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Full-Text Articles in Evidence

Identifying Liars Through Automatic Decoding Of Children's Facial Expressions, Kaila Bruer, Sarah Zanette, Xiaopan Ding, Thomas D. Lyon, Kang Lee Sep 2019

Identifying Liars Through Automatic Decoding Of Children's Facial Expressions, Kaila Bruer, Sarah Zanette, Xiaopan Ding, Thomas D. Lyon, Kang Lee

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This study explored whether children’s (N=158; 4-9 years-old) nonverbal facial expressions can be used to identify when children are being deceptive. Using a computer vision program to automatically decode children’s facial expressions according to the Facial Action Coding System, this study employed machine learning to determine whether facial expressions can be used to discriminate between children who concealed breaking a toy(liars) and those who did not break a toy(nonliars). Results found that, regardless of age or history of maltreatment, children’s facial expressions could accurately (73%) distinguished between liars and nonliars. Two emotions, surprise and ...


Younger And Older Adults' Lie-Detection And Credibility Judgments Of Children's Coached Reports, Alison M. O'Connor, Thomas D. Lyon, Angela Evans Sep 2019

Younger And Older Adults' Lie-Detection And Credibility Judgments Of Children's Coached Reports, Alison M. O'Connor, Thomas D. Lyon, Angela Evans

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Previous research has examined young and middle-aged adults’ perceptions of child witnesses; however, no research to date has examined how potential older adult jurors may perceive a child witness. The present investigation examined younger (18–30 years, N = 100) and older adults’ (66–89 years, N = 100) liedetection and credibility judgments when viewing children’s truthful and dishonest reports. Participants viewed eight child interview videos where children (9–11 years of age) either provided a truthful report or a coached fabricated report to conceal a transgression. Participants provided lie-detection judgments following all eight videos and credibility assessments following the first ...


Menendez-Cordero V. State, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 29 (Jul 25, 2019), Nick Hagenkord Sep 2019

Menendez-Cordero V. State, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 29 (Jul 25, 2019), Nick Hagenkord

Nevada Supreme Court Summaries

The Court concluded that (1) the empanelment of an anonymous jury does not, without actual prejudice, infringe on a defendant’s constitutional rights and the district court satisfied the abuse-of-discretion standard adopted; (2) the district court need not instruct a jury that is responsible for imposing a sentence in a first-degree murder case under NRS 175.552 about the effects of a deadly weapon enhancement; and (3) there was no abuse of discretion in the district court’s decision to admit Menendez-Cordero’s threats as consciousness-of-guilt evidence.


On Juror Decision Making: An Empathic Inquiry, Dan Simon Aug 2019

On Juror Decision Making: An Empathic Inquiry, Dan Simon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This review examines the workings of jurors deciding criminal cases. It seeks not to commend or condemn jury decision making but rather to offer an empathic exploration of the task that jurors face in exercising their fact-finding duty. Reconstructing criminal events in the courtroom amounts to a difficult feat under the best of circumstances. The task becomes especially complicated under the taxing conditions of criminal adjudication: the often substandard evidence presented in court; the paucity of the investigative record; types of evidence that are difficult to decipher; the unruly decision-making environment of the courtroom; and mental gymnastics required to meet ...


The Effects Of The Putative Confession And Evidence Presentation On Maltreated And Non-Maltreated 9- To 12-Year-Olds' Coached Concealment Of A Minor Transgression, Angela Evans, Thomas D. Lyon Jul 2019

The Effects Of The Putative Confession And Evidence Presentation On Maltreated And Non-Maltreated 9- To 12-Year-Olds' Coached Concealment Of A Minor Transgression, Angela Evans, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The present study examined the influence of the putative confession (in which children are told that the suspect told them “everything that happened” and “wants [the child] to tell the truth”) and evidence presentation on 9- to 12-year-old maltreated and non-maltreated children’s disclosure (N = 321). Half of the children played a forbidden game with an adult confederate which resulted in a laptop breaking (no transgression occurred for the other half of children), followed by coaching to conceal the forbidden game and to falsely disclose the sanctioned game. Children were then interviewed about the interaction with the confederate. Among the ...


Effects Of The Putative Confession Instruction On Perceptions Of Children's True And False Statements, Jennifer Gongola, Nicholas Scurich, Thomas D. Lyon Jul 2019

Effects Of The Putative Confession Instruction On Perceptions Of Children's True And False Statements, Jennifer Gongola, Nicholas Scurich, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The putative confession instruction (“[suspect] told me everything that happened and wants you to tell the truth”) during forensic interviews with children has been shown to increase the accuracy of children’s statements, but it is unclear whether adult’s perceptions are sensitive to this salutary effect. The present study examined how adults perceive children’s true and false responses to the putative confession (PC) instruction. Participants (n = 299) watched videotaped interviews of children and rated the child’s credibility and the truthfulness of his/her statements. When viewing children’s responses to the PC instruction, true and false statements ...


Children's Concealment Of A Minor Transgression: The Role Of Age, Maltreatment, And Executive Functioning, Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon Jul 2019

Children's Concealment Of A Minor Transgression: The Role Of Age, Maltreatment, And Executive Functioning, Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This study examined the role of age, maltreatment status, and executive functioning (EF) on 752 4- to 9-year-old maltreated and nonmaltreated children’s recall disclosure of a transgression in which they appeared to have broken toys while playing with a stranger. Interviewers used narrative practice rapport-building and then questioned children with free recall and cued recall questions. Younger and maltreated children were more likely to disclose during rapport-building, whereas older and nonmaltreated children were more likely to disclose in response to recall questions. Working memory deficits appeared to mediate the relation between children’s characteristics and disclosure during rapport, but ...


Adults' Perceptions Of Children's Referentially Ambiguous Responses, Breanne E. Wylie, Thomas D. Lyon, Alison M. O'Connor, Christina Lapytskaia, Angela Evans Jul 2019

Adults' Perceptions Of Children's Referentially Ambiguous Responses, Breanne E. Wylie, Thomas D. Lyon, Alison M. O'Connor, Christina Lapytskaia, Angela Evans

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The present study examined adults’ (N = 295) interpretations of child witnesses’ referentially ambiguous “yes” and “no” responses to “Do You Know/Remember (DYK/R) if/whether” questions (e.g., “Do you know if it was blue?”). Participants were presented with transcripts from child sexual abuse cases modified based on question format (DYK/R vs. Direct) and child response type (Yes, No, I don’t know) in a between subjects design. We assessed whether adults recognized that children’s ambiguous responses were unclear, and if not, how they were interpreting children’s responses compared to the control (Direct) conditions. More specifically ...


Forensic Science Evidence And The Limits Of Cross-Examination, Gary Edmond, Emma Cunliffe, Kristy Martire, Mehera San Roque Jul 2019

Forensic Science Evidence And The Limits Of Cross-Examination, Gary Edmond, Emma Cunliffe, Kristy Martire, Mehera San Roque

Faculty Publications

The ability to confront witnesses through cross-examination is conventionally understood as the most powerful means of testing evidence, and one of the most important features of the adversarial trial. Popularly feted, cross-examination was immortalised in John Henry Wigmore’s (1863–1943) famous dictum that it is ‘the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth’. Through a detailed review of the cross-examination of a forensic scientist, in the first scientifically-informed challenge to latent fingerprint evidence in Australia, this article offers a more modest assessment of its value. Drawing upon mainstream scientific research and advice, and contrasting scientific knowledge ...


The Role Of Kinship And Siblings In Young Children's Placement Preferences, Kelli Dickerson, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas Jun 2019

The Role Of Kinship And Siblings In Young Children's Placement Preferences, Kelli Dickerson, Thomas D. Lyon, Jodi A. Quas

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Although considerable attention has been directed toward the most appropriate placement for children following removal from home due to maltreatment, very little of this attention has focused on children’s stated preferences, particularly when they are young. Specifically, children under 12 years of age are typically presumed incompetent to form reasoned judgments about their best interests in placement. This assumption, however, has rarely been tested directly. We surveyed 100 4- to 11-year-olds removed from home because of maltreatment about their placement preferences. Children were less likely to indicate they wanted to return home if they were placed with siblings or ...


Maryland Makes New Evidence Postconviction Review Provisions Available To Defendants With Plea Deals, Felicia Langel Jun 2019

Maryland Makes New Evidence Postconviction Review Provisions Available To Defendants With Plea Deals, Felicia Langel

Maryland Law Review Online

No abstract provided.


Social Media, Venue And The Right To A Fair Trial, Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer Jun 2019

Social Media, Venue And The Right To A Fair Trial, Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Judicial failure to recognize social media's influence on juror decision making has identifiable constitutional implications. The Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial demands that courts grant a defendant's change of venue motion when media-generated pretrial publicity invades the unbiased sensibility of those who are asked to sit in judgment. Courts limit publicity suitable for granting a defendant's motion to information culled from newspapers, radio, and television reports. Since about 2014, however, a handful of defendants have introduced social media posts to support their claims of unconstitutional bias in the community. Despite defendants' introduction of negative social ...


Increasing Maltreated And Nonmaltreated Children's Recall Disclosures Of A Minor Transgression: The Effects Of Back-Channel Utterances, A Promise To Tell The Truth And A Post-Recall Putative Confession, Kelly Mcwilliams, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Thomas D. Lyon May 2019

Increasing Maltreated And Nonmaltreated Children's Recall Disclosures Of A Minor Transgression: The Effects Of Back-Channel Utterances, A Promise To Tell The Truth And A Post-Recall Putative Confession, Kelly Mcwilliams, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Background: Children are often hesitant to disclose transgressions, particularly when they feel implicated, and frequently remain reluctant until confronted with direct questions. Given the risks associated with direct questions, an important issue is how interviewers can encourage honesty through recall questions. Objective: The present study examined the use of three truth induction strategies for increasing the accuracy and productivity of children’s reports about a transgression. Participants: A total of 285 4-to-9-year-old maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Methods: Each child took part in a play session with a stranger during which the child appeared to break some toys. A research assistant ...


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 ...


The Silliness Of Magical Realism, Kevin M. Clermont Apr 2019

The Silliness Of Magical Realism, Kevin M. Clermont

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Relative plausibility, even after countless explanatory articles, remains an underdeveloped model bereft of underlying theory. Multivalent logic, a fully developed and accepted system of logic, comes to the same endpoint as relative plausibility. Multivalent logic would thus provide the missing theory, while it would resolve all the old problems of using traditional probability theory to explain the standards of proof as well as the new problems raised by the relative plausibility model. For example, multivalent logic resolves the infamous ‘conjunction paradox’ that traditional probability creates for itself, and which relative plausibility tries to sweep under the rug.

Yet Professors Allen ...


Child Witnesses, Thomas D. Lyon, Kelly Mcwilliams, Shanna Williams Mar 2019

Child Witnesses, Thomas D. Lyon, Kelly Mcwilliams, Shanna Williams

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

In this chapter we provide an overview of psychological issues involving children’s capacities as witnesses. First, we discuss the kinds of cases in which children are usually involved. Across different courts, one most often sees children describing abuse at the hands of familiar adults. Second, we describe the difficulties children encounter in disclosing abuse, particularly when it is perpetrated by adults close to them. These dynamics lead most children to remain silent, and only the most forthcoming children to disclose. Third, we suggest a framework for assessing children’s allegations, in which child-generated and adult-generated information lie on opposite ...


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 ...


The Utility Of Direct Questions In Eliciting Subjective Content From Children Disclosing Sexual Abuse, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Catherine Liang, Thomas D. Lyon Mar 2019

The Utility Of Direct Questions In Eliciting Subjective Content From Children Disclosing Sexual Abuse, Stacia N. Stolzenberg, Shanna Williams, Kelly Mcwilliams, Catherine Liang, Thomas D. Lyon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Background: Children alleging sexual abuse rarely exhibit emotion when disclosing, but they may be able to describe their subjective reactions to abuse if asked.

Objective: This study examined the extent to which different types of questions in child sexual abuse interviews elicited subjective content, namely emotional reactions, cognitive content, and physical sensations.

Participants and Setting: The study included transcripts of 205 Child Advocacy Center interviews with 4- to 12-year-old children alleging sexual abuse.

Methods: We coded questions for question type, distinguishing among invitations, wh- questions, yes/no and forced-choice questions, and suggestive questions. We coded both questions and answers for ...


Thin Empirics, Comment On Allen & Pardo: Relative Plausibility And Its Critics, Dan Simon Feb 2019

Thin Empirics, Comment On Allen & Pardo: Relative Plausibility And Its Critics, Dan Simon

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

In the target article of this symposium, Ron Allen and Michael Pardo advance the empirical claim that Relative Plausibility is the best account of juridical proof. While I tend to agree with the relative plausibility approach and endorse its holistic underpinnings, the article suffers from three weaknesses. First, the authors fail to substantiate their empirical claim. Second, the authors cite too casually to the Story Model. For all its brilliance, the story model provides too narrow a basis to serve as a general model of legal fact-finding. Finally, the authors fail to appreciate the adverse effects of holistic cognition on ...


Franks (Kenneth) V. State, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 1 (Jan. 3, 2019), Scott Whitworth Jan 2019

Franks (Kenneth) V. State, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 1 (Jan. 3, 2019), Scott Whitworth

Nevada Supreme Court Summaries

The Court reviewed whether a district court’s decision to allow the State to introduce prior incidents of uncharged sexual acts as evidence of the defendant’s propensity for committing sexual offenses violated NRS 48.045(3) and concluded such evidence as long as it is first evaluated for relevance and its heightened risk of unfair prejudice.


Maltreated Children's Ability To Make Temporal Judgments Using A Recurring Landmark Event, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon, J A. Quas Jan 2019

Maltreated Children's Ability To Make Temporal Judgments Using A Recurring Landmark Event, Kelly Mcwilliams, Thomas D. Lyon, J A. Quas

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This study examined whether maltreated children are capable of judging the location and order of significant events with respect to a recurring landmark event. 167 6- to 10-year-old maltreated children were asked whether the current day, their last court visit, and their last change in placement were “near” their birthday and “before or after” their birthday. Children showed some understanding that the target event was “near” and “before” their birthday when their birthday was less than three months hence, but were relatively insensitive to preceding birthdays. Hence, children exhibited a prospective bias, preferentially answering with reference to a forthcoming birthday ...


A Philosophical Basis For Judicial Restraint, Michael Evan Gold Jan 2019

A Philosophical Basis For Judicial Restraint, Michael Evan Gold

Articles and Chapters

The purpose of this article is to establish a principled basis for restraint of judicial lawmaking. The principle is that all findings of fact, whether of legislative or adjudicative facts, must be based on evidence in the record of a case. This principle is grounded in moral philosophy. I will begin with a discussion of the relevant aspect of moral philosophy, then state and defend the principle, and finally apply it to a line of cases.


An Erie Approach To Privilege Doctrine, 10 Conlawnow 205 (2019)., Megan M. La Belle Jan 2019

An Erie Approach To Privilege Doctrine, 10 Conlawnow 205 (2019)., Megan M. La Belle

Scholarly Articles and Other Contributions

This short essay considers the HannStar and Silver cases and begins a discussion of the impact that the Erie doctrine has—and, more importantly, ought to have—on privilege law. While Erie is considered by many as “one of the modern cornerstones of our federalism,” the doctrine is important too for the change it can effect through the cross pollination of ideas among tribunals. Because privilege laws reflect deliberate policy choices by legislatures and courts, the Erie doctrine arguably plays a particularly vital role in developing this area of the law.


Beyond The Witness: Bringing A Process Perspective, Edward K. Cheng, G. Alexander Nunn Jan 2019

Beyond The Witness: Bringing A Process Perspective, Edward K. Cheng, G. Alexander Nunn

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

For centuries, the foundation of the Anglo-American trial has been the witness.' Witnesses report on their personal observations, provide opinions of character, offer scientific explanations, and in the case of parties, narrate their own story. Indeed, even for documentary and other physical evidence, witnesses often provide the conduit through which such evidence reaches the factfinder. Documentary or physical evidence rarely stands on its own. The law of evidence has thus unsurprisingly focused on-or perhaps obsessed over-witnesses. The hearsay rule and the Confrontation Clause demand that declarants be available witnesses at trial so that they may be subject to cross-examination.' Expert ...


Driving The Drug War: Difficulties With Proper Detection Of Thc And Measurement Of Marijuana Intoxication For The Purposes Of Dui Prosecution, Sage La Rue Zitzkat Jan 2019

Driving The Drug War: Difficulties With Proper Detection Of Thc And Measurement Of Marijuana Intoxication For The Purposes Of Dui Prosecution, Sage La Rue Zitzkat

Dissertations and Honors Papers

No abstract provided.


The Disappointing History Of Science In The Courtroom: Frye, Daubert, And The Ongoing Crisis Of “Junk Science” In Criminal Trials, Jim Hilbert Jan 2019

The Disappointing History Of Science In The Courtroom: Frye, Daubert, And The Ongoing Crisis Of “Junk Science” In Criminal Trials, Jim Hilbert

Faculty Scholarship

Twenty-five years ago, the Supreme Court decided one of the most important cases concerning the use of science in courtrooms. In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals , the Court addressed widespread concerns that courts were admitting unreliable scientific evidence. In addition, lower courts lacked clarity on the status of the previous landmark case for courtroom science, Frye v. United States. In the years leading up to the Daubert decision, policy-makers and legal observers sounded the alarm about the rise in the use of "junk science" by so-called expert witnesses. Some critics went so far as to suggest that American businesses and ...


Between Brady Discretion And Brady Misconduct, Bennett L. Gershman Jan 2019

Between Brady Discretion And Brady Misconduct, Bennett L. Gershman

Pace Law Faculty Publications

The Supreme Court’s decision in Brady v. Maryland presented prosecutors with new professional challenges. In Brady, the Supreme Court held that the prosecution must provide the defense with any evidence in its possession that could be exculpatory. If the prosecution fails to timely turn over evidence that materially undermines the defendant’s guilt, a reviewing court must grant the defendant a new trial. While determining whether evidence materially undermines a defendant’s guilt may seem like a simple assessment, the real-life application of such a determination can be complicated. The prosecution’s disclosure determination can be complicated under the ...


Parol Evidence Rules And The Mechanics Of Choice, Gregory Klass Jan 2019

Parol Evidence Rules And The Mechanics Of Choice, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Scholars have to date paid relatively little attention to the rules for deciding when a writing is integrated. These integration rules, however, are as dark and full of subtle difficulties as are other parts of parol evidence rules. As a way of thinking about Hanoch Dagan and Michael Heller’s The Choice Theory of Contracts, this Article suggests we would do better with tailored integration rules for two transaction types. In negotiated contracts between firms, courts should apply a hard express integration rule, requiring firms to say when they intend a writing to be integrated. In consumer contracts, standard terms ...


Myth, Inference And Evidence In Sexual Assault Trials, Lisa Dufraimont Jan 2019

Myth, Inference And Evidence In Sexual Assault Trials, Lisa Dufraimont

Articles & Book Chapters

In sexual assault cases, the ability to distinguish myths and stereotypes from legitimate lines of reasoning continues to be a challenge for Canadian courts. The author argues that this challenge could be overcome by clearly identifying problematic inferences in sexual assault cases as prohibited lines of reasoning, while allowing the defence to bring forward evidence that is logically relevant to the material issues so long as it does not raise these prohibited inferences.

This paper advances that judges should take a broad view of relevance as an evidentiary approach in the adjudication of sexual assault cases. This approach allows for ...


Law And Modern Technology: Lack Of Tech Knowledge In Legal Profession May Cause Injustice, Md Wahidur Rahman, Marissa Moran Dec 2018

Law And Modern Technology: Lack Of Tech Knowledge In Legal Profession May Cause Injustice, Md Wahidur Rahman, Marissa Moran

Publications and Research

There is no such field where technology hasn’t reached. It will be a dream to think something without technology. In today’s world every field requires tech knowledge. The courtroom and law offices have changed with the evolution of technology. Most courts don’t accept paper files anymore. Law offices use virtual file to store client information. However, due to old age or other reason a significant number of attorneys and judges are not competent in technology.

This paper will examine the use of technology in our legal system and what problem arises due to lack of proper tech ...