Bayes and the Law: Legal Cases

Case NameYearKey IssuesLink or Description
State of Vermont v A Passino   1991  Defendant's database fallacy  State of Vermont v A Passino
MacDaniel v Brown  2010  Prosecutor fallacy, DNA evidence  Supreme Court opinion 
Brown v Farwell  2008  Prosecutor fallacy, DNA evidence  Blog on case 
R v Sally Clark   2000, 2003 (appeal)  Prosecutor fallacy in shaken baby case  Royal Statistical Society letter about case 
Michael Pringle v The Queen  2003  Prosecutor fallacy in rape/murder case  Case summary 
Smith v HM Advocate  2008  Banknote drug trace evidence   Appeal Court, High Court of Justiciary Decision 
The Guildford Four  1975, 1989 (Appeal)  Prosecutor fallacy  BBC News article on appeal 
People v. Puckett (No. A121368, Cal. Ct. App., 1st Dist.)  2008  Cold hit DNA match  Science and Law blog 
United States of America v Raymond Jenkins  2005??  Cold hit probability  Keith Devlin article on cold hit probabilities
R v London Borough of Croydon (EWHC 1473 (Admin)  2011  Prosecutor fallacy by medical expert in asylum case  Judgment on Bailii 
R v Deen (Appeal)  1994  Prosecutor fallacy in rape trial appeal  News article 
Dreyfus  1894-1906  Prosecutor's fallacy  Dreyfus, 1894-1906 
Wilson v Maryland (Court of Appeals of Maryland, 370 Md 191, 803, A 2d 1034)  2002  Prosecutor fallacy and treating dependant probabilities as independent in SIDS case  Prof Peter Tillers commentary 
R v George (EWCA Crim 2722)  2001, 2007  Prosecutor fallacy  Court of Appeal judgment, 2007 
People of the State of California v Collins (68 Cal 2d)  1968  Ultimate issue error  See Ch. 1 of Korb and Nicholson, Bayesian Artificial Intelligence Vol. 1, (CRC, 2004) 
Commonwealth of Massachussetts v Sacco and Vanzetti   1921    Sacco and Vanzetti 
The Birmingham Six (Appeal) (93 Cr. App. R. 287)  1991  Prosecutor fallacy  BBC article 
R v Denis Adams [2 Cr App R 467]  1996  Prosecutor fallacy  Judgment on Bailii 
R v Kempster (Appeal) (EWCA Crim 975)  2008  Fallacious belief in possibility of unique earprint match in burglary case appeal  Article on case by barrister 
Belhaven and Stenton Peerage Case, 1 App Cas 279  1875  Established precedent for combining different pieces of circumstantial evidence.   Belhaven and Stenton Peerage Case, 1 App Cas 279, 1875 
R v Van Beelen  1973  How to reason about combined evidence  Article on the issues in the case 
Janet Birch v University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, EWHC 2237  2008  Incomplete assessment of comparative risks of different treatments  Judgment on Bailii 
R v Dallagher (EWCA Crim 1903)  2002  Prosecutor fallacy in earprint case  Judgment on Bailii 
R v T (EWCA Crim 2439)  2010  Reliability of probabilistic evidence in shoe marks  Judgment on Bailii 
Lucia de Berk  2003, 2010  Correctly assessing probability of a rare event  Presentation on case by Prof Richard Gill 
R v Norris  2008  Prosecutor fallacy. Correctly assessing the probability of a rare event  BBC News article about case 
State of New Mexico v Joe Sneed  1967  Incorrect probabilistic reasoning/assuming independence of dependent events  Appeal court decision 
R v C (EWCA Crim 1607)  2011  Prosecutor's fallacy in rape trial  Details of judgment on www.bailii.org 
R v GK NSWCCA 413  2001  Paternity test evidence excluded because of potential prosecutor fallcy  Summary of case 
R v Gilfoyle (Appeal against Conviction) (2 Cr.App.R. 5)  2000  Lack of statistical database to underpin expert psychiatric opinion  Appeal court decision 
R v Bates (EWCA Crim 1395)  2006  Admissibility of match probability of partial DNA  Judgment on Bailii 
R v Robert Watters (Appeal)  2000  Probative value of DNA match evidence in absence of other evidence  Judgment on Forensic-Evidence.com 
R v Ronald and Sylvia Benn (EWCA Crim 2100)  2004  reliability of banknote drug trace probability evidence  Supreme Court Judgment 
R. v Musa-Gbengba  1997  Appropriateness of a DNA database from which a DNA match probability was drawn   
R v Van Hung Tran (50 A.Crim.R. 233)  1990  Appropriateness of general population DNA database for ethnic minorities in Australia  Article: 'DNA: a trial lawyer's persepective' 
R v Compton, Compton and Compton (EWCA Crim 2835)  2002  reliability of drug trace on banknote probability evidence  Norman Fenton powerpoint presentation 
R v Docherty (1 Cr. App. R. 274, 276)  1999  Prosecutor fallacy   
Angela Cannings (Appeal)  2003  Mistaken assumption of independent probabilities in SIDS case  BBC News article 
State v Skipper (228. Conn 610, 637 A.2d 1101)  1994  Controversy over prior probability given by expert witness in paternity test  Article: 'Probability and proof in State v Skipper - an internet exchange' 
R v Dalby (CA 94/2819/W2)  1995  Prosecutor fallacy in rape trial  Discussed in M. Redmayne, 'Presenting probabilities in court - the DNA experience' 
People v Castro 545 NY Supp 985 (SC, NY).  1989  Established rules for presentation of DNA evidence in court  Discussed in Robertson and Vignaux, ''DNA evidence: wrong answers or wrong questions' 
R v Doheny and Adams (1 Cr App R 369, CA)  1997  Prosecutor fallacy and match probability calculations  Discussed in J Ledward, 'Understanding forensic evidence - do lawyers and the judiciary understand forensic evidence and the Bayesian approach?' 
Ross v State of Indiana (Indiana Court of Appeal)  1996  Source probability error 

Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 

Kumho Tire Co. Ltd. v. Carmichael (526 U.S. 137)  1999  Sup Ct (USA) ruling refining the Daubert Rule  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
State of Vermont v T Streich 658 A.2d 38  1995  Source probability error  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
Wike v State (596 So 2nd 1020, Fla S. Ct.)  1992  source probability error  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
Ross v State, B14-90-00659. Tex. App   1992  Numerical conversion error  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
R v Montella (1 NZLR High Court)  1992  Confusing presentation of Bayesian evidence in court  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
U.S. v Jakobetz (955 F. 2d 786 2nd cir. 1992)  1992  Source probability error  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
R v Gordon (1 Cr App R 290)  1995  Prosecutor fallacy  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
US v Llera Plaza 188 F Supp 2nd 549  2002  Admissibility of probabilistic evaluation of fingerprint evidence  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
Re the Paternity of M.J.B. : T.A.T., 144 Wis. 2d 638; 425 N.W. 2d 404  1988  Estimation of prior probability of paternity  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
State of New Jersey v. J.M. Spann, 130 N.J. 484; 617 A. 2d 247  1993  Estimation of prior probability of paternity  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
R v Bellfield  2007  Prosecutor fallacy, base rate fallacy, coincidence fallacy, "Crimewatch UK" fallacy  Discussed in Fenton and Martin, 'Avoiding Probabilistic Reasoning Fallacies in Legal Practice using Bayesian Networks' 
R v Splatt  1978  Wrongful conviction of murder because of incorrect interpretation of forensic evidence  Text of book by T Mann, Flawed Forensics: The Splatt Case and Stewart Cockburn 
R v O'Doherty (1 Cr. App. R. 5)  2002  Disallowal of auditory forensic evidence as sole means of identification of defendant    
People v. OJ Simpson  1995  Prosecutor fallacy  Discussed in Thompson, W.C. (1996). DNA Evidence in the O.J. Simpson Trial, Colorado Law Review, 67 (4), 827-857 
R v Galli [2001] NSWCCA 504  2001  Prosecutor fallacy with DNA evidence  Appeal Court Ruling 
Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc (509 US 579)  1993  Supreme Ct (USA) ruling established new rules for admissibility of expert testimony in federal court  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
R v Denis Adams (No 2) (1 Cr App R 377, CA)  1998  Retrial of R v Adams (1996), presentation of Bayesian analysis of DNA evidence to jury  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
R v Karger [2002] SASC 294  2002  Jury must be instructed not to make prosecutor fallacy in Australian DNA cases  Appeal judgment 
Latcha v The Queen (1998) 104 A Crim R 390  1998  Established rules for presentation of DNA evidence in Canada  Discussed in 2011 paper by Australian District Court judge 
Pantoja (Crim.App. No. 60718 of 1995)  1995  Reliability of DNA database as basis for probability calculations for ethnic minorities in Australia  Discussed in article 'Issues in Gathering, Interpreting and Delivering DNA Evidence'by Australian judge 
R v Royston Jackson (EWCA Crim 1870)  2011  Reliability of CCTV and fibre match probability evidence   
R v Kelly Gray (EWCA Crim 3564)  2005  Prosecutor fallacy about DNA evidence in drug trial   
R v Smith CA 9904098 Y3  2000  Failure to consider siblings in DNA match case/ questionable probative value of DNA match evidence   Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
R v Lashley, CA 9903890  2000  When DNA match is only evidence it cannot be said to prove guilt  Discussed in Aitken and Taroni, 'Statistics and the evaluation of evidence for forensic scientists' 
Lapper v R (NZCA 259)  2005  Use of Bayes on DNA evidence   
R v Berry and Wenitong (VSCA 202)  2007  Australian cold hit DNA case  Supreme court judgment 
R v Tony Maclean (EWCA Crim 773)  2005  Prosecutor fallacy re DNA evidence in rape case   
R. v Hassett CA 90/3304514/X3   1999  Prosecutor fallacy  Discussed in Redmayne, Mike (2001) Expert evidence and criminal justice. Oxford University Press, Oxford.  
R v Charles CA 9800104 z2   1998  Possible prosecutor fallacy over fingerprint evidence  Discussed in M. Redmayne, 'Appeals to reason', The Modern Law Review 65:1 (Jan 2002) 
Duffy & Anor, R v [2011] NICC 37  2011  Admissibility of probabilistic method of interpreting DNA evidence  Judgment on Bailii 
R. v. Donna Anthony [2005] EWCA Crim 952  2005  Miscalculation of probability of multiple SIDS deaths by Sir Roy Meadow  Appeal court judgment 
Saadi v Italy (European court of Human Rights)  2008  Judgment includes reference to Bayes' theorem as a means of estimating risk in an appeal against deportation   Judgment on Bailii 
F (Children) [2007] EWHC 3235 (Fam)  2007  Misleading use of likelihood ratios in child protection case  Judgment on Bailii 
R v Atkins and Anor [2009] EWCA Crim 1876  2009  Use of verbal scale by CCTV expert   Judgment on Baillii 
R v Yusuf Aytugrul (Australia)  2009  Presentation of DNA match probability   Report in The Australian 
Nulty & Ors v Milton Keynes Borough  2013  Appeal judge bans use of probability in reference to an event that has happened  blog article 
R v David Butler  2005, 2012  Flawed DNA, prosecutor fallacy reported  Report from Telegraph 
Plemel v Walter, 809 Or. 262, 735 P.zd 1209, 1219  1987  Bayes accepted for calculating for paternity probability  Full text of ruling 

 

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