Court priors

But a policeman is not the court that finally returns the verdict. Judges tend, by their experience, to trust policemen, but they cannot have exactly the same information the direct investigators have, that is not limited to what appears in the official reports.

Columbo might have formed his opinion on instinctive reactions of Galesco, on some photographer's hints of smile or on nervous replies to fastidious questions, and so on, all little things the lieutenant knows they cannot enter in the formal suit.31We can form ourself an idea about the prior probability that the court can assign to the hypothesis that the photographer is guilty from the reaction of Columbo's colleagues and superiors, who try to convince him the case is settled: quite low.

Giulio D'Agostini 2010-09-30