Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Death Penalty and False Positives

  1. May 24, 2009 #1
    Discussing wheather to convict someone charged with murder and give them the death penalty, consider the variables "reality (defendant guilty, defendant innocent) and "decision" (convict, acquit)

    Jurors are asked to convict a defendant if they feel the defendant is "guilty beyond reasonable doubt" Suppose this means given the defendant is executed, the probability that s/he is truly guilty is 0.99. For the 873 people put to death from 1977 until September 2003, find the probability that:

    i) they were all truly guilty

    ii) at least on of them was actually innocent
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2009 #2
    Okay, is P(all those executed were actually guilty)= 0.99^873?
    P(at least one innocent)= 0.01^873

    Anyone who can let me know if I'm on the right track is appreciated =)
  4. May 24, 2009 #3
    0.01^873 is the probability that they're all innocent

    P(at least one of them is innocent) = 1 - P(all 873 are guilty)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook