Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Draft Program & Other Information for Conference on Graphic and Visual Representations of Evidence and Inference in Legal Settings

Cardozo School of Law will host a conference on

Graphic and Visual Representations of Evidence and Inference in Legal Settings

Dates: January 28-29, 2007.

Venue: Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University, 55 Fifth Avenue (5th Ave. & 12th St.), New York (Manhattan), New York


Draft Program

* First day (January 28, 2007):

9.00am-9.20am: Welcoming Comments (Tillers)

9.20am-11.00am: 2 talks + 1 comment:

Vern Walker, Visualizing the Dynamics around the Rule/Evidence Interface in Legal Reasoning
Richard Sherwin & Neal Feigenson, Thinking beyond the Shown: Implicit Inferences in Visual Evidence and Argument
Marc Lauritsen, Comment

11.00am-11.20am: coffee break

11.20am-1.00pm: 2 talks + 1 comment

Tim van Gelder, Rationale: A Generic Argument Mapping Tool
Chris Reed, Wigmore, Toulmin and Walton: The Diagramming Trinity and their Application in Legal Practice
Dale Nance, Comment

1.00pm-2.00pm: lunch

2.00pm-3.40pm: 2 talks + 1 comment

John L. Pollock, Some Puzzles about Defeasible Reasoning
Ron Loui, A Modest Proposal for Annotating the Dialectical State of a Dispute
Richard Lempert, Comment

3.40pm-4.00pm: tea break

4.00pm-5.20pm: 2 talks

Thomas F. Gordon & Doug Walton, Visualizing Arguments of the Carneades Argumentation Framework
Bart Verheij, Virtual Arguments: On the Design of Argument Assistants for Lawyers and Other Arguers

5.20pm-6.30pm: dinner

6.30pm-8.15pm: 2 talks + 1 comment

Doug Walton, Argumentation Theory for the Law of Evidence
Henry Prakken, Argument Visualisation Software for Crime Investigators: Design and First Experiences
William Twining, Comment

* Second day (January 29, 2007):

9.00am-10.40am: 2 talks + 1 comment

John Lowrance, Graphical Manipulation of Evidence in Structured Arguments
John Josephson, Graphical Display of Evidence and Inference in a Prototype System for Command-Post Information Fusion
Burkhard Schafer, Comment

10.40am-11.00am: coffee break

11.00am-1.00pm: 3 talks

David Schum & Jon Morris, Law Comes to the Rescue of Intelligence Analysis: Evaluating HUMINT
Philip Dawid, Bayesian Networks for the Analysis of Evidence
Branden Fitelson, Argument Diagrams, Bayes Nets, and Independent Evidence

1.00pm-2.00pm: lunch

2.00pm-3.40pm: 2 talks + 1 comment

Bruce Hay, Law's Visual Imagination
Priit Parmakson, Can Effective Visual Representations Be Produced Systematically?
Neal Feigenson, Comment

3.40pm-4.00pm: tea break

4.00pm-6.20pm: 3 talks + 1 comment

Thomas Cobb, Argument Visualization as Jury Reform
Jennifer Mnookin, Visual and Expert Evidence: Rhetorical Connections and Invisible Affinities
Samuel Solomon, Visual Storytelling - Contextualizing Evidence through Visualization Taken from Real Cases
David Tait, Comment

6.20pm-6.35pm: Closing Comments (Tillers)

Conference officials:
Peter Tillers (Cardozo Law School): Conference chair e-mail address: peter@tillers.net
Henry Prakken (Universiteit Utrecht / University of Groningen): Program chair e-mail address: henry@cs.uu.nl
Thomas D. Cobb (University of Washington, Seattle): Deputy program chair e-mail address: tomcobb@u.washington.edu


  • Thomas D. Cobb (University of Washington School of Law)
  • Philip Dawid (U. College London)
  • Neal Feigenson (Quinnipiac University School of Law)
  • Branden Fitelson (U. of California at Berkeley)
  • Tim van Gelder (U. of Melbourne)
  • Thomas F. Gordon (FOKUS [Frauenhofer Institut fuer Offene Kommunikationssysteme]); web log
  • Bruce Hay (Harvard Law School)
  • John Josephson (Ohio State University)
  • Marc Lauritsen (CEO, Capstone Practice Systems)
  • Richard Lempert (U. of Michigan Law School)
  • Ronald P. Loui (Washington University, St. Louis; Computer Science)
  • John D. Lowrance (Program Director, Artificial Intelligence Center, SRI International)
  • Jennifer Mnookin (UCLA School of Law)
  • Jon Morris
  • Dale Nance (Case School of Law)
  • Priit Parmakson (Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia)
  • John L. Pollock (U. of Arizona)
  • Henry Prakken (Utrecht University & U. Groningen)
  • Chris Reed (U. of Dundee)
  • Burkhard Schafer (U. of Edinburgh, Law School)
  • David Schum (George Mason U.)
  • Richard Sherwin (New York Law School)
  • Samuel Solomon (CEO of DOAR, Inc.)
  • David Tait (U. of Canberra)
  • Peter Tillers (Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University)
  • David Tait
  • William Twining (U. College London, Law Faculty & U. of Miami, School of Law)
  • Bart Verheij (U. Groningen, Dept. of Artificial Intelligence; ALICE Institute)
  • Vern Walker (Hofstra U. School of Law)
  • Douglas Walton (U. of Winnipeg)

    Description of conference:

    One of the largest problems faced by crime investigators, litigators, paralegals, judges, triers of fact, and other actors interested in disputes about factual questions in legal settings is the sheer mass of available evidence in many cases. It is often difficult to remember, retrieve, and interpret evidential information, so that patterns, relations, and inconsistencies often go unnoticed. Tools that support the storage, retrieval, and interpretation of masses of evidence could therefore be of great use.

    Psychological studies have shown that people's ability to remember, retrieve, and interpret information is greatly enhanced when people organize information in a way that is meaningful to them. Scholars of the law of evidence have long suggested that graphical representations of evidential arguments and inferences could support humans in making sense of masses of evidence. As early as 1913, John Henry Wigmore claimed that his charting method promoted rational thinking about legal evidence. Wigmore had only pencil and paper to draw his cumbersome graphs. Today the computer could make his ideas practically useful for everyone: Software could be used to draw graphical representations of arguments and inferences about masses of evidence. Moreover, such software could be combined with existing database, document management, and search technology so that collections of evidentiary documents could be stored and retrieved in terms of the user's thinking about a case. Such software would also facilitate transfer of case files to others by increasing the transparency of the files, so that subsequent investigators, prosecutors, and fact finders could gain a quicker and better understanding of the case.

    Such software is currently being investigated for use in various domains. Argument visualization software has been designed, for instance, to support the teaching of scientific reasoning or critical thinking skills (Belvedere, Reasonable, Araucaria, Convince Me), to support intelligence analysis, and to facilitate individual or collaborative problem solving (Questmap, SEAS). Moreover, current artificial intelligence research offers precise accounts of evidential reasoning and thus provides a clear semantics of graphical notations as well as ways to compute with them.

    In the legal domain, fact investigators and litigators increasingly use software that supports the storage and retrieval of information in terms of conceptual and relational networks (Holmes 2, Analyst's Notebook). However, as yet, such tools for the storage and retrieval of information offer little or no support for the structuring of human thinking about information: Existing software for storing and retrieving information allows users to store evidentiary data in terms of events, objects, actors, and the relations among these things, but it does not allow users to represent how such data support or undermine hypotheses about what has happened.

    This interdisciplinary conference brings together scholars and practitioners from such fields as law, philosophy, computer science, artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, and linguistics who are interested in the graphic visualization of legal evidentiary inference and its support by software tools. The following issues will be addressed:

  • Current and new graphical means to visualize factual inference and proof
  • Semantics of such graphical notations: what are the underlying theories of evidential reasoning? (jurisprudential, philosophical, psychological, rhetorical, logical, or mathematical)
  • Which software tools for graphical representations of factual inference and proof are currently available or being developed?
  • What are the potential contexts for the use of such software and what are the potential benefits of such software? (crime investigation, litigation, trial, law teaching, etc.)
  • To what extent can graphic representation of evidential arguments support the automatic evaluation of hypotheses?
  • How can current insights about human-computer interaction be exploited to increase the usefulness of such software? (e.g., how can visual complexity created by the size of the available mass of evidence be managed?)
  • Are empirical results available on usability and effects of use of charting methods (whether manual or digital) in legal or other contexts?
  • What are the practical constraints faced by crime investigators or legal professionals who want to use such software?
  • &&&&

    The public is invited. There is no registration fee. (However, there will be a modest charge for any lunches or dinners that attendees elect to take at the site of the conference, at Cardozo Law School.)

    Hotel and flight arrangements may be made through the conference travel agency:

    Morris Park Travel Bureau
    1745 Wiliamsbridge Road
    Bronx, NY 10461
    1-718-792-9850 or toll free 1-877-526-8844
    Fax: 1-718-863-7121
    Email: MPTVL@AOL.COM

  • Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Scholars & Recluses

    In a letter to the editor Professor Mark Gerstein of Yale writes:
    One cannot help but wonder whether the way that Dr. Perelman sequestered himself from the minutiae of academic life and from e-mail and correspondence altogether is a principal reason he has been able to think so deeply about a problem.

    Perhaps tranquil reclusion is a prerequisite for brilliant thought, as evident in other legendary geniuses like Newton and Darwin.

    NYTimes, Sunday, September 3, 2006 There may be some truth in what Gerstein says. However, note that Gerstein is a professor of biomedical informatics and molecular biophysics. I think few law teachers genuinely share Gerstein's sentiments; legal scholars are generally gregarious (though not usually convivial or diplomatic) and legal scholarship is rarely done in splendid isolation.

    If legal scholarship is rarely done in "tranquil reclusion," does it follow that legal scholarship is rarely the product of "brilliant thought"? The possibility cannot be dismissed out of hand!

    Perelman, however, is not the only genius known to (wo)mankind. For example, Albert Einstein was a genius. But Einstein was not really a reclusive fellow. Nor were Aristotle, Descartes, Rousseau, G.W.F. Hegel, Bertrand Russell, Richard Feynman, Robert Oppenheimer, Charles Peirce (who, however, was a very strange man), Mozart, and many other "geniuses."

    N.B. Today one does not count as a genius if one does not appear on TV. Proof: In internal memoranda circulated at my law school, faculty members' appearances in the mass media are routinely noted and celebrated -- but there are few equivalent internal memoranda celebrating faculty members' scholarly publications.