Legal and Statistical Aspects of Some Mysterious Clusters

Journal of the Royal Statistical Society A, Vol. 154, Part 1, pp. 61-74, 1991

15 Pages Posted: 10 May 2016 Last revised: 12 May 2016

See all articles by Stephen E Fienberg

Stephen E Fienberg

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

David H. Kaye

PSU - Penn State Law (University Park); ASU - College of Law & School of Life Sciences

Date Written: April 1, 1990

Abstract

Criminal and civil trials often involve events that appear to cluster together in time or space, and the existence and size of the cluster often is interpreted as implying that the occurrence of the events could not be a coincidence. This paper examines the statistical evidence introduced in several cases to show how such mysterious clusters should be interpreted. The paper considers this form of evidence in the context of legal views on the admissibility of evidence about 'similar events', and it suggests a more formal statistical argument that might be used to justify admissibility in one category of cases.

Keywords: clusters of events, latent variables, evidence of similar events, statistical testimony

JEL Classification: C1

Suggested Citation

Fienberg, Stephen E and Kaye, David H., Legal and Statistical Aspects of Some Mysterious Clusters (April 1, 1990). Journal of the Royal Statistical Society A, Vol. 154, Part 1, pp. 61-74, 1991, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2777146

Stephen E Fienberg

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

David H. Kaye (Contact Author)

PSU - Penn State Law (University Park)

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.personal.psu.edu/dhk3/index.htm

ASU - College of Law & School of Life Sciences ( email )

111 E Taylor St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.personal.psu.edu/dhk3/index.htm

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