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Full-Text Articles in Law

The (Mis)Application Of Rule 404(B) Heuristics, Dora W. Klein Apr 2018

The (Mis)Application Of Rule 404(B) Heuristics, Dora W. Klein

Faculty Articles

In all of the federal circuit courts of appeals, application of Rule 404(b) of the Federal Rules of Evidence has been distorted by judicially-created "tests" that, while intended to assist trial courts in properly admitting or excluding evidence, do not actually test for the kind of evidence prohibited by this rule. Rule 404(b) prohibits evidence of "crimes, wrongs, or other acts" if the purpose for admitting the evidence is to prove action in accordance with a character trait. This evidence is commonly referred to as "propensity" evidence, or "once a drug dealer, always a drug dealer" evidence.

This Article examines …


Exemplary And Exceptional Confusion Under The Federal Rules Of Evidence, Dora W. Klein Jan 2017

Exemplary And Exceptional Confusion Under The Federal Rules Of Evidence, Dora W. Klein

Faculty Articles

This Article proposes that the final provisions of Rule 407 and 411, which provide a list of examples of permitted purposes for which a court may admit evidence, are asking for trouble--specifically, the trouble that courts will interpret the list not as examples, but as a specially enumerated, exhaustive list of exceptions.


Our Court Masters, Chad J. Pomeroy Jan 2015

Our Court Masters, Chad J. Pomeroy

Faculty Articles

In 1995, Utah became the first state to pass a bill prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states and nations. Thereafter, in 2004, Utah voters approved a ballot referendum on Utah Constitutional Amendment 3, which defined marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman and which restricted unmarried civil unions. This referendum was approved by 65.9% of those who voted on it. That is, 593,297 Utah citizens (of the approximately 900,000 who voted) voted to approve the amendment.

Then, in March of 2013, three couples filed suit in the United States District Court for …


Governmental Power Versus Individual Liberty, Vincent R. Johnson Jan 2015

Governmental Power Versus Individual Liberty, Vincent R. Johnson

Faculty Articles

Father, Son, and Constitution by Alexander Wohl is a major contribution to legal scholarship. This dual biography focuses on two public figures, each of whom played a leading role in addressing the most challenging legal questions of their day. The subjects of the book are Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark and his son Ramsey Clark, the most liberal attorney general in American history. The Clarks’ stories are told against a backdrop of the continuing American struggle to find the proper balance between governmental power and individual liberty.

The public careers of Tom and Ramsey Clark were largely sequential, but …


Father, Son, And Constitution: How Justice Tom Clark And Attorney General Ramsey Clark Shaped American Democracy, By Alexander Wohl (Book Review), Vincent R. Johnson Jan 2014

Father, Son, And Constitution: How Justice Tom Clark And Attorney General Ramsey Clark Shaped American Democracy, By Alexander Wohl (Book Review), Vincent R. Johnson

Faculty Articles

In Father, Son, and Constitution, Alexander Wohl brings to life two major figures of American law: Tom C. Clark and his son, Ramsey Clark. The story focuses primarily on the middle third of the twentieth century and the many heated constitutional challenges that arose during that era.

With an engaging literary style, Wohl perceptively examines not merely the lives and careers of Tom and Ramsey Clark, but the key roles they played in the issues of their day. The story proceeds from Pearl Harbor and World War II, to the Cold War, to desegregation, to the problems that beset President …


Reinventing The Wheel: Constructing Ethical Approaches To State Indigent Legal Defense Systems, Bill Piatt Jan 2012

Reinventing The Wheel: Constructing Ethical Approaches To State Indigent Legal Defense Systems, Bill Piatt

Faculty Articles

Indigent defense remains in a state of crisis. Almost fifty years after the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, lack of funding, favoritism, inefficiency, and poorly-designed indigent-defense plans plague the system, which can best be characterized as being in a state of disrepair. As a result, accused indigent individuals, a vulnerable population, suffer from a lack of adequate representation. This Article reviews the history and implementation of various indigent-defense systems and examines the ethical issues arising from their operation. It offers a guide to reconstructing a model system, including the suggestion that attorneys first recommit the profession to …


The Mentally Disordered Criminal Defendant At The Supreme Court: A Decade In Review, Dora W. Klein Jan 2012

The Mentally Disordered Criminal Defendant At The Supreme Court: A Decade In Review, Dora W. Klein

Faculty Articles

In the past decade, at least eight cases involving issues at the intersection of criminal law and clinical psychology have reached the United States Supreme Court. Of particular interest are those cases which concern three general topics: the culpability of juvenile offenders; mental states and the criminal process, including the presentation of mental disorder evidence, competency to stand trial, and competency to be executed; and the preventive detention of convicted sex offenders.

Of these eight cases, two cases cases adopted categorical exclusions from certain kinds of punishment, three involved questions about mental states (and in two of these the Court …


Rehabilitating Mental Disorder Evidence After Clark C. Arizona: Of Burdens, Presumptions, And The Rights To Raise Reasonable Doubt, Dora W. Klein Jan 2010

Rehabilitating Mental Disorder Evidence After Clark C. Arizona: Of Burdens, Presumptions, And The Rights To Raise Reasonable Doubt, Dora W. Klein

Faculty Articles

The right not to be found guilty of a crime absent proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a powerful right. It can be undermined, however, by rules that at first seem to have little to do with reasonable doubt or with burdens of proof.

In the recent case of Clark v. Arizona, the Supreme Court considered whether states may enact rules that categorically prohibit criminal defendants from offering mental disorder evidence for the purpose of raising reasonable doubt regarding the mens rea element of a charged offense. In Arizona law, mental disorder evidence is inadmissible for the purpose of disproving …


Unreasonable: Involuntary Medications, Incompetent Criminal Defendants, And The Fourth Amendment, Dora W. Klein Jan 2009

Unreasonable: Involuntary Medications, Incompetent Criminal Defendants, And The Fourth Amendment, Dora W. Klein

Faculty Articles

Involuntary medical treatment potentially compromises several individual constitutional interests. However, like all individual constitutional rights, rights under both the Due Process Clause and the Fourth Amendment can be outweighed by sufficiently important governmental interests.

To determine whether involuntary medical treatment violates the Due Process Clause, courts ask whether the government’s interest that the treatment advances is important enough to justify compromising the individual’s interest in making an autonomous decision to refuse medical treatment. Involuntary treatment must also be medically appropriate, but any physical harms that the treatment might cause are not balanced directly against the government’s interest.

When the government …


The Chinese Takings Law From A Comparative Perspective, Chenglin Liu Jan 2008

The Chinese Takings Law From A Comparative Perspective, Chenglin Liu

Faculty Articles

When acquiring private property, governments may exercise one of three options: confiscation, consensual exchange, or eminent domain. Under the first approach, the government can confiscate private land without seeking consent from private owners and without paying compensation to them. Alternatively, under the consensual exchange approach, the government can only acquire private property through arm’s-length negotiations in an open market. It requires the government to obtain consent from private owners and pay mutually agreed purchase prices, determined by both the government as a willing buyer and private owners as willing sellers. The third approach is through eminent domain, which denotes when …


The Political Question Doctrine And Civil Liability For Contracting Companies On The “Battlefield”, Jeffrey F. Addicott Jan 2008

The Political Question Doctrine And Civil Liability For Contracting Companies On The “Battlefield”, Jeffrey F. Addicott

Faculty Articles

While the use of civilian contractors to support military operations is not a new phenomenon, their use in the War on Terror is unprecedented. The numbers of civilian contractors in active combat zones and the specific activities they perform have significant legal and policy ramifications.

Recent case law associated with civil complaints brought in American courts against contracting companies operating in battlefield environments has given rise to a “political question” doctrine. This doctrine excludes from judicial review all controversies involving policy choices and other value determinations that the Constitution reserves to the Congress and the Executive for resolution.

Due to …


The Ethical Foundations Of American Judicial Independence, Vincent R. Johnson Jan 2002

The Ethical Foundations Of American Judicial Independence, Vincent R. Johnson

Faculty Articles

Most lawyers and many citizens could recall the federal constitutional basis for judicial independence. Article III of the United States Constitution mandates that positions be filled through appointment by the President and confirmation by the Senate. That formidable selection process almost invariably ensures that federal judges are intelligent, well educated, and professionally experienced. Those qualities are conducive to judicial independence.

Additionally, federal judges enjoy the following constitutional guarantees: life tenure during good behavior, non-reducible compensation, and removal only through impeachment. These protections free federal judges from the need to behave in politically advantageous ways in order to keep their positions. …


Constitutional Law And The Myth Of The Great Judge, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1993

Constitutional Law And The Myth Of The Great Judge, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

One of the enduring myths of American history, including constitutional history, is that of the “Great Man” or “Great Woman.” The idea is that, to understand the history of America, one needs to understand the impact made by Great Men and Women whose actions affected the course of history. In political history, one assays the development of the United States through the lives of great Americans, from the “Founders” to Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy. Similarly, in constitutional history, the story is told through key figures, the “Great Judges,” from John Marshall to Oliver Wendell Holmes to Earl Warren. …


Evidence Of Religion And The Religion Of Evidence, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1992

Evidence Of Religion And The Religion Of Evidence, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

When testimony about the religiosity of a victim is elicited, a jury will likely become aware of the religious affiliation of the victim. Any revelation to a jury of the religiosity of a victim can be an aid to the jury in assessing the punishment to be given to the defendant, since being religious and talking with people about religion is deemed a communal good. However, prescribing a harsher punishment to a defendant because of the religious affiliation of a victim is a form of religious discrimination which is unconstitutional. In light of this inherent difficulty of evidence of religion, …


Up In Smoke: Fourth Amendment Rights And The Burger Court, Gerald S. Reamey Jan 1992

Up In Smoke: Fourth Amendment Rights And The Burger Court, Gerald S. Reamey

Faculty Articles

When Warren Burger was appointed Chief Justice in 1969, he was expected to lead the Supreme Court away from its liberal, value-laden approach to constitutional adjudication. Indeed, a retrospective of the court’s work during the seventeen years Warren Burger served as Chief Justice reveals the expected conservative trend of the Chief Justice himself, as well as the Supreme Court generally. It does not, however, reflect wholesale rejection of the most controversial civil liberties decisions rendered by the Warren Court. It is also unclear that Chief Justice Burger was responsible for the Court’s retrenchment on civil liberties where it did occur. …


On The Road Of Good Intentions: Justice Brennan And The Religion Clauses, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1991

On The Road Of Good Intentions: Justice Brennan And The Religion Clauses, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

Associate Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan took the oath of office on October 16, 1956. At the time of Justice Brennan’s appointment to the Supreme Court, the Court had decided only a few cases involving the religion clauses of the first amendment, and judicial interpretation of the religion clauses had been sparing.

In the thirty-four years of Justice Brennan’s tenure, the Court worked several revolutions in religion clause jurisprudence—revolutions guided by a sense of the needs of a changing society. Justice Brennan was one of several architects of a new order in establishment clause interpretation, and was the architect …


The Declaration Of The Rights Of Man And Of Citizens Of 1789, The Reign Of Terror, And The Revolutionary Tribunal Of Paris, Vincent R. Johnson Jan 1990

The Declaration Of The Rights Of Man And Of Citizens Of 1789, The Reign Of Terror, And The Revolutionary Tribunal Of Paris, Vincent R. Johnson

Faculty Articles

Recently, Americans have been engaged in an effort to properly commemorate the bicentennial of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. If one is serious about that endeavor, it may be profitable to focus on the other bicentennial being celebrated this year in France. The early days of the French and American republics were intertwined, and it would be erroneous to think that the developments which then took place in the two countries can now fully be understood in isolation.

A number of legal aspects of the French Revolution are especially relevant to the American experience, therefore worth consideration. …


Toward Domestic Recognition Of A Human Right To Language, Bill Piatt Jan 1988

Toward Domestic Recognition Of A Human Right To Language, Bill Piatt

Faculty Articles

There is no clearly defined “right to language” in the United States. Yet, there do exist sources of such a right. For example, a constitutionally protected right to express oneself or receive communications in a language other than English is supported by a number of federal court decisions. Further, there may be a first amendment right to receive broadcast programming in languages other than English, and some federal statutes even provide a guarantee of the exercise of language rights in a number of public and civic contexts.

In spite of these sources for a right to language, it is an …


The Permissible Scope Of Texas Automobile Inventory Searches In The Aftermath Of Colorado V. Bertine: A Talisman Is Created, Gerald S. Reamey, Michael H. Bassett, John A. Molchan Jan 1987

The Permissible Scope Of Texas Automobile Inventory Searches In The Aftermath Of Colorado V. Bertine: A Talisman Is Created, Gerald S. Reamey, Michael H. Bassett, John A. Molchan

Faculty Articles

The fourth amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. The warrant and probable cause requirements advance this constitutionally implied privacy right. However, with respect to automobile searches, strict adherence to these safeguards has been eschewed in favor of more flexible, and arguably less protective, versions of reasonableness.

In 1981, in Gill v. State, the Texas court addressed the permissible scope of inventory searches, holding that the police may not search the locked trunk of an automobile while conducting an inventory search. Despite the simplicity of the Gill rule, a number of recent cases, while …


Mueller V. Allen: A Fairer Approach To The Establishment Clause, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1984

Mueller V. Allen: A Fairer Approach To The Establishment Clause, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

The decision upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Mueller v. Allen helds a new dawn in establishment clause jurisprudence. This five-to-four decision, written for the majority by Justice Rehnquist, upheld a Minnesota statute permitting taxpayers to deduct the tuition, textbook, transportation, and instructional material expenses of their children when calculating their state tax liability. By this decision, the Court has cleared the way for an accommodation between church and state that more equitably recognizes the principles and values that the religion clauses were intended to protect.

Following a review of the history of the establishment clause, tuition tax …


The Younger Abstention: Primary State Jurisdiction Over Law Enforcement, David A. Dittfurth Jan 1979

The Younger Abstention: Primary State Jurisdiction Over Law Enforcement, David A. Dittfurth

Faculty Articles

The abstention doctrines have received much attention by the United States Supreme Court over the last decade. These doctrines are represented by judicial rules that require federal trial courts, in appropriate circumstances, to abstain from exercising subject matter jurisdiction although they clearly have the power to do so. As a result, the particular case is shunted back into a state judicial system for determination.

The most confusing of these doctrines is the one arising in major part from Younger v. Harris. In short, this case stands for the rule that, once a state criminal prosecution has been initiated, a federal …