American Statistical Association
New York City
Metropolitan Area Chapter

Chapter Lecture
February 9, 2009



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 Lecture

STATISTICS IN THE LAW:
SOME LESSONS FROM FAMOUS AND INFAMOUS CASES


by

Michael O. Finkelstein
Lecturer-in-Law
Columbia Law School
and
Bruce Levin
Professor and Chair
Department of Biostatistics
Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University



Abstract

Statistical models have become increasingly important as evidence in certain types of law cases and in studies of legal institutions. Multiple regression models in anti-discrimination class actions and epidemiological studies in toxic tort cases are prime examples. However, statistical expertise is not always brought to bear when it might be useful. We discuss two examples. The first is the infamous litigation, Bush v. Gore, that ended the 2000 presidential election. Our study leads us to conclude that the data do not support the reasons given by the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court for their decisions. The second example involves a venerable legal institution: peremptory challenges of prospective jurors for perceived bias. We apply a statistical model to peremptory strike data in a federal court and find that most strikes are "guesswork" rather than "clear choices." This result suggests to us that the allowed number of strikes should be reduced to prevent unlawful discrimination in their use.

Biographical Note

Michael O. Finkelstein is a lawyer in New York City specializing in cases involving statistical evidence. He teaches Statistics for Lawyers at Columbia Law School and has also taught at Harvard, Yale, and University of Pennsylvania law schools. He is the co-author, with Professor Bruce Levin, of Statistics for Lawyers, a standard text, now in its second edition.

Bruce Levin is Professor and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Levin has an interest in statistical methodology for clinical trials, public health, and the law. He is the senior statistical consultant on several multicenter randomized clinical trials in the fields of neurology and cardiology. He creates innovative trial designs like sequential phase II trials that combine selection methods with non-superiority (futility) testing. Dr. Levin is co-author, with Myunghee Cho Paik and the late Joseph L. Fleiss, of the classic textbook Statistical Methods for Rates and Proportions, now in its third edition. Dr. Levin has also served as an expert statistical witness in over a fifteen court cases and hearings, and, as mentioned above, is co-author with Michael O. Finkelstein of Statistics for Lawyers, 2nd Edition.


Date
Monday, February 9, 2009

Time
4:30 to 7:00 P.M.

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

Registration and Fees
Registration closed Friday, January 30, 2009.
Light refreshments will be served.

Additional Information
For questions, send an e-mail to nycasa@mindspring.com.


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