It ain’t over till it’s over

July 15, 2013

The conclusion of the Zimmerman – Martin criminal trial illustrates an important lesson for CI analysts.

Regardless of what level of interest you had in the matter, you have to admit that what came out of the trial had slight resemblance to what you heard or read in the early stages of the case. I’m not going to dwell on the details, because they are not important here.

This case can be used as example of dealing with limited information and limited data. What finally was presented at trial by both the prosecution and the defense seemed to be a mere skeleton of what the media reports and commentators seem to believe were the “facts” of the case over the past year and a half. But the jury had to make a decision on the set of facts that were given to it, and made it, unanimously.

What is important is that when analyzing any kind of a problem, you must withhold judgment until you have all the facts. Coming to a conclusion quickly is almost never the same as coming to a conclusion correctly. You also have to be careful to avoid being influenced by “advocates” of any point of view as to what the facts, as they emerge, mean. Of course, listen, but withhold your decision. In this case, the facts introduced at trial may or may not have come as a surprise to anyone. But the prosecution and the defense interpreted them very differently to the very end.

When analyzing your CI problem, don’t be either the prosecution or the defense. Be the jury and wait until all of the facts are in, and the rumors and other “non-facts” are sifted out.

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