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Full-Text Articles in Law

Eliminating Rule 609 To Provide A Fair Opportunity To Defend Against Criminal Charges: A Proposal To The Advisory Committee On The Federal Rules Of Evidence, Jeffrey Bellin May 2024

Eliminating Rule 609 To Provide A Fair Opportunity To Defend Against Criminal Charges: A Proposal To The Advisory Committee On The Federal Rules Of Evidence, Jeffrey Bellin

Faculty Publications

Federal Rule of Evidence 609 authorizes the admission of prior convictions to impeach criminal defendants who testify. And in this important and uniquely damaging application, the [r]ule’s logic fails, distorting American trials and depriving defendants of a fair opportunity to defend against the charges. The Advisory Committee [on Evidence Rules (the “Advisory Committee”)] should propose the elimination of Rule 609 and prohibit cross-examination with specific instances of a criminal defendant’s past conduct when those instances are unrelated to the defendant’s testimony and unconnected to the case.

This short essay begins by setting out the proposed rule change alongside a proposed …


The Precarious Art Of Classifying Facts, Allison Orr Larsen Feb 2024

The Precarious Art Of Classifying Facts, Allison Orr Larsen

Faculty Publications

In their terrific new article, Fact Stripping, Joseph Blocher and Brandon Garrett bring formidable expertise from their respective fields to tackle the inscrutable puzzle of appellate fact review.

[...]

In this short reply I will add to Blocher and Garrett’s illuminating work by exploring a foundational confusion their article exposes. I will first explain why classifying facts as either suitable for trial or not is a very fraught endeavor; I will then argue that this difficulty allows for significant manipulation and the risk of unprincipled application. Finally, I will nod to prior work and forecast future work where I …


Introduction To The Symposium On Digital Evidence, Melinda (M.J.) Durkee, Megiddo Tamar Jan 2024

Introduction To The Symposium On Digital Evidence, Melinda (M.J.) Durkee, Megiddo Tamar

Scholarship@WashULaw

The past few decades have seen radical advances in the availability and use of digital evidence in multiple areas of international law. Witnesses snap cellphone photos of unfolding atrocities and post them online, while others share updates in real time through messaging apps. Immigration officers search cell phones. Private citizens launch open-source online investigations. Investigators scrape social media posts. Digital experts verify authenticity with satellite geolocation. These new types of evidence and digitally facilitated methods and patterns of evidence gathering and analysis are revolutionizing the everyday practice of international law, drawing in an ever-wider circle of actors who can contribute …


Introduction To The Symposium On Digital Evidence, Melinda (M.J.) Durkee, Tamar Megiddo Jan 2024

Introduction To The Symposium On Digital Evidence, Melinda (M.J.) Durkee, Tamar Megiddo

Scholarship@WashULaw

The past few decades have seen radical advances in the availability and use of digital evidence in multiple areas of international law. Witnesses snap cellphone photos of unfolding atrocities and post them online, while others share updates in real time through messaging apps. Immigration officers search cell phones. Private citizens launch open-source online investigations. Investigators scrape social media posts. Digital experts verify authenticity with satellite geolocation. These new types of evidence and digitally facilitated methods and patterns of evidence gathering and analysis are revolutionizing the everyday practice of international law, drawing in an ever-wider circle of actors who can contribute …


The Automated Fourth Amendment, Maneka Sinha Jan 2024

The Automated Fourth Amendment, Maneka Sinha

Faculty Scholarship

Courts routinely defer to police officer judgments in reasonable suspicion and probable cause determinations. Increasingly, though, police officers outsource these threshold judgments to new forms of technology that purport to predict and detect crime and identify those responsible. These policing technologies automate core police determinations about whether crime is occurring and who is responsible. Criminal procedure doctrine has failed to insist on some level of scrutiny of—or skepticism about—the reliability of this technology. Through an original study analyzing numerous state and federal court opinions, this Article exposes the implications of law enforcement’s reliance on these practices given the weighty interests …


Ai-Based Evidence In Criminal Trials?, Sabine Gless, Fredric I. Lederer, Thomas Weigend Jan 2024

Ai-Based Evidence In Criminal Trials?, Sabine Gless, Fredric I. Lederer, Thomas Weigend

Faculty Publications

Smart devices are increasingly the origin of critical criminal case data. The importance of such data, especially data generated when using modern automobiles, is likely to become even more important as increasingly complex methods of machine learning lead to AI-based evidence being autonomously generated by devices. This article reviews the admissibility of such evidence from both American and German perspectives. As a result of this comparative approach, the authors conclude that American evidence law could be improved by borrowing aspects of the expert testimony approaches used in Germany’s “inquisitorial” court system.


Similar Fact Evidence In Contractual Interpretation: Bhoomatidevi D/O Kishinchand Chugani Mrs Kavita Gope Mirwani V Nantakumar S/O V Ramachandra And Another [2023] Sghc 37, Calvin John Kaiwen Chirnside Jan 2024

Similar Fact Evidence In Contractual Interpretation: Bhoomatidevi D/O Kishinchand Chugani Mrs Kavita Gope Mirwani V Nantakumar S/O V Ramachandra And Another [2023] Sghc 37, Calvin John Kaiwen Chirnside

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

In the recent Singapore High Court case of Bhoomatidevi d/o Kishinchand Chugani Mrs Kavita Gope Mirwani v Nantakumar s/o v Ramachandra and another [2023] SGHC 37, the claimant argued, inter alia, that evidence of a prior contract between the first defendant and a third party should be admitted to prove that the defendant had entered into a loan agreement with her in his personal capacity. Justice Lee Seiu Kin dismissed her claim, applying s. 14 of the Evidence Act.


Neglected Discovery, Jenia I. Turner, Ronald F. Wright, Michael Braun Jan 2024

Neglected Discovery, Jenia I. Turner, Ronald F. Wright, Michael Braun

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

In recent decades, many states have expanded discovery in criminal cases. These reforms were designed to make the criminal process fairer and more efficient. The success of these changes, however, depends on whether defense attorneys actually use the new discovery opportunities to represent their clients more effectively. Records from digital evidence platforms reveal that defense attorneys sometimes fail to carry out their professional duty to review discovery. Analyzing a novel dataset we obtained from digital evidence platforms used in Texas, we found that defense attorneys never accessed any available electronic discovery in a substantial number of felony cases between 2018 …


False Accuracy In Criminal Trials: The Limits And Costs Of Cross Examination, Lisa Kern Griffin Jan 2024

False Accuracy In Criminal Trials: The Limits And Costs Of Cross Examination, Lisa Kern Griffin

Faculty Scholarship

According to the popular culture of criminal trials, skillful cross-examination can reveal the whole “truth” of what happened. In a climactic scene, defense counsel will expose a lying accuser, clear up the statements of a confused eyewitness, or surface the incentives and biases in testimony. Constitutional precedents, evidence theory, and trial procedures all reflect a similar aspiration—that cross-examination performs lie detection and thereby helps to produce accurate outcomes. Although conceptualized as a protection for defendants, cross-examination imposes some unexplored costs on them. Because it focuses on the physical presence of a witness, the current law of confrontation suggests that an …


Write Before You Watch: Policies For Police Body-Worn Cameras That Advance Accountability And Accuracy, Hillary B. Farber Jan 2024

Write Before You Watch: Policies For Police Body-Worn Cameras That Advance Accountability And Accuracy, Hillary B. Farber

Faculty Publications

In the wake of high-profile killings and abuse by police officers over the past few years, the public has come to expect that officers will be equipped with body-worn cameras (BWCs). These cameras capture and preserve encounters between police and civilians, and the footage they record often becomes critical evidence in criminal, civil, or administrative proceedings. Reformers believe BWCs can improve police accountability, build public trust in police, and potentially reform police behavior.

Considering the reliance on BWCs, a key question has emerged: should officers be allowed to review BWC footage before preparing a report or giving a statement, or …


The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023: A New And Unimproved Evidence Act, Kunal Ambasta Nov 2023

The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023: A New And Unimproved Evidence Act, Kunal Ambasta

Popular Media

The secrecy in drafting the bill to replace the Evidence Act is reminiscent of colonial legislation by committee. The lack of consultation has meant that the interpretative confusions in existing law remain unresolved.


The Superfluous Rules Of Evidence, Jeffrey Bellin Nov 2023

The Superfluous Rules Of Evidence, Jeffrey Bellin

Faculty Publications

There are few American legal codifications as successful as the Federal Rules of Evidence. But this success masks the project’s uncertain beginnings. The drafters of the Federal Rules worried that lawmakers would not adopt the new rules and that judges would not follow them. As a result, they included at least thirty rules of evidence that do not, in fact, alter the admissibility of evidence. Instead, these rules: (1) market the rules project, and (2) guide judges away from anticipated errors in applying the (other) nonsuperfluous rules.

Given the superfluous rules’ covert mission, it should not be surprising that the …


Symposium: Reimagining The Rules Of Evidence At 50, Edward K. Cheng Nov 2023

Symposium: Reimagining The Rules Of Evidence At 50, Edward K. Cheng

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Prior to the eighteenth century, cartographers would often fill uncharted areas of maps with sea monsters, other artwork, or even rank speculation—a phenomenon labeled “horror vacui,” or fear of empty spaces. For example, in Paolo Forlani’s world map of 1565, a yet to-be-discovered southern continent was depicted with anticipated mountain chains and animals. The possible explanations for horror vacui are varied, but one reason may have been a desire “to hide [the mapmakers’] ignorance.” Not until “maps began to be thought of as more purely scientific instruments . . . [did] cartographers . . . restrain their concern about spaces …


Bending The Rules Of Evidence, Edward K. Cheng, G. Alexander Nunn, Julia Simon-Kerr Oct 2023

Bending The Rules Of Evidence, Edward K. Cheng, G. Alexander Nunn, Julia Simon-Kerr

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The evidence rules have well-established, standard textual meanings—meanings that evidence professors teach their law students every year. Yet, despite the rules’ clarity, courts misapply them across a wide array of cases: Judges allow past acts to bypass the propensity prohibition, squeeze hearsay into facially inapplicable exceptions, and poke holes in supposedly ironclad privileges. And that’s just the beginning.

The evidence literature sees these misapplications as mistakes by inept trial judges. This Article takes a very different view. These “mistakes” are often not mistakes at all, but rather instances in which courts are intentionally bending the rules of evidence. Codified evidentiary …


Bending The Rules Of Evidence, Edward K. Cheng, G. Alexander Nunn, Julia Simon-Kerr Oct 2023

Bending The Rules Of Evidence, Edward K. Cheng, G. Alexander Nunn, Julia Simon-Kerr

Faculty Scholarship

The evidence rules have well-established, standard textual meanings—meanings that evidence professors teach their law students every year. Yet, despite the rules’ clarity, courts misapply them across a wide array of cases: Judges allow past acts to bypass the propensity prohibition, squeeze hearsay into facially inapplicable exceptions, and poke holes in supposedly ironclad privileges. And that’s just the beginning.

The evidence literature sees these misapplications as mistakes by inept trial judges. This Article takes a very different view. These “mistakes” are often not mistakes at all, but rather instances in which courts are intentionally bending the rules of evidence. Codified evidentiary …


Twenty Years After Krieger V Law Society Of Alberta: Law Society Discipline Of Crown Prosecutors And Government Lawyers, Andrew Flavelle Martin Oct 2023

Twenty Years After Krieger V Law Society Of Alberta: Law Society Discipline Of Crown Prosecutors And Government Lawyers, Andrew Flavelle Martin

Articles, Book Chapters, & Popular Press

Krieger v. Law Society of Alberta held that provincial and territorial law societies have disciplinary jurisdiction over Crown prosecutors for conduct outside of prosecutorial discretion. The reasoning in Krieger would also apply to government lawyers. The apparent consensus is that law societies rarely exercise that jurisdiction. But in those rare instances, what conduct do Canadian law societies discipline Crown prosecutors and government lawyers for? In this article, I canvass reported disciplinary decisions to demonstrate that, while law societies sometimes discipline Crown prosecutors for violations unique to those lawyers, they often do so for violations applicable to all lawyers — particularly …


Race Ethics: Colorblind Formalism And Color-Coded Pragmatism In Lawyer Regulation, Anthony V. Alfieri Jul 2023

Race Ethics: Colorblind Formalism And Color-Coded Pragmatism In Lawyer Regulation, Anthony V. Alfieri

Articles

The recent, high-profile civil and criminal trials held in the aftermath of the George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery murders, the Kyle Rittenhouse killings, and the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" Rally violence renew debate over race, representation, and ethics in the U.S. civil and criminal justice systems. For civil rights lawyers, prosecutors, and criminal defense attorneys, neither the progress of post-war civil rights movements and criminal justice reform campaigns nor the advance of Critical Race Theory and social movement scholarship have resolved the debate over the use of race in pretrial, trial, and appellate advocacy, and in the lawyering process more …


Introduction: The Arc Of Race In Professional And Collegiate Sports Symposium, Kenneth D. Ferguson Jul 2023

Introduction: The Arc Of Race In Professional And Collegiate Sports Symposium, Kenneth D. Ferguson

Faculty Works

This introduction will highlight the five articles featured in the symposium issue of the UMKC Law Review and will also situate those articles in the Sports Law Symposium titled, The Arc of Race in Professional and Collegiate Sports. The goal of the two-day virtual symposium was to bring together leading legal, social science, and medical science scholars to engage in discourse concerning how race and gender have affected and continue to influence decision making in professional and collegiate sports. The symposium exposed how race, culture, ethnicity, and gender affect a wide range of phenomena in scientific fields such as neuropsychological …


Remarks On Manifesting Justice: Wrongly Convicted Women Reclaim Their Rights, Amber Baylor, Valena Beety, Susan Sturm Jun 2023

Remarks On Manifesting Justice: Wrongly Convicted Women Reclaim Their Rights, Amber Baylor, Valena Beety, Susan Sturm

Articles by Maurer Faculty

The following are remarks from a panel discussion co-hosted by the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law and the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law on the book Manifesting Justice: Wrongly Convicted Women Reclaim Their Rights.


Flip The Switch: Swapping The Socratic Method For Applied Learning In Evidence Law 646, Chelsi Hayden Jun 2023

Flip The Switch: Swapping The Socratic Method For Applied Learning In Evidence Law 646, Chelsi Hayden

UNL Faculty Course Portfolios

This course portfolio documents my evaluation of my teaching methods and student learning in an Evidence law course. My goal was to document positive outcomes associated with applied learning through a flipped course structure. The data, however, suggests that more research is necessary to determine whether there is a strong correlation between a flipped course and student learning. The data suggests students are generally performing as expected in the course. It also indicates that providing lectures and problem sets before class is effective but may not be more effective than providing them in class, suggesting the timing of the lectures …


A New And Improved Doctrine Of Double Effect: Not Just For Trolleys May 2023

A New And Improved Doctrine Of Double Effect: Not Just For Trolleys

Connecticut Law Review

In its standard formulation, the doctrine of double effect (DDE) permits an action that causes foreseeable and harmful, even dire, collateral consequences, so long as the actor merely foresees but does not intend them and the harms are proportional to the benefit. Yet DDE’s critics question the moral distinction between intending a bad outcome, on one hand, and merely knowing that the actions will result in the bad outcome but acting in exactly the same way, on the other. After all, except in a few narrow circumstances, criminal law in the United States treats intent and knowledge as equally culpable …


Embracing Deference, Edward K. Cheng, Elodie O. Currier, Payton B. Hampton Feb 2023

Embracing Deference, Edward K. Cheng, Elodie O. Currier, Payton B. Hampton

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

A fundamental conceptual problem has long dogged discussions about scientific and other expert evidence in the courtroom. In American law, the problem was most famously posed by Judge Learned Hand, who asked: "[H]ow can the jury judge between two statements each founded upon an experience confessedly foreign in kind to their own? It is just because they are incompetent for such a task that the expert is necessary at all." This puzzle, sometimes known as the "expert paradox," is quite general. It applies not only to the jury as factfinder, but also to the judge as gate- keeper under the …


Reforming Prior Conviction Impeachment, Julia Simon-Kerr, Anna Roberts Jan 2023

Reforming Prior Conviction Impeachment, Julia Simon-Kerr, Anna Roberts

Faculty Articles and Papers

No abstract provided.


Law's Credibility Problem, Julia Simon-Kerr Jan 2023

Law's Credibility Problem, Julia Simon-Kerr

Faculty Articles and Papers

Credibility determinations often seal people's fates. They can determine outcomes at trial; they condition the provision of benefits, like social security; and they play an increasingly dispositive role in immigration proceedings. Yet there is no stable definition of credibility in the law. Courts and agencies diverge at the most basic definitional level in their use of the category.

Consider a real-world example. An immigration judge denies asylum despite the applicant's plausible and unrefuted account of persecution in their country of origin. The applicant appeals, pointing to the fact that Congress enacted a "rebuttable presumption of credibility" for asylum-seekers "on appeal." …


Beliefs And Probabilities: The Errors That Remain Are Mine Alone, Kevin M. Clermont Jan 2023

Beliefs And Probabilities: The Errors That Remain Are Mine Alone, Kevin M. Clermont

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Imagine that the preface to a professor’s book implicitly asserts that all the propositions in the rest of his or her book are true, but explicitly acknowledges that experience would suggest some errors remain among those propositions. The prof thereby seems paradoxically to believe inconsistent statements. But in fact this famous preface paradox is an illusion. The first statement is a belief reflecting epistemic uncertainty, while the second is a probabilistic statement about aleatory uncertainty. If one were to convert the probability into a belief, one would see that the author rationally holds perfectly consistent beliefs.

Likewise the lottery paradox …


Environmental Evidence, Seema Kakade Jan 2023

Environmental Evidence, Seema Kakade

Faculty Scholarship

The voices of impacted people are some of the most important when trying to make improvements to social justice in a variety of contexts, including, criminal policing, housing, and health care. After all, the people with on the ground experience know what is likely to truly effectuate change in their community, and what is not. Yet, such lived experience is also often significantly lacking and undermined in law and policy. People with lived experience tend to be seen as both community experts with valuable knowledge, as well as non-experts with little valuable knowledge. This Article explores the lived experience with …


Digital Habit Evidence, Andrew Guthrie Ferguson Jan 2023

Digital Habit Evidence, Andrew Guthrie Ferguson

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

This Article explores how “habit evidence” will become a catalyst for a new form of digital proof based on the explosive growth of smart homes, smart cars, smart devices, and the Internet of Things. Habit evidence is the rule that certain sorts of semiautomatic, regularized responses to particular stimuli are trustworthy and thus admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence (“FRE”) 406 “Habit; Routine Practice” and state equivalents.

While well established since the common law, “habit” has made only an inconsistent appearance in reported cases and has been underutilized in trial practice. But intriguingly, once applied to the world of …


Of Bass Notes And Base Rates: Avoiding Mistaken Inferences About Copying, Christopher Buccafusco, Rebecca Tushnet Jan 2023

Of Bass Notes And Base Rates: Avoiding Mistaken Inferences About Copying, Christopher Buccafusco, Rebecca Tushnet

Faculty Scholarship

To prove copyright infringement, a plaintiff must convince a jury that the defendant copied from the plaintiff’s work rather than independently creating it. To prove copying, especially cases involving music, it’s common for plaintiffs and their experts to argue that the similarities between the parties’ creative works are so great that it is simply implausible that the defendant’s work was created without copying from the plaintiff’s work. Unfortunately, in its present form, the argument is mathematically illiterate: It assumes, without any underlying evidence, that the experts know or could reasonably estimate how likely it is that a song with similarity …


Confrontation, The Legacy Of Crawford, And Important Unanswered Questions, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman Jan 2023

Confrontation, The Legacy Of Crawford, And Important Unanswered Questions, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This is a short piece for the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform as part of its 2024 Symposium on “Crawford at 20: Reforming the Confrontation Clause.” The piece's purpose is to highlight certain important questions left unanswered by Crawford v. Washington and subsequent confrontation cases.


Shifting The Male Gaze Of Evidence, Teneille R. Brown Jan 2023

Shifting The Male Gaze Of Evidence, Teneille R. Brown

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

In this article I target the altar at which many of us worship—the pursuit of rationality. For evidence purposes, rationality is defined as decisions that are reasonable, objective, inductive, and free from the bias of emotion. This view of rationality is deeply embedded in evidence scholarship and practice. It is also reflected in evidence rules like FRE 403, which treat emotional testimony as unfairly prejudicial simply because it is emotional. The anti-emotion view of rationality reflects the thinking of Western philosophical giants. Plato, Hobbes, Descartes, and Bacon all thought that men should strive for rationality by suppressing their emotions, because …