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DNA

2009

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The Dna Of An Argument: A Case Study In Legal Logos, Colin Starger Jul 2009

The Dna Of An Argument: A Case Study In Legal Logos, Colin Starger

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This Article develops a framework for analyzing legal argument through an in-depth case study of the debate over federal actions for post-conviction DNA access. Building on the Aristotelian concept of logos, this Article maintains that the persuasive power of legal logic depends in part on the rhetorical characteristics of premises, inferences, and conclusions in legal proofs. After sketching a taxonomy that distinguishes between prototypical argument logo (formal, empirical, narrative, and categorical), the Article applies its framework to parse the rhetorical dynamics at play in litigation over post-conviction access to DNA evidence under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, focusing in particular on …