The implications of AI’s role in the justice systems

| Jun 25, 2019 | Criminal Defense

Artificial intelligence may play a larger role in the criminal justice system both at the state and federal level. For instance, it may determine if a Maryland defendant is a risk to offend again in the future. However, some believe that these systems are flawed and may use metrics that are biased against certain groups of people. In one case, prosecutors sought time in juvenile detention for a defendant after an AI program deemed him to be a high risk.

The determination was based on the fact that the teen lived in government housing and had a negative attitude toward law enforcement. According to the public defender involved in the case, the tool had only been analyzed by a graduate student. The paper written by the student had never been published, yet it had been used for a decade to determine the fates of multiple defendants.

Ultimately, the judge decided to disavow the results that the program had come back with. Other tools such as COMPAS used to determine a defendant’s risk have also come into question. An investigation into COMPAS analyzed the scores of 7,000 people taken into custody in Broward County, Florida. Of those who were forecast to commit violent crimes in the future, only 20% did. Investigators were also concerned that the company that made COMPAS wouldn’t reveal how those scores were created.

A criminal charge is not the same as a criminal conviction, but there may still be negative consequences for a defendant. These consequences may include a loss of reputation in the community and strained relationships with family members. Individuals who cannot pay bail may be required to remain in custody until their cases are heard. An attorney may work to get a case resolved in a timely and favorable manner.