"The Presentation of Probability to the Jury," FDCC Quarterly Winter 2011


Juries must take into account statistical evidence and probabilities in virtually every trial. Latha Raghavan tackles this subject in “The Presentation of Probability to the Jury.” They note that “the only way to assess 101 uncertainty is with the consideration of probabilities. The jury, therefore, inevitably considers probabilities when assessing evidence—that is, the jury considers how probable it is that the events occurred as each side presents them.” As the author explains with a practical examples and insights, it is imperative for lawyers to present statistical evidence in a way that does not distort the jury’s understanding of the facts. To do so, lawyers must understand how jurors (and even some judges) may misapprehend statistical evidence. If they anticipate these problems, lawyers can effectively present evidence of probabilities and counter an opponent’s misleading use of statistical evidence and help a jury reach an accurate verdict.