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Full-Text Articles in Law

Junk Science At Sentencing, Maneka Sinha Jan 2021

Junk Science At Sentencing, Maneka Sinha

Faculty Scholarship

Junk science used in criminal trials has contributed to hundreds of wrongful convictions. But the problem is much worse than that. Junk science does not only harm criminal defendants who go to trial, but also the overwhelming majority of defendants—over ninety-five percent—who plead guilty, skip trial, and proceed straight to sentencing.

Scientific, technical, and other specialized evidence (“STS evidence”) is used regularly, and with increasing frequency, at sentencing. Despite this, Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and its state equivalents—which help filter unreliable STS evidence at trials—do not apply at the critical sentencing stage. In fact, at ...


Reforming Military Justice: An Analysis Of The Military Justice Act Of 2016, David A. Schlueter Jan 2017

Reforming Military Justice: An Analysis Of The Military Justice Act Of 2016, David A. Schlueter

Faculty Articles

The 2016 amendments to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (“UCMJ”) amounted to a sea change in American military justice. The Military Justice Act of 2016—a major reform of the Uniform Code of Military Justice—is set out in Division E of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, and was signed into law by the President on December 23, 2016. Most of the amendments to the UCMJ addressed in this article will not become effective for some time—perhaps not until January 1, 2019 and in the interim, the current provisions of the UCMJ will continue ...


The Child Quasi-Witness, Richard D. Friedman, Stephen J. Ceci Jan 2015

The Child Quasi-Witness, Richard D. Friedman, Stephen J. Ceci

Articles

This Essay provides a solution to the conundrum of statements made by very young children and offered against an accused in a criminal prosecution. Currently prevailing doctrine allows one of three basic outcomes. First, in some cases the child testifies at trial. But this is not always feasible, and when it is, cross-examination is a poor method for determining the truth. Second, evidence of the child's statement may be excluded, which denies the adjudicative process of potentially valuable information. Third, the evidence may be admitted without the child testifying at trial, which leaves the accused with no practical ability ...


Jack Weinstein And The Missing Pieces Of The Hearsay Puzzle, Richard D. Friedman Dec 2014

Jack Weinstein And The Missing Pieces Of The Hearsay Puzzle, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

For the first three quarters of the twentieth century, the Wigmore treatise was the dominant force in organizing, setting out, and explaining the American law of evidence. Since then, the first two of those roles have been taken over in large part by the Federal Rules of Evidence (Rules). And the third has been performed most notably by the Weinstein treatise. Judge Jack Weinstein was present at the creation of the Rules and before. Though he first made his name in Civil Procedure, while still a young man he joined two of the stalwarts of evidence law, Edmund Morgan and ...


The Mold That Shapes Hearsay Law, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2014

The Mold That Shapes Hearsay Law, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

In response to an article previously published in the Florida Law Review by Professor Ben Trachtenberg, I argue that the historical thesis of Crawford v. Washington is basically correct: The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment reflects a principle about how witnesses should give testimony, and it does not create any broader constraint on the use of hearsay. I argue that this is an appropriate limit on the Clause, and that in fact for the most part there is no good reason to exclude nontestimonial hearsay if live testimony by the declarant to the same proposition would be admissible. I ...


The Rise, Decline And Fall(?) Of Miranda, Yale Kamisar Jan 2012

The Rise, Decline And Fall(?) Of Miranda, Yale Kamisar

Articles

There has been a good deal of talk lately to the effect that Miranda1 is dead or dying-or might as well be dead.2 Even liberals have indicated that the death of Miranda might not be a bad thing. This brings to mind a saying by G.K. Chesterton: "Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up."4


Our Broken Misdemeanor Justice System: Its Problems And Some Potential Solutions, Eve Brensike Primus Jan 2012

Our Broken Misdemeanor Justice System: Its Problems And Some Potential Solutions, Eve Brensike Primus

Reviews

Although misdemeanors comprise an overwhelming majority of state criminal court cases, little judicial and scholarly attention has been focused on how misdemeanor courts actually operate. In her article, Misdemeanors, Alexandra Natapoff rights this wrong and explains how the low-visibility, highly discretionary decisions made by actors at the misdemeanor level often result in rampant discrimination, incredible inefficiency, and vast miscarriages of justice. Misdemeanors makes a significant contribution to the literature by refocusing attention on the importance of misdemeanor offenses and beginning an important dialogue about what steps should be taken going forward to fix our broken misdemeanor justice system.


Shaken Baby Syndrome, Abusive Head Trauma, And Actual Innocence: Getting It Right, Keith A. Findley, Patrick D. Barnes, David A. Moran, Waney Squier Jan 2012

Shaken Baby Syndrome, Abusive Head Trauma, And Actual Innocence: Getting It Right, Keith A. Findley, Patrick D. Barnes, David A. Moran, Waney Squier

Articles

In the past decade, the existence of shaken baby syndrome (SBS) has been called into serious question by biomechanical studies, the medical and legal literature, and the media. As a result of these questions, SBS has been renamed abusive head trauma (AHT). This is, however, primarily a terminological shift: like SBS, AHT refers to the two-part hypothesis that one can reliably diagnose shaking or abuse from three internal findings (subdural hemorrhage, retinal hemorrhage, and encephalopathy) and that one can identify the perpetrator based on the onset of symptoms. Over the past decade, we have learned that this hypothesis fits poorly ...


Who Said The Crawford Revolution Would Be Easy?, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2012

Who Said The Crawford Revolution Would Be Easy?, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

One of the central protections of our system of criminal justice is the right of the accused in all criminal prosecutions "to be confronted with the witnesses against him." It provides assurance that prosecution witnesses will give their testimony in the way demanded for centuries by Anglo-American courts-in the presence of the accused, subject to cross-examination- rather than in any other way. Witnesses may not, for example, testify by speaking privately to governmental agents in a police station or in their living rooms. Since shortly after it was adopted, however, the confrontation right became obscured by the ascendance of a ...


Confrontation And Forensic Laboratory Reports, Round Four, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2012

Confrontation And Forensic Laboratory Reports, Round Four, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

Crawford v. Washington radically transformed the doctrine governing the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution. Before Crawford, a prosecutor could introduce against an accused evidence of a hearsay statement, even one made in contemplation that it would be used in prosecution, so long as the statement fit within a "firmly rooted" hearsay exception or the court otherwise determined that the statement was sufficiently reliable to warrant admissibility. Crawford recognized that the Clause is a procedural guarantee, governing the manner in which prosecution witnesses give their testimony. Therefore, a prosecutor may not introduce a statement that is testimonial ...


International Decision, International Criminal Court, Judgment On The Appeal Of The Republic Of Kenya Against Pre-Trial Chamber Decision Denying Inadmissibility Of The Kenya Situation, Charles Chernor Jalloh Jan 2012

International Decision, International Criminal Court, Judgment On The Appeal Of The Republic Of Kenya Against Pre-Trial Chamber Decision Denying Inadmissibility Of The Kenya Situation, Charles Chernor Jalloh

Faculty Publications

A fundamental pillar of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is Article 17, which enshrines the complementarity principle – the idea that ICC jurisdiction will only be triggered when states fail to act to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes within their national courts or in circumstances where they prove unwilling and or unable to do so. The problem is that, as shown in this case report in the American Journal of International Law on the first ICC Appeals Chamber ruling regarding a state party’s objection to the court’s assertion of jurisdiction over its ...


Brain Scans As Evidence: Truths, Proofs, Lies, And Lessons, Owen D. Jones, Francis X. Shen Jan 2011

Brain Scans As Evidence: Truths, Proofs, Lies, And Lessons, Owen D. Jones, Francis X. Shen

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This contribution to the Brain Sciences in the Courtroom Symposium identifies and discusses issues important to admissibility determinations when courts confront brain-scan evidence. Through the vehicle of the landmark 2010 federal criminal trial U.S. v. Semrau (which considered, for the first time, the admissibility of brain scans for lie detection purposes) this article highlights critical evidentiary issues involving: 1) experimental design; 2) ecological and external validity; 3) subject compliance with researcher instructions; 4) false positives; and 5) drawing inferences about individuals from group data. The article’s lessons are broadly applicable to the new wave of neurolaw cases now ...


Special Court For Sierra Leone: Achieving Justice?, Charles Chernor Jalloh Jan 2011

Special Court For Sierra Leone: Achieving Justice?, Charles Chernor Jalloh

Faculty Publications

The Sierra Leone war, which lasted between 1991 and 2002, gained notoriety around the world for “blood" or "conflict" diamonds and some of the worst atrocities ever perpetrated against civilians in a modern conflict. On January 16, 2002, the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone signed an historic agreement to establish the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). In setting up a new type of ad hoc criminal tribunal, the parties sought to achieve two key objectives. First, to dispense credible justice by enabling the prosecution of those bearing greatest responsibility for the wartime atrocities based on international ...


"Sweet Childish Days": Using Developmental Psychology Research In Evaluating The Admissibility Of Out-Of-Court Statements By Young Children, Lynn Mclain Jan 2011

"Sweet Childish Days": Using Developmental Psychology Research In Evaluating The Admissibility Of Out-Of-Court Statements By Young Children, Lynn Mclain

All Faculty Scholarship

A three-year-old child, while being bathed by her babysitter, innocently mentions that her “pee-pee” hurts. When the babysitter asks the child how she hurt it, she says, “Uncle Ernie (her mother’s boyfriend) told me not to tell.” A subsequent medical examination reveals that the child has gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease.

By the time of trial, the child is four and-a-half-years old. When questioned by the trial judge, she cannot explain to the judge’s satisfaction, “the difference between the truth and a lie.” Moreover, she has no long term memory of the incident. The judge rules the child ...


Rehabilitating Mental Disorder Evidence After Clark C. Arizona: Of Burdens, Presumptions, And The Rights To Raise Reasonable Doubt, Dora W. Klein Jan 2010

Rehabilitating Mental Disorder Evidence After Clark C. Arizona: Of Burdens, Presumptions, And The Rights To Raise Reasonable Doubt, Dora W. Klein

Faculty Articles

The right not to be found guilty of a crime absent proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a powerful right. It can be undermined, however, by rules that at first seem to have little to do with reasonable doubt or with burdens of proof.

In the recent case of Clark v. Arizona, the Supreme Court considered whether states may enact rules that categorically prohibit criminal defendants from offering mental disorder evidence for the purpose of raising reasonable doubt regarding the mens rea element of a charged offense. In Arizona law, mental disorder evidence is inadmissible for the purpose of disproving ...


The Nrc Report And Its Implications For Criminal Litigation, Paul C. Giannelli Jan 2009

The Nrc Report And Its Implications For Criminal Litigation, Paul C. Giannelli

Faculty Publications

The National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, issued a landmark report on forensic science in February 2009. In the long run, the report’s recommendations, if adopted, would benefit law enforcement and prosecutors. The recommendations would allow forensic science to develop a strong scientific basis and limit evidentiary challenges regarding the reliability of forensic evidence. In keeping with its congressional charge, however, the NRC Committee did not directly address admissibility issues. Nevertheless, given its content, the report will inevitably be cited in criminal cases. Indeed, within months, the United States Supreme Court cited the report ...


Shaping The Contours Of Domestic Justice: The International Criminal Court And An Admissibility Challenge In The Uganda Situation, William W. Burke-White, Scott Kaplan Apr 2008

Shaping The Contours Of Domestic Justice: The International Criminal Court And An Admissibility Challenge In The Uganda Situation, William W. Burke-White, Scott Kaplan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In December 2003, the Government of Uganda referred the situation in conflict-torn northern Uganda to the nascent International Criminal Court. It was the first referral by a State Party under Article 14 of the Rome Statute of ICC and led to the indictment of five leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Four years later, Uganda found itself in the midst of promising peace negotiations with the LRA. A major obstacle to a final agreement was the refusal of the indicted leaders to face ICC justice. Seeking to peacefully resolve the conflict, the Government signed a preliminary agreement in ...


Does An Accused Forfeit The Confrontation Right By Murdering A Witness, Absent A Purpose To Render Her Unavailable?, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2008

Does An Accused Forfeit The Confrontation Right By Murdering A Witness, Absent A Purpose To Render Her Unavailable?, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

If an accused murdered a witness, should he be deemed to have forfeited the right under the Sixth Amendment "to be confronted with" the witness, absent proof that the accused committed the murder for the purpose of rendering her unavailable as a witness?


Is A Forensic Laboratory Report Identifying A Substance As A Narcotic 'Testimonial'?, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2008

Is A Forensic Laboratory Report Identifying A Substance As A Narcotic 'Testimonial'?, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

Is a state forensic analyst's laboratory report, prepared for use in a criminal proceeding and identifying a substance as cocaine, "testimonial" evidence and so subject to the demands of the Confrontation Clause as set forth in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004)?


Every Juror Wants A Story: Narrative Relevance, Third Party Guilt And The Right To Present A Defense, John H. Blume, Sheri L. Johnson, Emily C. Paavola Jul 2007

Every Juror Wants A Story: Narrative Relevance, Third Party Guilt And The Right To Present A Defense, John H. Blume, Sheri L. Johnson, Emily C. Paavola

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

On occasion, criminal defendants hope to convince a jury that the state has not met its burden of proving them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by offering evidence that someone else (a third party) committed the crime. Currently, state and federal courts assess the admissibility of evidence of third-party guilt using a variety of standards. In general, however, there are two basic approaches. Many state courts require a defendant to proffer evidence of some sort of direct link or connection between a specific third-party and the crime. A second group of state courts, as well as federal courts, admit evidence ...


Holmes V. South Carolina Upholds Trial By Jury, Samuel R. Gross Jan 2007

Holmes V. South Carolina Upholds Trial By Jury, Samuel R. Gross

Articles

Bobby Lee Holmes was convicted of a brutal rape-murder and sentenced to death. The only evidence that connected him to the crime was forensic: a palm print, and blood and fiber evidence. (Biological samples taken from the victim for two rape kits were compromised and yielded no identifiable evidence.) Holmes claimed that the state's forensic evidence was planted and mishandled, and that the rape and murder were committed by another man, Jimmy McCaw White. At a pretrial hearing three witnesses testified that they saw White near the victim's house at about the time of the crime, and four ...


On The Fortieth Anniversary Of The Miranda Case: Why We Needed It, How We Got It--And What Happened To It, Yale Kamisar Jan 2007

On The Fortieth Anniversary Of The Miranda Case: Why We Needed It, How We Got It--And What Happened To It, Yale Kamisar

Articles

Last year (the year I gave the talk on which this article is based) marked the fortieth anniversary of Miranda v. Arizona,' one of the most praised, most maligned-and probably one of the most misunderstood-Supreme Court cases in American history. It is difficult, if not impossible, to evaluate Miranda without looking back at the test for the admissibility of confessions that preceded it.


The Principled Exception And The Forgotten Criterion, Steve Coughlan Jan 2007

The Principled Exception And The Forgotten Criterion, Steve Coughlan

Articles, Book Chapters, & Blogs

The principled exception to the hearsay rule is routinely described as being settled by the "twin criteria" of necessity and reliability. In fact a third criterion is also — or at least ought to be — at play: that admitting the evidence through hearsay would not undermine any other rule of evidence. The Court has made reference to this third criterion in the past, but it has largely been ignored in both Supreme Court and lower court decisions. The recent judgement in Couture depends in a limited way on that question, and so it marks an opportunity to articulate the issue more ...


Confidentiality In Arbitration: Beyond The Myth, Richard C. Reuben Jan 2006

Confidentiality In Arbitration: Beyond The Myth, Richard C. Reuben

Faculty Publications

Many people assume that arbitration is private and confidential. But is that assumption accurate? This article is the first to explore that question in the important context of whether arbitration communications can be discovered and admitted into evidence in other legal proceedings - a question that is just beginning to show up in the cases. It first surveys the federal and state statutory and case law, finding that arbitration communications in fact are generally discoverable and admissible. It then considers the normative desirability of discovering and admitting arbitration communications evidence, concluding that the free discovery and admissibility of arbitration communications would ...


Miranda's Reprieve: How Rehnquist Spared The Landmark Confession Case, But Weakened Its Impact, Yale Kamisar Jan 2006

Miranda's Reprieve: How Rehnquist Spared The Landmark Confession Case, But Weakened Its Impact, Yale Kamisar

Articles

June marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most praised, most maligned-and probably one of the most misunderstood-U.S. Supreme Court cases in American history, Miranda v. Arizona. The opinion by Chief Justice Earl Warren conditions police questioning of people in custody on the giving of warnings about the right to remain silent, the right to counsel and the waiver of those rights. 384 U.S. 436. This ruling represents a compromise of sorts between the former elusive, ambiguous and subjective voluntariness/totality-of-the-circumstances test and extreme proposals that would have eliminated police interrogation altogether. But William H. Rehnquist didn ...


Post-Crawford: Time To Liberalize The Substantive Admissibility Of A Testifying Witness's Prior Consistent Statements, Lynn Mclain Oct 2005

Post-Crawford: Time To Liberalize The Substantive Admissibility Of A Testifying Witness's Prior Consistent Statements, Lynn Mclain

All Faculty Scholarship

The United States Supreme Court's 1995 decision in Tome v. United States has read Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(1)(B) to prevent the prosecution's offering a child abuse victim's prior consistent statements as substantive evidence. As a result of that decision, the statements will also be inadmissible even for the limited purpose of helping to evaluate the credibility of a child, if there is a serious risk that the out-of-court statements would be used on the issue of guilt or innocence.

Moreover, after the Court's March 2004 decision in Crawford v. Washington, which redesigned ...


Does Frye Or Daubert Matter? A Study Of Scientific Admissibility Standards, Edward K. Cheng, Albert Yoon Jan 2005

Does Frye Or Daubert Matter? A Study Of Scientific Admissibility Standards, Edward K. Cheng, Albert Yoon

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Nearly every treatment of scientific evidence begins with a faithful comparison between the Frye and Daubert standards. Since 1993, jurists and legal scholars have spiritedly debated which standard is preferable and whether particular states should adopt one standard or the other. These efforts beg the question: Does a state's choice of scientific admissibility standard matter? A growing number of scholars suspect that the answer is no. Under this theory, the import of the Supreme Court's Daubert decision was not in its doctrinal standard, but rather in the general consciousness it raised about the problems of unreliable scientific evidence ...


Confrontation After Crawford, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2005

Confrontation After Crawford, Richard D. Friedman

Articles

The following edit excerpt, drawn from "The Confrontation Clause Re-Rooted and Transformed," 2003-04 Cato Supreme Court Review 439 (2004), by Law School Professor Richard D. Friedman, discusses the impact, effects, and questions generated by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Crawford v. Washington last year that a defendant is entitled to confront and cross-examine any testimonial statement presented against him. In Crawford, the defendant, charged with attacking another man with a knife, contested the trial court's admission of a tape-recorded statement his wife made to police without giving him the opportunity to cross-examine. The tiral court admitted ...


How Earl Warren's Twenty-Two Years In Law Enforcement Affected His Work As Chief Justice, Yale Kamisar Jan 2005

How Earl Warren's Twenty-Two Years In Law Enforcement Affected His Work As Chief Justice, Yale Kamisar

Articles

Before becoming governor of California, Earl Warren had spent his entire legal career, twenty-two years, in law enforcement. Professor Kamisar maintains that this experience significantly influenced Warren's work as a Supreme Court justice and gave him a unique perspective into police interrogation and other police practices. This article discusses some of Warren's experiences in law enforcement and searches for evidence of that experience in Warren's opinions. For example, when Warren was head of the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, he and his deputies not only relied on confessions in many homicide cases but also themselves interrogated ...


Face To Face With The Right Of Confrontation, Richard D. Friedman Jan 2004

Face To Face With The Right Of Confrontation, Richard D. Friedman

Other Publications

This article is an edited excerpt from the amicus curiae brief filed in Crawford v. Washington, heard before the United States Supreme Court on November 10, 2003. Prof. Friedman wrote the brief for the Court.