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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Revisiting 'Dreyfus': A More Complete Account Of A Trial By Mathematics, David H. Kaye Jan 2007

Revisiting 'Dreyfus': A More Complete Account Of A Trial By Mathematics, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

Legal literature and case law depicts the infamous conviction of Alfred Dreyfus for treason and espionage in 1899 as a prime example of the irresistible power of even grossly fallacious mathematical demonstrations to overwhelm a legal tribunal. This essay shows that Dreyfus is not a case of mathematics run amok, unchecked and uncomprehended. To the contrary, the defects in the mathematical proof were dramatically exposed, and this evidence did not lead Dreyfus's judges to condemn him. This history undercuts the reliance of modern courts and commentators on Dreyfus as an indication or illustration of the alleged dangers of probability ...


Justice Blackmun's Mark On Criminal Law And Procedure, Kit Kinports Jan 1999

Justice Blackmun's Mark On Criminal Law And Procedure, Kit Kinports

Journal Articles

When Justice Blackmun was nominated to the Court in 1970, Americans were consumed with the idea of crime control. In the 1968 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon had called the Supreme Court "soft on crime" and had promised to "put 'law and order' judges on the Court." While sitting on the Eighth Circuit, the Justice had "seldom struck down searches, seizures, arrests or confessions," and most of his opinions in criminal cases had "affirmed guilty verdicts and sentences." Thus, according to one commentator, Justice Blackmun seemed to be "exactly what Nixon was looking for: a judge who believed in judicial restraint ...


Proof In Law And Science, David H. Kaye Jan 1992

Proof In Law And Science, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

This article addresses proof in both science and law. Both disciplines utilize proof of facts and proof of theories, but for different purposes and, consequently, in different ways. Some similarities exist, however, in how both disciplines use a series of premises followed by a conclusion to form an argument, and thus constitute a logic. This article analyzes the ways in which legal logic and scientific logic differ. Finding facts in law involves the same logic but quite different procedures than scientific fact-finding. Finding, or rather constructing, the law is also very different from scientific theorizing. But such differences do not ...


Probability Theory Meets Res Ipsa Loquitor, David H. Kaye Jan 1979

Probability Theory Meets Res Ipsa Loquitor, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

Day in and day out, attorneys, judges, and jurors must estimate probabilities. To be sure, we rarely quantify such estimates of probability and almost never adopt the terminology and mathematics of probability theory to resolve matters. Nevertheless, the mathematical theory of probability can be applied to legal problems in various ways. This article uses probability theory normatively in an effort to clarify one aspect of the famous tort doctrine known as res ipsa loquitur. While not urging that jurors be instructed in probability theory or be equipped with microprocessors, it does seek an accurate statement of the res ipsa doctrine ...


Balzacian Legality, Thomas E. Carbonneau Jan 1979

Balzacian Legality, Thomas E. Carbonneau

Journal Articles

The study of law and literature is an area of growing interest to legal scholars in the United States. Honore de Balzac incorporated in his works a panoramic view of the social reality of nineteenth century France. In this context, the fidelity of Balzac's plots and characters to their external models has been well-documented in a number of fields, including sociology, commerce, and finance. In addition to this penchant for realism, however, Balzac laced his novels with an equally evident moral content. This commitment to accuracy and morality also influenced Balzac's novelistic treatment of the law and lawyers ...