Digging into the Foundations of Evidence Law

22 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2017 Last revised: 15 Apr 2017

See all articles by David H. Kaye

David H. Kaye

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law; Arizona State University - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law - School of Life Science

Date Written: January 22, 2017

Abstract

This essay reviews “The Psychological Foundations of Evidence Law” by Michael Saks and Barbara Spellman. Part I describes the book and its many insights. Part II focuses on the psychological (or logical) model that the book presents for understanding relevance and probative value. Saks and Spellman assume that the arithmetic difference between posterior and prior probabilities is a suitable measure of probative value. The essay questions this formulation. Using simple examples and a minimum of mathematics, it explains both likelihood ratios and Bayes’s factors and indicates the role they play in different theories of statistical inference and learning. It shows how these quantities (or variants on them) help explicate the meaning of evidentiary weight for individual items or collective bodies of evidence.

Keywords: evidence, jury psychology, Bayes factor, likelihood ratio, probative value, relevance, weight of evidence

JEL Classification: C00, C11, C19

Suggested Citation

Kaye, David H., Digging into the Foundations of Evidence Law (January 22, 2017). Michigan Law Review, Forthcoming; Penn State Law Research Paper No. 4-2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2903618

David H. Kaye (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

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

Arizona State University - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law - School of Life Science ( email )

111 E Taylor St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States

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

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