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Hypothesis Thinking in the Court System

In the North American court system, a defendant is assumed innocent until proven guilty. In an ideal world, we would expect that the truly innocent will always go free, whereas the truly guilty ones will always be convicted. Now, let us tackle the following questions.

In the context of the Type I error and Type II error, can you relate a court trial scenario in terms of these two errors?

What would be your ideal situation if you are the defendant?

What would be your ideal situation if you are the prosecuting attorney?

Lastly, what do you think of the scenario of an ideal world where we expect that no innocent will be found guilty and all guilty will be convicted in the context of Type I error and Type II error?

Solution Preview

I have answered your questions in the attached MS Word doc. Good luck, I hope this is clear and that it helps you.

First of all, let me tell you that I love this question. When I first encountered hypothesis testing this little analogy is what helped me understand the thinking process behind hypothesis testing. I'm thinking about writing a book about hypothesis testing and using this exact analogy (and a few others) to help explain the whole thing.
In the North American court system, a defendant is assumed innocent until proven guilty. In an ideal world, we would expect that the truly innocent will always go free, whereas the truly guilty ones will always be convicted. Now, let us tackle the following questions.

In the context of the Type I error and Type II error, can you relate a court trial scenario in terms of these two errors?
In a hypothesis test the null hypothesis is assumed to be true until evidence (in the form of the data that has been collected) makes what the null is claiming seem at best highly improbable, in which case it would be the alternative hypothesis that would seem the more likely of the two (since the null and alternative are set up in such a way that if one is true the other cannot be true, and vice versa). The whole "hypothesis test thing" though starts with the assumption that the null is true. In a trial by jury we have the defendant claiming that s/he is innocent of the charges leveled against her/him (we know this ...

Solution Summary

Hypothesis thinking in the court systems are examined. Type I errors and Type II errors are examined.

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