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Full-Text Articles in Law

Law School News: Elisabeth D'Amelio Chosen As Class Of 2024 Graduate Student Commencement Speaker 5-14-24, Jordan J. Phelan May 2024

Law School News: Elisabeth D'Amelio Chosen As Class Of 2024 Graduate Student Commencement Speaker 5-14-24, Jordan J. Phelan

Life of the Law School (1993- )

No abstract provided.


Revolutionizing Access To Justice: The Role Of Ai-Powered Chatbots And Retrieval-Augmented Generation In Legal Self-Help, Ayyoub Ajmi Apr 2024

Revolutionizing Access To Justice: The Role Of Ai-Powered Chatbots And Retrieval-Augmented Generation In Legal Self-Help, Ayyoub Ajmi

Faculty Works

Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) present numerous opportunities to routinize and make the law more accessible to self-represented litigants, notably through AI chatbots employing natural language processing for conversational interactions. These chatbots exhibit legal reasoning abilities without explicit training on legal-specific datasets. However, they face challenges processing less common and more specific knowledge from their training data. Additionally, once trained, their static status makes them susceptible to knowledge obsolescence over time. This article explores the application of retrieval-augmented generation (RAG) to enhance chatbot accuracy, drawing insights from a real-world implementation developed for a court system to support self-help litigants.


Self-Defense And Political Rage, Erin L. Sheley Jan 2024

Self-Defense And Political Rage, Erin L. Sheley

Faculty Scholarship

This Article considers how American political polarization and the substantive issues driving it raise unique challenges for adjudicating self-defense claims in contexts of political protest. We live in an age where roughly a quarter of the population believes it is at least sometimes justifiable to use violence in defense of political positions, making political partisans somewhat more likely to pose a genuine threat of bodily harm to opponents. Furthermore, the psychological literature shows that people are more likely to perceive threats from people with whom they politically disagree and that juries tend to evaluate reasonableness claims according to their own …


Rethinking Antebellum Bankruptcy, Rafael I. Pardo Jan 2024

Rethinking Antebellum Bankruptcy, Rafael I. Pardo

Scholarship@WashULaw

Bankruptcy law has been repeatedly reinvented over time in response to changing circumstances. The Bankruptcy Act of 1841—passed by Congress to address the financial ruin caused by the Panic of 1837—constituted a revolutionary break from its immediate predecessor, the Bankruptcy Act of 1800, which was the nation’s first bankruptcy statute. Although Congress repealed the 1841 Act in 1843, the legislation lasted significantly longer than recognized by scholars. The repeal legislation permitted pending bankruptcy cases to be finally resolved pursuant to the Act’s terms. Because debtors flooded the judicially understaffed 1841 Act system with over 46,000 cases, the Act’s administration continued …


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 …


Law Library Blog (March 2023): Legal Beagle's Blog Archive, Roger Williams University School Of Law Mar 2023

Law Library Blog (March 2023): Legal Beagle's Blog Archive, Roger Williams University School Of Law

Law Library Newsletters/Blog

No abstract provided.


Sanitation: Reducing The Administrative State’S Control Over Public Health, Lauren R. Roth Jan 2023

Sanitation: Reducing The Administrative State’S Control Over Public Health, Lauren R. Roth

Scholarly Works

On April 18, 2022, in Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc. v. Biden, United States District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle vacated the mask mandate issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Following a framework laid out in other decisions restricting CDC actions in response to COVID-19, the court found that the agency lacked statutory authority to protect the public from the virus by requiring mask wearing during travel and at transit hubs because Congress did not intend such a broad grant of power. Countering decades of public health jurisprudence, the federal district court failed to defer to experts and …


A Wrong Turn With The Rights Of Nature Movement, Noah M. Sachs Jan 2023

A Wrong Turn With The Rights Of Nature Movement, Noah M. Sachs

Law Faculty Publications

Environmentalists have long dreamed of granting enforceable legal rights to nature, and their vision has recently become reality. Governments in the United States and abroad are enacting Rights of Nature laws, and many scholars have championed this burgeoning movement as one of the best hopes for preserving the environment.

Legal rights for nature seem visionary, but policymakers and scholars are overlooking considerable problems with this approach. This Article spotlights these problems, including the vague and incoherent content of nature’s rights, the difficulty of defining the boundaries of natural entities, the absence of limiting principles for the rights, and the legislation’s …


Changemakers: Elevating Conversations Around Indigenous Peoples' Rights, Roger Williams University School Of Law Jan 2023

Changemakers: Elevating Conversations Around Indigenous Peoples' Rights, Roger Williams University School Of Law

Life of the Law School (1993- )

No abstract provided.


There Is No Such Thing As Circuit Law, Thomas B. Bennett Jan 2023

There Is No Such Thing As Circuit Law, Thomas B. Bennett

Faculty Publications

Lawyers and judges often talk about “the law of the circuit,” meaning the set of legal rules that apply within a particular federal judicial circuit. Seasoned practitioners are steeped in circuit law, it is said. Some courts have imagined that they confront a choice between applying the law of one circuit or another. In its strong form, this idea of circuit law implies that each circuit creates and interprets its own body of substantive law that is uniquely applicable to disputes that arise within the circuit’s borders.

This article argues that the notion of circuit law is nonsensical and undesirable …


Views Of The Irish Judiciary On Technology In Courts: Results Of A Survey, Brian M. Barry Dr, Rónán Kennedy Dr Jan 2023

Views Of The Irish Judiciary On Technology In Courts: Results Of A Survey, Brian M. Barry Dr, Rónán Kennedy Dr

Articles

Technology continues to transform how judges perform their functions, both in Ireland and elsewhere. This article reports the results of a survey of Irish judges on their use of technology in their role, their attitudes towards technology, and their views on how it impacts on the judicial function. The survey, part of a global survey, found that Irish judges habitually used digital technologies, and were broadly satisfied with the technology available in chambers, but less so with what was provided in courtrooms. Although generally happy to embrace change, the majority of respondents were concerned with, and did not prefer, online …


Reviewing Mixed Questions Of Fact And Law In Administrative Adjudications: Why Courts Should Move To “Substantially Established Facts”, Gwendolyn Savitz Jan 2023

Reviewing Mixed Questions Of Fact And Law In Administrative Adjudications: Why Courts Should Move To “Substantially Established Facts”, Gwendolyn Savitz

Articles, Chapters in Books and Other Contributions to Scholarly Works

Courts are inconsistent in how they review mixed questions of fact and law in administrative adjudications. Many courts simply and unquestioningly review the entire mixed issue using only substantial evidence review. This grants extreme and unquestioning deference to any legal interpretation used by the agency, far more than would be available to it under the increasingly besieged Chevron doctrine, despite the fact that the adjudications being reviewed in this manner generally would not even be entitled to Chevron deference if the legal component of the mixed question were analyzed separately. Courts should therefore analyze the different components of a mixed …


Constitutionalism Today: The Prospects Of The European Constituional Community, Susanne Baer, Kriszta Kovacs, Maya Vogel Jan 2023

Constitutionalism Today: The Prospects Of The European Constituional Community, Susanne Baer, Kriszta Kovacs, Maya Vogel

Book Chapters

In the late 1940s a consensus emerged: a post-World War II, post-colonial, post-authoritarian, grand consensus in Europe and beyond. Dignity, liberty, and equality should not merely be promises on paper or an elitist privilege for the few, and representative democracy should be the way to run societies. This consensus certainly gave birth to a variety of legal regimes, but it also defined a baseline for the political systems we call constitutional democracies: first, power should be distributed to parliament and representative government via fair elections that ensure equal voting rights and a realistic option of a peaceful change of government …


Race-Ing Antitrust, I. Bennett Capers, Gregory Day Jan 2023

Race-Ing Antitrust, I. Bennett Capers, Gregory Day

Faculty Scholarship

Antitrust law has a race problem. To spot an antitrust violation, courts inquire into whether an act has degraded consumer welfare. Since anticompetitive practices are often assumed to enhance consumer welfare, antitrust offenses are rarely found. Key to this framework is that antitrust treats all consumers monolithically; that consumers are differently situated, especially along lines of race, simply is ignored.

We argue that antitrust law must disaggregate the term “consumer” to include those who disproportionately suffer from anticompetitive practices via a community welfare standard. As a starting point, we demonstrate that anticompetitive conduct has specifically been used as a tool …


Commentary: Dan Mandelker—A Land-Use Legacy Unlike Any Other, Patricia E. Salkin Jan 2023

Commentary: Dan Mandelker—A Land-Use Legacy Unlike Any Other, Patricia E. Salkin

Scholarly Works

It is an honor to share thoughts about the importance of Professor Daniel Mandelker’s legacy to the field of land-use and zoning law. The word “legacy” means, among other things, “something that is part of your history or that remains from an earlier time.” At ninety-two, he was the longest actively teaching land use law professor in the United States. His academic career began in 1949 when he was appointed an Assistant Professor at Drake Law School, with relatively short stints at the University of Indiana Law School and Columbia Law School, followed by his appointment at Washington University School …


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 …


Binding Hercules: A Proposal For Bench Trials, Maggie Wittlin Jan 2023

Binding Hercules: A Proposal For Bench Trials, Maggie Wittlin

Faculty Scholarship

Should the Federal Rules of Evidence apply at bench trials? By their own terms, they apply, but courts have been reluctant to enforce them on themselves with the same rigor that they enforce them on juries. Scholarship on the issue has been mixed. Although McCormick deemed the rules of evidence "absurdly inappropriate" outside of the jury context, more recently, scholars have suggested that many reasons for imposing exclusionary rules on jurors also apply to judges. Yet practical problems persist. For one, once judge evaluate the admissibility of evidence, they can’t “unring the bell” and ignore evidence they've decided to exclude. …


Character Evidence As A Conduit For Implicit Bias, Hillel J. Bavli Jan 2023

Character Evidence As A Conduit For Implicit Bias, Hillel J. Bavli

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

The Federal Rules of Evidence purport to prohibit character evidence, or evidence regarding a defendant’s past bad acts or propensities offered to suggest that the defendant acted in accordance with a certain character trait on the occasion in question. However, courts regularly admit character evidence through an expanding set of legislative and judicial exceptions that have all but swallowed the rule. In the usual narrative, character evidence is problematic because jurors place excessive weight on it or punish the defendant for past behavior. Lawmakers rely on this narrative when they create exceptions. However, this account arguably misses a highly troublesome …


The Common Law As Statutory Backdrop, Anita S. Krishnakumar Dec 2022

The Common Law As Statutory Backdrop, Anita S. Krishnakumar

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Amidst the whirl of commentary about how the U.S. Supreme Court has become increasingly textualist and what precise shape modern textualism should take, the Court’s continued reliance on one decidedly atextual interpretive tool has gone largely unnoticed — the common law. Indeed, the common law has played an underappreciated, often dispositive, gap-filling role in statutory interpretation for decades, even as the textualist revolution has sidelined other non-text-focused interpretive tools. But despite the persistent role that the common law has played in statutory interpretation cases, the use of common law rules and definitions as an interpretive resource is surprisingly understudied and …


Justice For All: Demanding Accessibility For Underrepresented Communities In The Law: A Roger Williams University Law Review, Roger Williams University School Of Law Nov 2022

Justice For All: Demanding Accessibility For Underrepresented Communities In The Law: A Roger Williams University Law Review, Roger Williams University School Of Law

School of Law Conferences, Lectures & Events

No abstract provided.


Social Media Harms And The Common Law, Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer Oct 2022

Social Media Harms And The Common Law, Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This article finds fault with the judiciaries' failure to create a set of common law norms for social media wrongs. In cases concerning social media harms, the Supreme Court and lower courts have consistently adhered to traditional pre-social media principles, failing to use the power of the common law to create a kind of Internet Justice.

Part I of this article reviews social media history and explores how judicial decisions created a fertile bed for social media harm to blossom. Part II illustrates social media harms across several doctrinal disciplines and highlights judicial reluctance to embrace the realities of social …


How And Why Do Judges Cite Academics? Evidence From The Singapore High Court, Jerrold Soh, Yihan Goh Jul 2022

How And Why Do Judges Cite Academics? Evidence From The Singapore High Court, Jerrold Soh, Yihan Goh

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

Legal academics were once thought to be parasitic on the work of judges, so much so that citing academic work was said to weaken a judgment’s authority. Recent times have however seen prominent academics appointed to the highest courts, and judicial engagement with academic materials appears to have increased. In this light, this article empirically studies academic citation practices in the Singapore High Court. Using a dataset of 2,772 High Court judgments, we show that citation counts have indeed increased over time, even in this first-instance court. This increase was distributed across most legal areas, and was not limited to, …


Judges, Judging And Otherwise: Do We Ask Too Much Of State Court Judges - Or Not Enough?, Michael C. Pollack Jul 2022

Judges, Judging And Otherwise: Do We Ask Too Much Of State Court Judges - Or Not Enough?, Michael C. Pollack

Faculty Articles

Ask the average person to imagine what a judge does, and the answer will most likely be something right out of a courtroom from Law & Order — or Legally Blonde, Just Mercy, My Cousin Vinny, Kramer vs. Kramer, or any of the myriad law-themed movies and television shows. A judge is faced with a dispute brought by some parties and their lawyers and is charged with resolving it, whether it be a breach of contract, a tort action, a competing claim over property, a disagreement about the meaning of a statute, some accusation that someone …


Massachusetts Needs More Ex-Public Defenders As Judges, Sadiq Reza Jun 2022

Massachusetts Needs More Ex-Public Defenders As Judges, Sadiq Reza

Shorter Faculty Works

Four to one.

That is the ratio of former prosecutors to public defenders who sit on the seven-person Supreme Judicial Court, our highest state court.

On our 25-member Appeals Court, which sits one level below the SJC and is the final word in the vast majority of criminal cases, the count is worse: 16 to three. But two of those former public defenders also worked as prosecutors before reaching the bench; and two other appellate judges, while never formal prosecutors, worked in the Attorney General's Office (i.e., in other law enforcement roles).

This staggering imbalance of experience and outlook is …


The Character Of Jury Exclusion, Anna Offit May 2022

The Character Of Jury Exclusion, Anna Offit

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Encounters with the legal system are unevenly distributed throughout the American population, with Black and poor citizens targeted as disparate subjects of surveillance, arrest, and criminal conviction. At the same time, these encounters, as well as a stated belief in the unfairness of the legal system, are commonly viewed as legitimate grounds for excusal from jury service. This follows from an understanding of juror bias that assumes that people with negative experiences with legal actors—police and prosecutors, for example—will be less likely to trust and more likely to discount the contributions of those actors within the context of the jury …


Law School News: Welcome, Professor Bernard Freamon 04-20-2022, Michael M. Bowden Apr 2022

Law School News: Welcome, Professor Bernard Freamon 04-20-2022, Michael M. Bowden

Life of the Law School (1993- )

No abstract provided.


Judicial Impartiality In The Judicial Council Act 2019: Challenges And Opportunities, Brian M. Barry Dr Mar 2022

Judicial Impartiality In The Judicial Council Act 2019: Challenges And Opportunities, Brian M. Barry Dr

Articles

The Judicial Council is tasked with promoting and maintaining high standards of judicial conduct. The Judicial Council Act 2019 identifies judicial impartiality as a principle of judicial conduct that Irish judges are required to uphold and exemplify. Despite its ubiquity, judicial impartiality is perhaps under-explained and under-examined.

This article considers the nature and scope of judicial impartiality in contemporary Irish judging. It argues that the Judicial Council ought to take a proactive, multi-faceted approach to promote and maintain judicial impartiality, to address contemporary challenges that the Irish judiciary face including increasingly sophisticated empirical research into judicial performance, the proliferation of …


Achieving Equality Without A Constitution: Lessons From Israel For Queer Family Law, Laura T. Kessler Mar 2022

Achieving Equality Without A Constitution: Lessons From Israel For Queer Family Law, Laura T. Kessler

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

How might the United States reconcile conflicts between equality and religious freedom in the realm of family law? To answer this question, this chapter considers recent developments in family (personal status) law in Israel. While Israel may at first blush appear to be the last place that feminists and queer theorists should look for solutions to modern conflicts between democratic and religious values, this chapter argues that the Israeli experience has much to offer critical family scholars working to develop pluralistic legal approaches to family regulation. Israel is a country with a diverse population and unique political and legal context …


Japan’S Transnational War Reparations Litigation: An Empirical Analysis, Timothy Webster Jan 2022

Japan’S Transnational War Reparations Litigation: An Empirical Analysis, Timothy Webster

Faculty Scholarship

Negotiating war reparations is traditionally the province of the political branches, yet in recent decades, domestic courts have presided over hundreds of compensation lawsuits stemming from World War II. In the West, governments responded to these lawsuits with elaborate compensation mechanisms. In East Asia, by contrast, civil litigation continues apace. This Article analyzes eighty-three lawsuits filed in Japan, the epicenter of Asia’s World War II reparations movement. While many scholars criticize the passivity of Japanese courts on war-related issues, this Article detects a meaningful role for Japanese courts in the reparations process: awarding compensation, verifying facts, and allocating legal liability. …


Against Bankruptcy Exceptionalism, Jonathan M. Seymour Jan 2022

Against Bankruptcy Exceptionalism, Jonathan M. Seymour

Faculty Scholarship

Bankruptcy courts conceive of their mission differently than other courts do. For the Supreme Court, bankruptcy cases are ordinary statutory cases to be resolved “clearly and predictably using well established principles of statutory interpretation.” Many bankruptcy judges, though, believe that bankruptcy courts serve a distinctive mission for which ordinary adjudicative methods do not suffice. Often, that mission is characterized using the language of equity. Judges and commentators alike have observed that among the most spoken words in the bankruptcy courts are: “the bankruptcy court is a court of equity.” Others have contended that bankruptcy necessitates “creativity and flexibility,” pursuant to …