What? Students Cheating?

WHAT? STUDENTS CHEATING?….Via Eugene Volokh, here’s an embarrassing story:

A survey a judge cited in his decision to move Scott Peterson’s capital murder trial out of Modesto contained made-up information, criminal justice students who conducted the survey told a newspaper.

….Not all students said they’d faked their results, which accounted for 20 percent of their grade. But six students ? all seniors ? told the paper they had made up all of their answers because they had no time and no money for the dozens of lengthy long-distance phone calls that were required.

Other students said they used answers provided by friends and relatives, or that they completed part of the survey properly, then faked the rest.

Based on my experience, I would advise never taking seriously any polling done by undergraduates as a class assignment unless it’s done under the strictest scrutiny. I don’t mean to excuse what the students did, but this was entirely predictable and it’s simply naive for any professor to say he’s “stunned” to hear about it.

As for why a judge in a capital case would accept it as credible research, I have no idea. It defies belief.