Liars, Damned Liars, and …

Swaths of land, caravans of traders through the ages, have been the source of disputes. Equally long ago, although Deming exempts God, everyone else has relied on data produced for resolution. Who wins, who loses, who prospers, who fails, who lives, who dies? For the data answering these questions and their analysis, courts have come to rely upon the testimony of statisticians.

At first, it was measurement and evaluation, then lotteries and games of chance, but by now, we have arrived at the ubiquity of data and the need for evaluation requiring the presence of statisticians as expert witnesses in areas from civil rights and criminal justice to product liability, intellectual property, antitrust, bankruptcy, the many manifestations of fraud, and more. Although justice systems vary, the concept of expert witness is found in both the Anglo-American system prevalent in the ex-British colonies such as the U.S. and nations such as India that were part of the British Empire. It is recognized by civil systems as found in Western Europe. The goal throughout is to assist the trier of fact—judge or jury—by helping them understand complex evidence.

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