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Joint Hearing Of The House Committee On the Judiciary's Subcommittees- Federal Justice System's Selective Prosecution

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Location: Washington, DC


Joint Hearing Of The House Committee On the Judiciary's Subcommittees- Federal Justice System's Selective Prosecution

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REP. MELVIN WATT (D-NC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Professor Shields, I'm struck by one particular section of your testimony that I want to read into the record and get you to elaborate on.

Your hypothesis was that party affiliations of the officials and candidates investigated would match the normative data -- I'm reading from page four of your testimony.

MR. SHIELDS: Yes.

REP. WATT: However, the sample includes 631 -- 76.95 percent -- investigations of Democrats, and 142 -- 17.32 percent -- investigations of Republicans, and 47 -- 5.73 percent -- investigations of independents or other office holders or candidates. And then you say this, which I want to make sure that nobody misses, quote: "The disparity in the proportions of the actual sample between investigation and/or indictments of Democrats in relation to Republicans is again statistically significant beyond the 0.0001 level and could have occurred by chance less than 1 in 1,000 samples."

MR. SHIELDS: Yes, that's 10,000.

REP. WATT: One in 10,000 samples.

Now, does that mean, Professor, that all else -- everything else being equal, the chances of no political partisanship being taken into consideration in this grouping of prosecutions, charges, investigations is less than 1 in 10,000?

MR. SHIELDS: It's pretty significant data, yes. That's the point. Less than 1 in 10,000 chances of this data being in error when you do that kind of square statistics.

REP. WATT: Okay. And so if you just did a regular statistical analysis, the chances that something other than sheer chance was taken into account is less than 1 in 10,000.

MR. SHIELDS: That's correct. Yes.

REP. WATT: Okay. That's what I wanted to be clear on.

With that, I will yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from Alabama.

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