Reblog / posted 6 days ago with 20 notes
"Social research differs fundamentally from advocacy research. Advocacy research refers to research that sifts though evidence to argue a predetermined position. Lawyers engage in advocacy research in attempting to prove the guilt or innocence of defendants. Special interest groups engage in advocacy research when trying to influence the vote of lawmakers on a particular bill. The aim of advocacy research is to convince others to think or act in a given way. Hence advocacy research presents evidence selectively, focusing on supporting evidence and suppressing contrary or inconvenient evidence."
— Glenn Firebaugh, Seven Rules for Social Research 

Reblog / posted 1 week ago with 14 notes
Will You Be Seated on a Jury?

You have been called for jury duty. But are you the kind of juror the lawyers want? Here is a hypothetical case, with questions designed by a jury consultant for The New York Times. Your responses will not be stored.

imageI read some interesting research in jury selection and peremptory challenges this week in class.

Surprisingly, the survey indicates that the defense would love me, even though on the surface I would tend to lean with the plaintiff. However, the plaintiff would probably use one of their challenges on me and I would not serve on the jury. 

Do you think you would be selected for a jury? 


Reblog / posted 1 week ago with 31 notes
"First, it must be understood that, despite claims to objectivity, science is a human endeavor and subject to human failings. Theory in science is necessary to guide science. However, once theories are proposed there is a risk that their proponents become emotionally attached to them and unable to consider them objectively. This is, in essence, the process Kuhn (1970) refers to in paradigm change, in which proponents of a preexisting theoretical paradigm defend the paradigm vigorously, even in the face of disconfirmatory data. Or put another way, scholars begin to invest their energy into proving true a particular theory rather than falsifying it, which would be the proper conduct of science. Once scholars have become invested (whether emotionally, financially or through their reputations) in a particular theory, they risk slipping into functioning as advocates for their position rather than as objective scientists. Particularly when some scientists have actually taken research funding from advocacy groups, this risk is considerable."

Ferguson and Dyck (2012)

Preach!


"For every one female killer, about nine men are murderers. For every one woman who kills another unrelated women, about 30 men kill an unrelated man. The gender imbalance in the killing of same-sex acquaintances or strangers is one of the most extreme behavioral differences known between the sexes."
— David Rowe, Biology and Crime

Four decades of death penalty executions by year, state, race and gender, in 1 chart
I dig the new wave of visualizations that are coming out, but I’m not sure it makes it any easier to understand what is actually happening. 
Some death penalty statistics:
14 females (1.01%) have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, while 1,371 males have been executed (98.9%). 
771 (55.7%) were white, and 467 (33.7%) were black.
515 (37.2%) were carried out in Texas alone. (and that is even misleading as most of the executions come from only a few counties)
1,208 (87.2%) were executed by lethal injection. Lethal injection has also been used in last 744 of 755 executions.

Four decades of death penalty executions by year, state, race and gender, in 1 chart

I dig the new wave of visualizations that are coming out, but I’m not sure it makes it any easier to understand what is actually happening. 

Some death penalty statistics:

14 females (1.01%) have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, while 1,371 males have been executed (98.9%). 

771 (55.7%) were white, and 467 (33.7%) were black.

515 (37.2%) were carried out in Texas alone. (and that is even misleading as most of the executions come from only a few counties)

1,208 (87.2%) were executed by lethal injection. Lethal injection has also been used in last 744 of 755 executions.


"Persons dreaded for their brutality are the first ones to be suspected of a violent crime; despised persons of a mean act; and those who arouse disgust of an unclean act. People with bad reputations are accused and convicted on the basis of evidence which one would consider insufficient if an unfavorable prejudice did not relate them to the crime in advance. On the contrary, if the accused had won our favor we demand irrefutable proof before we impute to him the crime."
— Paul Fauconnet

"It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of facts."
— Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Second Stain

The intended victim, a 43-year-old man who has not been named, says his wife tried to lure him into bed and encouraged him to perform oral sex on her. His suspicions were aroused when he noticed an unusual odour emanating from her private parts and, fearing she was unwell, took her to hospital, Brazil’s Tvi24 reports. Medical tests revealed she had doused her vagina with enough of the unspecified toxin to kill both her husband and herself.

Confronted with the test results the woman reportedly confessed to her crime. It is believed she hatched the bizarre plot after asking her husband for a divorce, a request he now seems rather more likely to acquiesce to. Tvi24 says the woman has received medical treatment and sources claim her husband plans to sue her for attempted murder.

I can’t. 

Why was she not charged with attempted murder?


"Overall, then, inmates with mental disorders are disproportionately represented among victims of physical violence inside prison. However, their rate of physical victimization in prison compares favorably with their estimated rate of victimization in the community. In their study, Teplin et al. (2005) estimated that more than one-quarter of persons with SMI had been victims of a violent crime in the past year, a rate more than 11 times higher than the general population rates even after controlling for demographic differences. This suggests that the risk of physical victimization for individuals with mental disorder in the community is significantly greater than their risk of being physically victimized in prison."

Blitz, C.L., Wolff, N., & Shi, J. 2008. “Physical Vicitmization in Prison: The Role of Mental Illness.” International Journal of Law and Psychiatry.

This suggests that the risk of physical victimization for individuals with mental disorder in the community is significantly greater than their risk of being physically victimized in prison.


Fear of victimization does not equal the reality of victimization. 

Many groups that fear victimization the most actually have significantly lower rates of victimization compared to their counterparts. 

Those that fear victimization the least actually get victimized the most. 


"…having one’s throat cut can change the way one looks at the world, or at least at one’s self."
— Adrian Raine, The Anatomy of Violence

Rates of violent victimization in the United States broken down by Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Age.
2012 National Crime Victimization Survey- Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics 
This includes crimes not reported to the police. Standard errors can be found in the linked pdf in the appendix, for all the fellow nerds out there.
Just to put everything into a little perspective. 

Rates of violent victimization in the United States broken down by Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Age.

2012 National Crime Victimization Survey- Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics 

This includes crimes not reported to the police. Standard errors can be found in the linked pdf in the appendix, for all the fellow nerds out there.

Just to put everything into a little perspective. 


"The line between good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being."
— Alexandre Solzenitsyn

"If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."
— W.I. Thomas, The Child in America (1928)

"You never realize how much of your background is sewn into the lining of your clothes."
Tom Wolfe