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American legal thought

St. Mary's University

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Full-Text Articles in Law

A Short History Of Hearsay Reform, With Particular Reference To Hoffman V. Palmer, Eddie Morgan And Jerry Frank, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1995

A Short History Of Hearsay Reform, With Particular Reference To Hoffman V. Palmer, Eddie Morgan And Jerry Frank, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

Much of the history of the American law of evidence, including its most contentious issue, hearsay, is the story of stasis and reform. The case of Hoffman v. Palmer represents one of few cases concerning hearsay known by name, and illustrates that “false” evidence has often been used to caution against efforts proclaiming “radical reform” of the law of evidence.

In this case involving a collision between a car and a train, the critical question was: Is the defendant railroad permitted to introduce into evidence the transcript of a question and answer session made two days after the accident between ...


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 ...


The Law Of Evidence And The Idea Of Progress, Michael S. Ariens Jan 1992

The Law Of Evidence And The Idea Of Progress, Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

To ask the question, “Does evidence law matter?,” is often to assume that some sets or groups of people believe it is important while others are challenging that view. However, another assumption regarding the nature of this question is possible—that the question is asked because legal academics believe that evidence law both does and does not matter, and that those academics also believe that these are irreconcilable beliefs. What is of particular interest is how legal academics reached this point and why they believe that evidence law both does and does not matter.

Consideration of these aspects of evidence ...


Dutiful Justice (Book Review), Michael S. Ariens Jan 1991

Dutiful Justice (Book Review), Michael S. Ariens

Faculty Articles

Sheldon Novick’s biography, Honorable Justice: The Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes, is a traditional biography of one of the most important public figures in the United States since the Civil War.

Although the author disclaims it, Honorable Justice is a defense of Holmes. Novick writes of some of Holmes’ faults, but too often Holmes’ human imperfections are defended as strengths. It appears that Novick was trying hard to defend Holmes from late twentieth century critiques. This defense of Holmes seems a misguided attempt to re(de)ify Holmes to a group of readers which will likely include a large ...