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Full-Text Articles in Law

Amicus Brief: Kumho Tire V. Carmichael, Neil Vidmar, Richard Lempert, Shari Diamond, Valerie Hans, Stephan Landsman, Robert Maccoun, Joseph Sanders, Harmon Hosch, Saul Kassin, Marc Galanter, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen Daniels, Edith Greene, Joanne Martin, Steven Penrod, James Richardson, Larry Heuer, Irwin Horowitz Dec 2015

Amicus Brief: Kumho Tire V. Carmichael, Neil Vidmar, Richard Lempert, Shari Diamond, Valerie Hans, Stephan Landsman, Robert Maccoun, Joseph Sanders, Harmon Hosch, Saul Kassin, Marc Galanter, Theodore Eisenberg, Stephen Daniels, Edith Greene, Joanne Martin, Steven Penrod, James Richardson, Larry Heuer, Irwin Horowitz

Robert MacCoun

This brief addresses the issue of jury performance and jury responses to expert testimony. It reviews and summaries a substantial body of research evidence about jury behavior that has been produced over the past quarter century. The great weight of that evidence challenges the view that jurors abdicate their responsibilities as fact finders when faced with expert evidence or that they are pro-plaintiff, anti-defendant, and anti-business.

The Petitioners and amici on behalf of petitioners make a number of overlapping, but empirically unsupported, assertions about jury behavior in response to expert testimony, namely that juries are frequently incapable of critically evaluation …


Admissibility Of Scientific Evidence Under Daubert: The Fatal Flaws Of ‘Falsifiability’ And ‘Falsification’, Barbara P. Billauer Esq Dec 2015

Admissibility Of Scientific Evidence Under Daubert: The Fatal Flaws Of ‘Falsifiability’ And ‘Falsification’, Barbara P. Billauer Esq

barbara p billauer esq

Abstract: The Daubert mantra demands that judges, acting as gatekeepers, prevent para, pseudo or ‘bad’ science from infiltrating the courtroom. To do so, the Judges must first determine what “science” is? And then, what ‘good science’ is? It is submitted that Daubert is seriously polluted with the notions of Karl Popper who sets ‘falsifiability’ and ‘falsification’ as the demarcation line for that determination. This inapt philosophy has intractably infected case law, leading to bad decisions immortalized as stare decisis. Among other problems, is the intolerance of Popper’s system for multiple causation, a key component of toxic- torts. Thus, the primary …


Daubert Debunked: A History Of Legal Retrogression A History Of Legal Retrogression And The Need To Reassess ‘Scientific Admissibility’, Barbara P. Billauer Esq Sep 2015

Daubert Debunked: A History Of Legal Retrogression A History Of Legal Retrogression And The Need To Reassess ‘Scientific Admissibility’, Barbara P. Billauer Esq

barbara p billauer esq

Abstract: With ‘novel’ scientific discoveries accelerating at an unrelenting pace, the need for accessible and implementable standards for evaluating the legal admissibility of scientific evidence becomes more and more crucial. As science changes, legal standards for evaluating ‘novel’ science must be plastic enough to respond to fast-moving changes. This, ostensibly, was the Daubert objective. Since it was decided in 1993, however, Daubert’s impact has been hotly contested -- with plaintiffs and defendants each claiming the decision unfairly favors the other side. New approaches are constantly suggested to deal with the perceived impact, although there is no uniform consensus of exactly …


Science On Trial, Valerie P. Hans Jun 2015

Science On Trial, Valerie P. Hans

Valerie P. Hans

The increasing complexity of both criminal and civil jury trials raises a host of issues for lawyers and judges. For the litigator, the first question is whether a jury can be trusted with a case that turns on highly technical evidence. For the trial judge, there are decisions about the admissibility of expert testimony, whether it is based on sound science, and whether a jury is likely to be misled by scientific claims. Should the judge permit jury innovations such as note taking, question asking, and juror discussions of evidence during the trial, hoping to increase jury comprehension of the …


Can Jury Trial Innovations Improve Juror Understanding Of Dna Evidence?, B. Michael Dann, Valerie P. Hans, David H. Kaye Jun 2015

Can Jury Trial Innovations Improve Juror Understanding Of Dna Evidence?, B. Michael Dann, Valerie P. Hans, David H. Kaye

Valerie P. Hans

A single spot of blood on a pink windowsill will tell investigators who broke a windowpane, turned a lock, and kidnapped 2-year-old Molly Evans from her bedroom in the middle of the night. An expert witness will testify that the DNA profile of the blood evidence recovered from the windowsill was entered into CODIS, an electronic database of DNA profiles. That process yielded a “hit,” identifying the defendant as the most likely source of the blood inside Molly’s room. But will jurors be able to understand the expert’s intricate analysis and use it to reach a verdict? And what—if any—steps …


Testing Jury Reforms, Valerie P. Hans, B. Michael Dann, David H. Kaye, Erin J. Farley, Stephanie Albertson Jun 2015

Testing Jury Reforms, Valerie P. Hans, B. Michael Dann, David H. Kaye, Erin J. Farley, Stephanie Albertson

Valerie P. Hans

DNA evidence has become a key law enforcement tool and is increasingly presented in criminal trials in Delaware and elsewhere. The integrity of the criminal trial process turns upon the jury's ability to understand DNA evidence and to evaluate properly the testimony of experts. How well do they do? Can we assist them in the process?


Statistics In The Jury Box: How Jurors Respond To Mitochondrial Dna Match Probabilities, David H. Kaye, Valerie P. Hans, B. Michael Dann, Erin J. Farley, Stephanie Albertson Jun 2015

Statistics In The Jury Box: How Jurors Respond To Mitochondrial Dna Match Probabilities, David H. Kaye, Valerie P. Hans, B. Michael Dann, Erin J. Farley, Stephanie Albertson

Valerie P. Hans

This article describes parts of an unusually realistic experiment on the comprehension of expert testimony on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequencing in a criminal trial for robbery. Specifically, we examine how jurors who responded to summonses for jury duty evaluated portions of videotaped testimony involving probabilities and statistics. Although some jurors showed susceptibility to classic fallacies in interpreting conditional probabilities, the jurors as a whole were not overwhelmed by a 99.98% exclusion probability that the prosecution presented. Cognitive errors favoring the defense were more prevalent than ones favoring the prosecution. These findings lend scant support to the legal argument that mtDNA …


Judges, Juries, And Scientific Evidence, Valerie P. Hans Jun 2015

Judges, Juries, And Scientific Evidence, Valerie P. Hans

Valerie P. Hans

The rise in scientific evidence offered in American jury trials, along with court rulings thrusting judges into the business of assessing the soundness of scientific evidence, have produced challenges for judge and jury alike. Many judges have taken up the duty of becoming “amateur scientists.” But what about juries? Surely they too could benefit from assistance as they attempt to master and apply complex testimony about scientific matters during the course of a trial. Concerns about the jury’s ability to understand, critically evaluate, and employ scientific evidence in deciding complex trials have led to many suggestions for reform. This article …


Criminal And Scientific Evidence: Cases, Materials And Problems. 2nd Edition., Jimmy Gurule, Robert Goodwin Jun 2015

Criminal And Scientific Evidence: Cases, Materials And Problems. 2nd Edition., Jimmy Gurule, Robert Goodwin

Jimmy Gurule

No abstract provided.


Science Is Not Waiting For The Courts, Robert Sanger Mar 2015

Science Is Not Waiting For The Courts, Robert Sanger

Robert M. Sanger

The Forensic Science Community and the federal government are moving far beyond the courts in an effort to improve the quality of scientific evidence and expert testimony in the courts. Major events in forensics have caused a top to bottom reconsideration of what should count as expert testimony. Last month, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) convened the first set of meetings of the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC). This is a forward-looking approach to forensic science.

The first OSAC meetings were held on February 16 and 17, 2015, at …


The Admissibility Of Trueallele: A Computerized Dna Interpretation System, Katherine L. Moss Mar 2015

The Admissibility Of Trueallele: A Computerized Dna Interpretation System, Katherine L. Moss

Washington and Lee Law Review

No abstract provided.


Dumping Daubert, Popping Popper And Falsifying Falsifiability: A Re-Assessment Of First Principles, Barbara P. Billauer Esq Feb 2015

Dumping Daubert, Popping Popper And Falsifying Falsifiability: A Re-Assessment Of First Principles, Barbara P. Billauer Esq

barbara p billauer esq

Abstract: The Daubert mantra demands that judges, acting as gatekeepers, prevent para, pseudo or bad science from infiltrating the courtroom. To do so, the Judges must first determine what is ‘science’ and what is ‘good science.’ It is submitted that Daubert is deeply polluted with the notions of Karl Popper who sets ‘falsifiability’ and ‘falsification’ as the demarcation line for that determination. This philosophy has intractably infected case law, leading to bad decisions immortalized as stare decisis, and an unworkable system of decision-making, which negatively impacts litigant expectations. Among other problems is the intolerance of Popper’s system for multiple causation, …


Ultracrepidarianism In Forensic Science: The Hair Evidence Debacle, David H. Kaye Jan 2015

Ultracrepidarianism In Forensic Science: The Hair Evidence Debacle, David H. Kaye

Journal Articles

For over 130 years, scientific sleuths have been inspecting hairs under microscopes. Late in 2012, the FBI, the Innocence Project, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers joined forces to review thousands of microscopic hair comparisons performed by FBI examiners over several of those decades. The results have been astounding. Based on the first few hundred cases in which hairs were said to match, it appears that examiners “exceeded the limits of science” in over 90% of their reports or testimony. The disclosure of this statistic has led to charges that the FBI “faked an entire field of forensic …