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Evidence Commons

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College of William & Mary Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Evidence

Justice Begins Before Trial: How To Nudge Inaccurate Pretrial Rulings Using Behavioral Law And Economic Theory And Uniform Commercial Laws, Michael Gentithes May 2019

Justice Begins Before Trial: How To Nudge Inaccurate Pretrial Rulings Using Behavioral Law And Economic Theory And Uniform Commercial Laws, Michael Gentithes

William & Mary Law Review

Injustice in criminal cases often takes root before trial begins. Overworked criminal judges must resolve difficult pretrial evidentiary issues that determine the charges the State will take to trial and the range of sentences the defendant will face. Wrong decisions on these issues often lead to wrongful convictions. As behavioral law and economic theory suggests, judges who are cognitively busy and receive little feedback on these topics from appellate courts rely upon intuition, rather than deliberative reasoning, to resolve these questions. This leads to inconsistent rulings, which prosecutors exploit to expand the scope of evidentiary exceptions that almost always disfavor ...


No Means No: An Argument For The Expansion Of Rape Shield Laws To Cases Of Nonconsensual Pornography, Austin Vining Apr 2019

No Means No: An Argument For The Expansion Of Rape Shield Laws To Cases Of Nonconsensual Pornography, Austin Vining

William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice

This Article considers the impact of a hypothetical nonconsensual pornography victim’s previous sexual history on potential legal remedies, both criminal and civil. Due to jury bias and the difficulty in proving standard elements of many claims, the research shows that such a victim would likely be unsuccessful in court. This Article then turns to two legal concepts from related fields—the incremental harm doctrine and rape shield laws—and considers what effect their application would have on the hypothetical victim’s case. Ultimately, the author presents an argument for the logical expansion of rape shield laws to cases of ...


The Challenge Of Convicting Ethical Prosecutors That Their Profession Has A Brady Problem, Adam M. Gershowitz Apr 2019

The Challenge Of Convicting Ethical Prosecutors That Their Profession Has A Brady Problem, Adam M. Gershowitz

Faculty Publications

In recent decades, both the media and legal scholars have documented the widespread problem of prosecutors failing to disclose favorable evidence to the defense – so called Brady violations. Despite all of this documentation however, many ethical prosecutors reject the notion that the criminal justice system has a Brady problem. These prosecutors – ethical lawyers who themselves have not been accused of misconduct – believe that the scope of the Brady problem is exaggerated. Why do ethical prosecutors downplay the evidence that some of their colleagues have committed serious errors?

This essay, in honor of Professor Bennett Gershman, points to what psychologists have ...


Policing The Admissibility Of Body Camera Evidence, Jeffrey Bellin, Shevarma Pemberton Mar 2019

Policing The Admissibility Of Body Camera Evidence, Jeffrey Bellin, Shevarma Pemberton

Faculty Publications

Body cameras are sweeping the nation and becoming, along with the badge and gun, standard issue for police officers. These cameras are intended to ensure accountability for abusive police officers. But, if history is any guide, the videos they produce will more commonly be used to prosecute civilians than to document abuse. Further, knowing that the footage will be available as evidence, police officers have an incentive to narrate body camera videos with descriptive oral statements that support a later prosecution. Captured on an official record that exclusively documents the police officer’s perspective, these statements—for example, “he just ...


Goldilocks And The Rule 803 Hearsay Exceptions, Liesa L. Richter Feb 2018

Goldilocks And The Rule 803 Hearsay Exceptions, Liesa L. Richter

William & Mary Law Review

Criticism of the hearsay exceptions embodied in the Federal Rules of Evidence has reached a fever pitch in recent years. With scholars calling for the abrogation of the entire hearsay regime or of individual exceptions within it and the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules exploring hearsay amendments, the time for genuine hearsay soul-searching may be at hand. This Article suggests that aggressive proposals to scuttle existing doctrine entirely in favor of alternative approaches to hearsay are overly broad, rejecting the benefits of significant portions of existing doctrine that are functioning well and threatening costly consequences that could make matters worse ...


Deconstructing The Epistemic Challenges To Mass Atrocity Prosecutions, Nancy Amoury Combs Jan 2018

Deconstructing The Epistemic Challenges To Mass Atrocity Prosecutions, Nancy Amoury Combs

Faculty Publications

Mass atrocity prosecutions are credited with advancing a host of praiseworthy objectives. They are believed to impose much-needed retribution, deter future atrocities, and affirm the rule of law in previously lawless societies. However, mass atrocity prosecutions will accomplish none of these laudable ends unless they are able to find accurate facts. Convicting the appropriate individuals of the appropriate crimes is a necessary and foundational condition for the success of mass atrocity prosecutions. But it is a condition that is frequently difficult to meet, as mass atrocity prosecutions are often bedeviled by pervasive and invidious obstacles to accurate fact-finding. This Article ...


Touch Dna And Chemical Analysis Of Skin Trace Evidence: Protecting Privacy While Advancing Investigations, Mary Graw Leary Dec 2017

Touch Dna And Chemical Analysis Of Skin Trace Evidence: Protecting Privacy While Advancing Investigations, Mary Graw Leary

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

This Article addresses touch DNA, chemical analysis of skin traces, and the implications for crime scene investigation, arguing that changes in how trace evidence is analyzed require alterations in the law’s approach to its use. Part I discusses the history of traditional DNA analysis. Part II examines the emergence of touch DNA and related technologies and how they differ from traditional DNA analysis. Part III outlines the specific risks created by the collection and storing of results under the current outdated jurisprudence. Part IV focuses on specific risks to suspects and victims of crime. Part V proposes a legal ...


Appendix: Conjunction-Problem V. Non-Conjunction-Problem Jurisdictions, David S. Schwartz, Elliott Sober Nov 2017

Appendix: Conjunction-Problem V. Non-Conjunction-Problem Jurisdictions, David S. Schwartz, Elliott Sober

William & Mary Law Review Online

This appendix presents the relevant data from our survey of jury instructions in support of the article in the print edition of the William & Mary Law Review. The Conjunction Problem and the Logic of Jury Findings (59 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 619, 673-87 (2017))


The Conjunction Problem And The Logic Of Jury Findings, David S. Schwartz, Elliott Sober Nov 2017

The Conjunction Problem And The Logic Of Jury Findings, David S. Schwartz, Elliott Sober

William & Mary Law Review

For several decades, evidence theorists have puzzled over the following paradox, known as the “conjunction paradox” or “conjunction problem.” Probability theory appears to tell us that the probability of a conjunctive claim is the product resulting from multiplying the probabilities of its separate conjuncts. In a three element negligence case (breach of duty, causation, damages), a plaintiff who proves each element to a 0.6 probability will have proven her overall claim to a very low probability of 0.216. Either the plaintiff wins the verdict based on this low probability (if the jury focuses on elements), or the plaintiff ...


Grave Crimes And Weak Evidence: Fact-Finding Evolution In International Criminal Law, Nancy Amoury Combs Jan 2017

Grave Crimes And Weak Evidence: Fact-Finding Evolution In International Criminal Law, Nancy Amoury Combs

Faculty Publications

International criminal courts carry out some of the most important work that a legal system can conduct: prosecuting those who have visited death and destruction on millions. Despite the significance of their work--or perhaps because of it--international courts face tremendous challenges. Chief among them is accurate fact-finding. With alarming regularity, international criminal trials feature inconsistent, vague, and sometimes false testimony that renders judges unable to assess with any measure of certainty who did what to whom in the context of a mass atrocity. This Article provides the first-ever empirical study quantifying fact-finding in an international criminal court. The study shines ...


Defending Daubert: It's Time To Amend Federal Rule Of Evidence 702, David E. Bernstein, Eric G. Lasker Oct 2015

Defending Daubert: It's Time To Amend Federal Rule Of Evidence 702, David E. Bernstein, Eric G. Lasker

William & Mary Law Review

The 2000 amendments to Rule 702 sought to resolve the debate that had emerged in the courts in the 1990s over the proper meaning of Daubert by codifying the rigorous and structured approach to expert admissibility announced in the Daubert trilogy. Fifteen years later, however, the amendments have only partially accomplished this objective. Many courts continue to resist the judiciary’s proper gatekeeping role, either by ignoring Rule 702’s mandate altogether or by aggressively reinterpreting the Rule’s provisions.

Informed by this additional history of recalcitrance, the time has come for the Judicial Conference to return to the drafting ...


Systemic Lying, Julia Simon-Kerr May 2015

Systemic Lying, Julia Simon-Kerr

William & Mary Law Review

This Article offers the foundational account of systemic lying from a definitional and theoretical perspective. Systemic lying involves the cooperation of multiple actors in the legal system who lie or violate their oaths across cases for a consistent reason that is linked to their conception of justice. It becomes a functioning mechanism within the legal system and changes the operation of the law as written. By identifying systemic lying, this Article challenges the assumption that all lying in the legal system is the same. It argues that systemic lying poses a particular threat to the legal system. This means that ...


Does Removing The Force Element Matter?: An Empirical Comparison Of Rape Statistics In Massachusetts And Colorado, Peter Landsman May 2015

Does Removing The Force Element Matter?: An Empirical Comparison Of Rape Statistics In Massachusetts And Colorado, Peter Landsman

William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice

No abstract provided.


The Daryl Atkins Story, Mark E. Olive Dec 2014

The Daryl Atkins Story, Mark E. Olive

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

No abstract provided.


Hall V. Florida: The Supreme Court’S Guidance In Implementing Atkins, James W. Ellis Dec 2014

Hall V. Florida: The Supreme Court’S Guidance In Implementing Atkins, James W. Ellis

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

No abstract provided.


A Tale Of Two (And Possibly Three) Atkins: Intellectual Disability And Capital Punishment Twelve Years After The Supreme Court’S Creation Of A Categorical Bar, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson, Paul Marcus, Emily Paavola Dec 2014

A Tale Of Two (And Possibly Three) Atkins: Intellectual Disability And Capital Punishment Twelve Years After The Supreme Court’S Creation Of A Categorical Bar, John H. Blume, Sheri Lynn Johnson, Paul Marcus, Emily Paavola

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

No abstract provided.


Scientizing Culpability: The Implications Of Hall V. Florida And The Possibility Of A “Scientific Stare Decisis”, Christopher Slobogin Dec 2014

Scientizing Culpability: The Implications Of Hall V. Florida And The Possibility Of A “Scientific Stare Decisis”, Christopher Slobogin

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

The Supreme Court’s decision in Hall v. Florida held that “clinical definitions” control the meaning of intellectual disability in the death penalty context. In other words, Hall “scientized” the definition of a legal concept. This Article discusses the implications of this unprecedented move. It also introduces the idea of scientific stare decisis—a requirement that groups that are scientifically alike be treated similarly for culpability purposes—as a means of implementing the scientization process.


Does Atkins Make A Difference In Non-Capital Cases? Should It?, Paul Marcus Dec 2014

Does Atkins Make A Difference In Non-Capital Cases? Should It?, Paul Marcus

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

No abstract provided.


Challenges Of Conveying Intellectual Disabilities To Judge And Jury, Caroline Everington Dec 2014

Challenges Of Conveying Intellectual Disabilities To Judge And Jury, Caroline Everington

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

No abstract provided.


The True Legacy Of Atkins And Roper: The Unreliability Principle, Mentally Ill Defendants, And The Death Penalty’S Unraveling, Scott E. Sundby Dec 2014

The True Legacy Of Atkins And Roper: The Unreliability Principle, Mentally Ill Defendants, And The Death Penalty’S Unraveling, Scott E. Sundby

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal

In striking down the death penalty for intellectually disabled and juvenile defendants, Atkins v. Virginia and Roper v. Simmons have been understandably heralded as important holdings under the Court’s Eighth Amendment jurisprudence that has found the death penalty “disproportional” for certain types of defendants and crimes. This Article argues, however, that the cases have a far more revolutionary reach than their conventional understanding. In both cases the Court went one step beyond its usual two-step analysis of assessing whether imposing the death penalty violated “evolving standards of decency.” This extra step looked at why even though intellectual disability and ...


The Case For Ehearsay, Jeffrey Bellin Dec 2014

The Case For Ehearsay, Jeffrey Bellin

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Symposium On The Challenges Of Electronic Evidence, Daniel J. Capra, Sidney A. Fitzwater, Peter Pitegoff, Jeffrey S. Sutton, Paul Grimm, John Haried, Richard W. Vorder Bruegge, Jeffrey Bellin, Paul Scechtman, Deirdre M. Smith, Shira A. Scheindlin, David Shonka, Daniel Gelb, Andrew Goldsmith, George Paul, Paul Lippe Dec 2014

Symposium On The Challenges Of Electronic Evidence, Daniel J. Capra, Sidney A. Fitzwater, Peter Pitegoff, Jeffrey S. Sutton, Paul Grimm, John Haried, Richard W. Vorder Bruegge, Jeffrey Bellin, Paul Scechtman, Deirdre M. Smith, Shira A. Scheindlin, David Shonka, Daniel Gelb, Andrew Goldsmith, George Paul, Paul Lippe

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Capping E-Discovery Costs: A Hybrid Solution To E-Discovery Abuse, Karel Mazanec Nov 2014

Capping E-Discovery Costs: A Hybrid Solution To E-Discovery Abuse, Karel Mazanec

William & Mary Law Review

No abstract provided.


Section 6: Criminal, Institute Of Bill Of Rights Law At The William & Mary Law School Sep 2014

Section 6: Criminal, Institute Of Bill Of Rights Law At The William & Mary Law School

Supreme Court Preview

No abstract provided.


Trial By Google: Judicial Notice In The Information Age, Jeffrey Bellin, Andrew Guthrie Ferguson Jul 2014

Trial By Google: Judicial Notice In The Information Age, Jeffrey Bellin, Andrew Guthrie Ferguson

Faculty Publications

This Article presents a theory of judicial notice for the information age. It argues that the ease of accessing factual data on the Internet allows judges and litigants to expand the use of judicial notice in ways that raise significant concerns about admissibility, reliability, and fair process. State and federal courts are already applying the surprisingly pliant judicial notice rules to bring websites ranging from Google Maps to Wikipedia into the courtroom, and these decisions will only increase in frequency in coming years. This rapidly emerging judicial phenomenon is notable for its ad hoc and conclusory nature—attributes that have ...


Hear Me Now: The Admission Of Expert Testimony On Battered Women's Syndrome—An Evidentiary Approach, Matthew Fine Dec 2013

Hear Me Now: The Admission Of Expert Testimony On Battered Women's Syndrome—An Evidentiary Approach, Matthew Fine

William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice

No abstract provided.


Promising Protection: 911 Call Records As Foundation For Family Violence Intervention, James G. Dwyer Dec 2013

Promising Protection: 911 Call Records As Foundation For Family Violence Intervention, James G. Dwyer

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Ehearsay, Jeffrey Bellin Nov 2013

Ehearsay, Jeffrey Bellin

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Text Messages And The Hearsay Rule In The Aaron Hernandez Case, Jeffrey Bellin Jun 2013

Text Messages And The Hearsay Rule In The Aaron Hernandez Case, Jeffrey Bellin

Popular Media

No abstract provided.


The Restyled Federal Rules Of Evidence, Davison M. Douglas, Sidney A. Fitzwater, Daniel J. Capra, Robert A. Hinkle, Joseph Kimble, Joan N. Ericksen, Marilyn L. Huff, Reena A. Raggi, Geraldine Soat Brown, Edward H. Cooper, Kenneth S. Broun, Harris L. Hartz, Katharine Traylor Schaffzin, Roger C. Park, Deborah J. Merritt, Andrew D. Hurwitz, W. Jeremy Counseller, Paula Hannaford-Agor Apr 2012

The Restyled Federal Rules Of Evidence, Davison M. Douglas, Sidney A. Fitzwater, Daniel J. Capra, Robert A. Hinkle, Joseph Kimble, Joan N. Ericksen, Marilyn L. Huff, Reena A. Raggi, Geraldine Soat Brown, Edward H. Cooper, Kenneth S. Broun, Harris L. Hartz, Katharine Traylor Schaffzin, Roger C. Park, Deborah J. Merritt, Andrew D. Hurwitz, W. Jeremy Counseller, Paula Hannaford-Agor

William & Mary Law Review

A lightly edited transcript of the Symposium held at the William & Mary School of Law on October 28, 2011.