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Hearings, Mark Spottswood Jan 2010

Hearings, Mark Spottswood

Faculty Working Papers

This article explores a constantly recurring procedural question: When is fact-finding improved by a live hearing, and when would it be better to rely on a written record? Unfortunately, when judges, lawyers, and rulemakers consider this issue, they are led astray by the widely shared—but false—assumption that a judge can best determine issues of credibility by viewing the demeanor of witnesses while they are testifying. In fact, a large body of scientific evidence indicates that judges are more likely to be deceived by lying or mistaken witnesses when observing their testimony in person than if the judges were ...


Train Our Jurors, Jonathan Koehler Jan 2006

Train Our Jurors, Jonathan Koehler

Faculty Working Papers

Lay jurors are often legally and logically unprepared for trial. In response, it is recommended that jurors receive training in how to make better legal decisions. This chapter suggests that jurors should receive comprehensive training in critical legal doctrines and in how to reason with legal evidence. Jurors who cannot be trained to achieve minimal levels of competence (in the law or in basic reasoning) should be excused from jury service. Suggestions are given as to how policy makers and researchers who are interested in jury reform may wish to proceed.