Noise in the Courtroom!

The acquitted often walk out court with a huge smile on their face, convinced that any stain on their character has been erased.

But more guilty people get tried and acquitted than the average of the population. So barring a dramatic Perry-Mason-like revelation, the trial is evidence of guilt – noisy evidence, but evidence none the less. It isn’t legal or scientific evidence, but it is evidence that a Bayesian should use.

But while employers can often access criminal records of convictions, they are generally barred from finding out about acquittals (especially if the accused take steps to have their arrest expunged); and the potential employee is often allowed to lie if asked directly. This noisy measure is deemed officially unavailable.

Should it be available? And in what way is this noisy measure different from those used in education and in medicine?

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