three and a half hours to find Mr. Simpson not guilty of both murders.
For years to come, students entering law school will know the basic facts of the Simpson case and will have opinions about the incriminating value of the DNA evidence that linked Mr. Simpson to the crime scene. But few among them will know the significance of certain events that took place just a few miles from the Simpson/Goldman crime scene exactly thirty years earlier.
Keywords: DNA, probabilities, frequency statistics
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