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The Champion

December 2016 , Page 61 

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Book Review: Math on Trial - How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom

By Susan Elizabeth Reese

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Math on Trial
How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom

By Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez
Basic Books (2015)

This small volume is a fascinating, cogently written study of mathematics in the courtroom. Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez, the mother-daughter authors, who live in Paris and London, respectively, examine 10 cases from across the globe and through the centuries to illustrate that “the same mathematical tricks that mislead the public about market trends and risk and social problems have sent innocent people to prison.” (p. ix)

The description of a specific math error precedes each story. The cases provide often harrowing examples of the weight fact-finders place on mathematical concepts and the devastating consequences math errors can produce.

Sally Clark, a young lawyer in London, was the victim of faulty testimony by pediatrician Roy Meadows that the chances of two crib deaths in a family of the Clark’s socioeconomic status were “one chance in

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