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Join the conversation! There are now 6 comments... what are your thoughts?

I think a better way to do it would be to ask what the ‘average’ person would do. That way, the government could have a mandatory survey of everyone in the country, and then use the results of that as a gauge for this kind of defense.

Sounds like about as close as one can get to the “reasonable person” standard. So to make an operational definition of the “reasonable” standard, ask a large random sample of the population what they would do in the given circumstances, and then take the average (with hopefully a small standard deviation) response as the “reasonable” one.
Or just use what’s probably already in place, which is basically taking the average of the responses of the jurors.

The one problem with that is that the responses might not be normally distributed. The median respondent might claim to have more self-restraint than the average respondent, or vice versa. My preference would be to go by the median person rather than the average person, because that way you don’t have to worry about the people at either tail of the distribution skewing the results.

For median to have meaning, the responses must be orderable. For an arithmetic mean (what most people intend when they say ‘average’ without qualification) to have meaning, the responses must be numeric. I’m not sure what the question is, but I’m having trouble coming up with one that would result in numeric or even orderable answers.

I think you want the modal average, in which case normal distribution is irrelevant.

That’s an EPIC amount of room for abuse…

As opposed to what? Doing away with juries altogether? The

whole pointof evenhavinga jury is to provide a standard for a reasonable person.I think a better way to do it would be to ask what the ‘average’ person would do. That way, the government could have a mandatory survey of everyone in the country, and then use the results of that as a gauge for this kind of defense.

Sounds like about as close as one can get to the “reasonable person” standard. So to make an operational definition of the “reasonable” standard, ask a large random sample of the population what they would do in the given circumstances, and then take the average (with hopefully a small standard deviation) response as the “reasonable” one.

Or just use what’s probably already in place, which is basically taking the average of the responses of the jurors.

The one problem with that is that the responses might not be normally distributed. The median respondent might claim to have more self-restraint than the average respondent, or vice versa. My preference would be to go by the median person rather than the average person, because that way you don’t have to worry about the people at either tail of the distribution skewing the results.

For median to have meaning, the responses must be orderable. For an arithmetic mean (what most people intend when they say ‘average’ without qualification) to have meaning, the responses must be numeric. I’m not sure what the question is, but I’m having trouble coming up with one that would result in numeric or even orderable answers.

I think you want the modal average, in which case normal distribution is irrelevant.