American Statistical Association
New York City
Metropolitan Area Chapter

Chapter Colloquium
April 1, 2019

The New York Metro Area Chapter of the American Statistical Association

In Collaboration With

The Educational Psychology Ph.D. Program of the City University of New York

Are Pleased to Invite You to a Colloquium



Michael O. Finkelstein
Bruce Levin


Almost 45 years ago one of us (MOF) published a study in the Harvard Law Review on the pattern of guilty pleas in the federal district courts [Michael O. Finkelstein, A Statistical Analysis of Guilty Plea Practices in The Federal Courts, 89 Harv. L. Rev. 293 (1975).] The study led to an estimate that more than two-thirds of the "marginal" defendants pleading guilty would not have been convicted had they contested their cases. It therefore concluded that various plea inducement pressures on defendants could not be justified on the ground that the accused would in any event have been convicted. The issues have become more important than ever before with the dramatically increased rates of guilty pleas and the Supreme Court's approval of virtually untrammeled prosecutorial discretion in putting pressure on defendants in the plea-bargaining process. In this talk we will revisit the question with more complete and up-to-date data. Though the statistical methods are fairly elementary, the results are striking from both a legal and statistical perspective.

Biographical Notes

Michael O. Finkelstein is a retired member of the New York Bar, and has given courses on statistics for lawyers at the law schools of Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has a life-long interest in statistics and its uses (and misuses) in the law. His ground breaking paper, The Application of Statistical Decision Theory to the Jury Discrimination Cases (80 Harv. L. Rev. 338, 353-356, 1966) was cited in Justice Blackmun's majority opinion for the Supreme Court's decision in the landmark jury discrimination case Castaneda v. Partida, 430 U.S. 482 (1977). Mr. Finkelstein's first book Quantitative Methods in Law: Studies in the Application of Mathematical Probability and Statistics to Legal Problems (The Free Press, 1979) also had a major impact in the field, ultimately leading to his magnum opus, Statistics for Lawyers which he co-authored with statistician Bruce Levin. He has authored or co-authored some 34 articles on the subject.

Bruce Levin is Professor and Past Chair of the Department of Biostatistics at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He has a long-standing interest in developing innovative clinical trial designs, including those reducing ethical costs using adaptive sequential selection procedures, and has served as senior biostatistician on many clinical trials. From the mid-1970s Dr. Levin has been fascinated by the use of statistical reasoning in the law and has testified as an expert statistical witness in many cases. In 1990 Mr. Finkelstein and he co-authored the well-known textbook, Statistics for Lawyers, now in its 3rd edition (Springer, 2015). Dr. Levin is also co-author of Statistical Methods for Rates and Proportions, 3rd Ed. with the late Joseph L. Fleiss and Myunghee Cho Paik (Wiley, 2003) and co-author of The Biostatistics of Aging with Gilberto Levy (Wiley, 2014).

Monday, April 1, 2019

5:00 - 7:00 P.M.

CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street)
Room - To Be Announced
New York, New York

Registration and Fees
Online Registration Form
There is no fee but advanced registration is required.
The registration deadline is Thursday, March 28, 2019.
Light refreshments will be served.

Additional Information
For questions, send an e-mail to

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