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Evidence

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Evidence

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 …


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 …


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.


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 …


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 …


Theorizing Corroboration, Maggie Wittlin Jan 2023

Theorizing Corroboration, Maggie Wittlin

Faculty Scholarship

A child makes an out-of-court statement accusing an adult of abuse. That statement is important proof, but it also presents serious reliability concerns. When deciding whether it is sufficiently reliable to be admitted, should a court consider whether the child’s statement is corroborated—whether, for example, there is medical evidence of abuse? More broadly, should courts consider corroboration when deciding whether evidence is reliable enough to be admitted at trial? Judges, rule-makers, and scholars have taken significantly divergent approaches to this question and come to different conclusions.

This Article argues that there is a key problem with using corroboration to evaluate …


The Future Scope Of The Character Evidence Prohibition: The Contextual Statutory Construction Argument That Could Finally Force The Policy Discussion, Paul F. Rothstein, Edward J. Imwinkelried Jan 2023

The Future Scope Of The Character Evidence Prohibition: The Contextual Statutory Construction Argument That Could Finally Force The Policy Discussion, Paul F. Rothstein, Edward J. Imwinkelried

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The general prohibition of character evidence is one of the most important doctrines in American Evidence law. Since the Supreme Court has held that the Eighth Amendment forbids status offenses in adult prosecutions, the doctrine has constitutional overtones. Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b) applies the prohibition to evidence of an accused’s other crimes and wrongs. Since such evidence can be inflammatory and the Rule’s limits sometimes confusing, Rule 404(b) generates more published opinions than any other provision of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Although the prohibition extends beyond other crimes, most of the controversy swirls around the Rule’s application to …


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.


Tragedies Of The Cultural Commons, Etienne C. Toussaint Dec 2022

Tragedies Of The Cultural Commons, Etienne C. Toussaint

Faculty Publications

In the United States, Black cultural expressions of democratic life that operate within specific historical-local contexts, yet reflect a shared set of sociocultural mores, have been historically crowded out of the law and policymaking process. Instead of democratic cultural discourse occurring within an open and neutral marketplace of ideas, the discursive production and consumption of democratic culture in American politics has been rivalrous. Such rivalry too often enables dominant White supremacist cultural beliefs, values, and practices to exercise their hegemony upon law’s production and meaning. The result has been tragedy for politically disempowered and socioeconomically excluded communities.

This Article uses …


#Wetoo, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan Apr 2022

#Wetoo, Kimberly Kessler Ferzan

All Faculty Scholarship

The #MeToo movement has caused a widespread cultural reckoning over sexual violence, abuse, and harassment. “Me too” was meant to express and symbolize that each individual victim was not alone in their experiences of sexual harm; they added their voice to others who had faced similar injustices. But viewing the #MeToo movement as a collection of singular voices fails to appreciate that the cases that filled our popular discourse were not cases of individual victims coming forward. Rather, case after case involved multiple victims, typically women, accusing single perpetrators. Victims were believed because there was both safety and strength in …


The Living Rules Of Evidence, G. Alexander Nunn Mar 2022

The Living Rules Of Evidence, G. Alexander Nunn

Faculty Scholarship

The jurisprudential evolution of evidence law is dead. At least, that’s what we’re expected to believe. Ushered in on the wings of a growing positivist movement, the enactment of the Federal Rules of Evidence purported to quell judicial authority over evidence law. Instead, committees, conferences, and members of Congress would regulate any change to our evidentiary regime, thereby capturing the evolution of evidence law in a single, transparent code.

The codification of evidence law, though, has proven problematic. The arrival of the Federal Rules of Evidence has given rise to a historically anomalous era of relative stagnation in the doctrinal …


Liberty And Justice For All?: A Pathfinder On The Use Of Lyrics As Evidence In Civil And Criminal Trial, Stephanie Washington Jan 2022

Liberty And Justice For All?: A Pathfinder On The Use Of Lyrics As Evidence In Civil And Criminal Trial, Stephanie Washington

Upper Level Writing Requirement Research Papers

No abstract provided.


[Marked Confidential]: Negative Externalities Of Discovery Secrecy, Gustavo Ribeiro Jan 2022

[Marked Confidential]: Negative Externalities Of Discovery Secrecy, Gustavo Ribeiro

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

Current unprecedented levels of secrecy in civil discovery create significant negative externalities by preventing our adversary system from measuring up to the broad public goals that justify it. First, excessive discovery secrecy undermines the courts and the public’s ability to correct distortions of the truth-seeking function of the adversary system caused by excessive partisanship and confirmation bias. Second, it weakens the adversary system’s promotion of liberal democratic values, such as transparency and self-government. Third, it threatens the adversary system’s role in upholding human dignity, understood either as respect or status. To correct the negative externalities caused by excessive discovery secrecy, …


The Prosecutor In The Mirror: Conviction Integrity Units And Brady Claims, Lissa Griffin, Daisy Mason Jan 2022

The Prosecutor In The Mirror: Conviction Integrity Units And Brady Claims, Lissa Griffin, Daisy Mason

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

In Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court held that a prosecutor has a due process obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence that is material to guilt or punishment. The failure to fulfill this duty is particularly insidious because it bears directly on both whether an innocent defendant may have been convicted as well as on whether the adjudicatory process was fair. The failure to disclose exculpatory evidence has been characterized as “epidemic” and has been documented to have made a major, outsized contribution in cases that resulted in exonerations. It is not surprising, then, that conviction integrity units in prosecutor’s offices …


Criminal Justice Secrets, Meghan J. Ryan Jan 2022

Criminal Justice Secrets, Meghan J. Ryan

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

The American criminal justice system is cloaked in secrecy. The government employs covert surveillance operations. Grand-jury proceedings are hidden from public view. Prosecutors engage in closed-door plea-bargaining and bury exculpatory evidence. Juries convict defendants on secret evidence. Jury deliberations are a black box. And jails and prisons implement clandestine punishment practices. Although there are some justifications for this secrecy, the ubiquitous nature of it is contrary to this nation’s Founders’ steadfast belief in the transparency of criminal justice proceedings. Further, the pervasiveness of secrecy within today’s criminal justice system raises serious constitutional concerns. The accumulation of secrecy and the aggregation …


The Entity Attorney-Client Privilege Meets The Twenty-First Century: Rethinking Functional Equivalent Analysis In The Time Of A Nonemployee Workforce., Grace M. Giesel Jan 2022

The Entity Attorney-Client Privilege Meets The Twenty-First Century: Rethinking Functional Equivalent Analysis In The Time Of A Nonemployee Workforce., Grace M. Giesel

Faculty Scholarship

Courts have struggled with whether an entity’s attorney-client privilege can protect communications between the entity’s lawyer and a nonemployee who has information the entity’s lawyer needs to best advise the entity. The nonemployee might be a former employee. But increasingly in recent times, the nonemployee is an individual who was never an entity employee. Corporations and other entities have incorporated nonemployees in their economic enterprises in all sorts of roles—roles employees may have held in the past. Many courts have accepted that the privilege can apply to communications involving former employees.

When faced with nonemployees who are not former employees, …


Law, Fact, And Procedural Justice, G. Alexander Nunn Aug 2021

Law, Fact, And Procedural Justice, G. Alexander Nunn

Faculty Scholarship

The distinction between questions of law and questions of fact is deceptively complex. Although any first-year law student could properly classify those issues that fall at the polar ends of the law-fact continuum, the Supreme Court has itself acknowledged that the exact dividing line between law and fact—the point where legal inquiries end and factual ones begin—is “slippery,” “elusive,” and “vexing.” But identifying that line is crucially important. Whether an issue is deemed a question of law or a question of fact often influences the appointment of a courtroom decision maker, the scope of appellate review, the administration of certain …


Servotronics, Inc. V. Rolls-Royce Plc And The Boeing Company: Brief Of Professor Yanbai Andrea Wang As Amicus Curiae In Support Of Neither Party, Yanbai Andrea Wang, Michael H. Mcginley May 2021

Servotronics, Inc. V. Rolls-Royce Plc And The Boeing Company: Brief Of Professor Yanbai Andrea Wang As Amicus Curiae In Support Of Neither Party, Yanbai Andrea Wang, Michael H. Mcginley

All Faculty Scholarship

Rather than expressing a view on the issues raised and ably briefed by the parties, amicus submits this brief to inform the Court of the scholarly research she has conducted regarding Section 1782 proceedings since this Court’s seminal decision in Intel. As Section 1782 applications have proliferated, the lower courts have struggled to apply the Intel factors as this Court had envisioned. Especially in the context of Section 1782 applications submitted by parties to an international proceeding (as opposed to those made by the international tribunal itself), lower courts have frequently found themselves unable to analyze and apply the …


Know Every Document And Piece Of Evidence In Your File, Rachel Brockl Jan 2021

Know Every Document And Piece Of Evidence In Your File, Rachel Brockl

Publications

Knowing every document and piece of evidence in your case file is imperative to competent preparation of your case. While this may sound obvious, many attorneys fail to follow this advisement to their own peril. The reasons for knowing your case file in and out are threefold: (1) you want to be the case master, (2) you do not want to be caught off-guard, and (3) your reputation is on the line.


Confrontation In The Age Of Plea Bargaining [Comments], William Ortman Jan 2021

Confrontation In The Age Of Plea Bargaining [Comments], William Ortman

Law Faculty Research Publications

No abstract provided.


The Functional Operation Of Workers’ Compensation Covid Presumptions, Michael C. Duff Jan 2021

The Functional Operation Of Workers’ Compensation Covid Presumptions, Michael C. Duff

All Faculty Scholarship

During 2020, a number of U.S. states implemented workers' compensation COVID-19 presumptions. This short informal paper defines and explains legal presumptions generally and then discusses the workers' compensation presumptions. The paper contends that at this juncture it is not clear whether states intended to enact "Thayer-Wigmore" or "Morgan" presumptions; but if they operate as Thayer-Wigmore presumptions they will not do workers' compensation claimants much good in the context of non-jury proceedings presided over by administrative law judges.


The Euclid Proviso, Ezra Rosser Jan 2021

The Euclid Proviso, Ezra Rosser

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

This Article argues that the Euclid Proviso, which allows regional concerns to trump local zoning when required by the general welfare, should play a larger role in zoning's second century. Traditional zoning operates to severely limit the construction of additional housing. This locks in the advantages of homeowners but at tremendous cost, primarily in the form of unaffordable housing, to those who would like to join the community. State preemption of local zoning defies traditional categorization; it is at once both radically destabilizing and market-responsive. But, given the ways in which zoning is a foundational part of the racial and …


Power And Statistical Significance In Securities Fraud Litigation, Jill E. Fisch, Jonah B. Gelbach Jan 2021

Power And Statistical Significance In Securities Fraud Litigation, Jill E. Fisch, Jonah B. Gelbach

All Faculty Scholarship

Event studies, a half-century-old approach to measuring the effect of events on stock prices, are now ubiquitous in securities fraud litigation. In determining whether the event study demonstrates a price effect, expert witnesses typically base their conclusion on whether the results are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level, a threshold that is drawn from the academic literature. As a positive matter, this represents a disconnect with legal standards of proof. As a normative matter, it may reduce enforcement of fraud claims because litigation event studies typically involve quite low statistical power even for large-scale frauds.

This paper, written for …


Exposing Police Misconduct In Pre-Trial Criminal Proceedings, Anjelica Hendricks Jan 2021

Exposing Police Misconduct In Pre-Trial Criminal Proceedings, Anjelica Hendricks

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article presents a unique argument: police misconduct records should be accessible and applicable for pre-trial criminal proceedings. Unfortunately, the existing narrative on the value of police misconduct records is narrow because it exclusively considers how these records can be used to impeach officer credibility at trial. This focus is limiting for several reasons. First, it addresses too few defendants, since fewer than 3% of criminal cases make it to trial. Second, it overlooks misconduct records not directly addressing credibility—such as records demonstrating paperwork deficiencies, failures to appear in court, and “mistakes” that upon examination are patterns of abuse. Finally, …


Professor Jeffrey Bellin: Reflections On The Fall 2020 Semester, Jeffrey Bellin Oct 2020

Professor Jeffrey Bellin: Reflections On The Fall 2020 Semester, Jeffrey Bellin

Law School Personal Reflections on COVID-19

No abstract provided.


Evidence, Arrest Circumstances, And Felony Cocaine Case Processing, Jacqueline G. Lee, Alexander Testa Apr 2020

Evidence, Arrest Circumstances, And Felony Cocaine Case Processing, Jacqueline G. Lee, Alexander Testa

Criminal Justice Faculty Publications and Presentations

Case evidence and situational arrest characteristics are widely speculated to influence courtroom actor decisions, yet such measures are infrequently included in research. Using new data on felony cocaine cases from an urban county in a Southern non-guideline state, this study examines how physical evidence and arrest circumstances affect three stages of case processing: initial charge type, charge reduction, and sentence length. The influence of evidence appeared strongest at the early stage when prosecutors chose the appropriate charge, though certain evidentiary and arrest measures continued to influence later decisions. Charge reductions were driven mostly by legal factors, and while guilt should …


Confronting Memory Loss, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman Feb 2020

Confronting Memory Loss, Paul F. Rothstein, Ronald J. Coleman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment grants “the accused” in “all criminal prosecutions” a right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” A particular problem occurs when there is a gap in time between the testimony that is offered, and the cross-examination of it, as where, pursuant to a hearsay exception or exemption, evidence of a current witness’s prior statement is offered and for some intervening reason her current memory is impaired. Does this fatally affect the opportunity to “confront” the witness? The Supreme Court has, to date, left unclear the extent to which a memory-impaired witness can …


Deciding, ‘What Happened?’ When We Don’T Really Know: Finding Theoretical Grounding For Legitimate Judicial Fact-Finding, Nayha Acharya Feb 2020

Deciding, ‘What Happened?’ When We Don’T Really Know: Finding Theoretical Grounding For Legitimate Judicial Fact-Finding, Nayha Acharya

Articles, Book Chapters, & Popular Press

The crucial question for many legal disputes is “what happened,”? and there is often no easy answer. Fact-finding is an uncertain endeavor and risk of inaccuracy is inevitable. As such, I ask, on what basis can we accept the legitimacy of judicial fact-findings. I conclude that acceptable factual determinations depend on adherence to a legitimate process of fact-finding. Adopting Jürgen Habermas’s insights, I offer a theoretical grounding for the acceptability of judicial fact-finding. The theory holds that legal processes must embody respect for legal subjects as equal and autonomous agents. This necessitates two procedural features. First, fact-finding processes must be …


The Fourth Amendment Inventory As A Check On Digital Searches, Laurent Sacharoff Jan 2020

The Fourth Amendment Inventory As A Check On Digital Searches, Laurent Sacharoff

Sturm College of Law: Faculty Scholarship

Police and federal agents generally must obtain a warrant to search the tens of thousands of devices they seize each year. But once they have a warrant, courts afford these officers broad leeway to search the entire device, every file and folder, all metadata and deleted data, even if in search of only one incriminating file. Courts avow great reverence for the privacy of personal information under the Fourth Amendment but then claim there is no way to limit where an officer might find the target files, or know where the suspect may have hidden them.

These courts have a …


Evidence, Rollie Thompson Jan 2020

Evidence, Rollie Thompson

Articles, Book Chapters, & Popular Press

“Evidence” is what, in our adversary system, the parties attempt to place before the neutral factfinder in order to prove their case (or disprove their opponent's case). We follow the principle of party-presentation: parties determine what specific items of evidence are offered for proof, while the impartial judge or decision maker will determine which items are “admissible” evidence, in accordance with principles of law. At the end of the trial or hearing, the fact-finder (jury, judge, tribunal, decision maker) will determine which of those admissible items of evidence are believed or not, in formulating “fact-guesses” or “findings of fact”.