Profile evidence, fairness, and the risks of mistaken convictions

Marcello Di Bello, Collin O’neil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Many oppose the use of profile evidence against defendants at trial, even when the statistical correlations are reliable and the jury is free from prejudice. The literature has struggled to justify this opposition. We argue that admitting profile evidence is objectionable because it violates what we call “equal protection”—that is, a right of innocent defendants not to be exposed to higher ex ante risks of mistaken conviction compared to other innocent defendants facing similar charges. We also show why admitting other forms of evidence, such as eyewitness, trace, and motive evidence, does not violate equal protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-178
Number of pages32
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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