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Articles 1 - 5 of 5

Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

What Will We Lose If The Trial Vanishes?, Robert P. Burns Jan 2011

What Will We Lose If The Trial Vanishes?, Robert P. Burns

Faculty Working Papers

The number of trials continues to decline andfederal civil trials have almost completely disappeared. This essay attempts to address the significance of this loss, to answer the obvious question, "So what?" It argues against taking a resigned or complacent attitude toward an important problem for our public culture. It presents a short description of the trial's internal structure, recounts different sorts of explanations, and offers an inventory of the kinds of wounds this development would inflict.


Moral Character, Motive, And The Psychology Of Blame, Janice Nadler, Mary-Hunter Morris Mcdonnell Jan 2011

Moral Character, Motive, And The Psychology Of Blame, Janice Nadler, Mary-Hunter Morris Mcdonnell

Faculty Working Papers

Blameworthiness, in the criminal law context, is conceived as the carefully calculated end product of discrete judgments about a transgressor's intentionality, causal proximity to harm, and the harm's foreseeability. Research in social psychology, on the other hand, suggests that blaming is often intuitive and automatic, driven by a natural impulsive desire to express and defend social values and expectations. The motivational processes that underlie psychological blame suggest that judgments of legal blame are influenced by factors the law does not always explicitly recognize or encourage. In this Article we focus on two highly related motivational processes – the desire ...


If The Shoe Fits They Might Acquit: The Value Of Forensic Science Testimony, Jonathan Koehler Jan 2011

If The Shoe Fits They Might Acquit: The Value Of Forensic Science Testimony, Jonathan Koehler

Faculty Working Papers

The probative value of forensic science evidence (such as a shoeprint) varies widely depending on how the evidence and hypothesis of interest is characterized. This paper uses a likelihood ratio (LR) approach to identify the probative value of forensic science evidence. It argues that the "evidence" component should be characterized as a "reported match," and that the hypothesis component should be characterized as "the matching person or object is the source of the crime scene sample." This characterization of the LR forces examiners to incorporate risks from sample mix-ups and examiner error into their match statistics. But how will legal ...


The Death Of The American Trial, Robert P. Burns Jan 2009

The Death Of The American Trial, Robert P. Burns

Faculty Working Papers

This short essay is a summary of my assessment of the meaning of the "vanishing trial" phenomenon. It addresses the obvious question: "So what?" It first briefly reviews the evidence of the trial's decline. It then sets out the steps necessary to understand the political and social signficance of our vastly reducing the trial's importance among our modes of social ordering. The essay serves as the Introduction to a book, The Death of the American Trial, soon to be published by the University of Chicago Press.


The Language Of Consent In Police Encounters, Janice Nadler, J.D. Trout Jan 2009

The Language Of Consent In Police Encounters, Janice Nadler, J.D. Trout

Faculty Working Papers

In this chapter, we examine the nature of conversations in citizen-police encounters in which police seek to conduct a search based on the citizen's consent. We argue that when police officers ask a person if they can search, citizens often feel enormous pressure to say yes. But judges routinely ignore these pressures, choosing instead to spotlight the politeness and restraint of the officers' language and demeanor. Courts often analyze the language of police encounters as if the conversation has an obvious, context-free meaning. The pragmatic features of language influence behavior, but courts routinely ignore or deny this fact. Instead ...