Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Public Release of MarshalPlan 2.2

Years ago David Schum and I developed the notion of an evidence marshaling system. We developed a kind of computer embodiment, or expression, of that evidence marshaling system, which we eventually called "MarshalPlan."

Today I am releasing MarshalPlan 2.2.

This moniker -- MarshalPlan 2.2 -- amounts to a bit of self-mockery: MarshalPlan 2.2 is not a software "prototype." Far from it.

However, MarshalPlan 2.2 is more than just some scratchings on a page that state in words (text) how a MarshalPlan application might work.

MarshalPlan 2.2 is a genuine standalone application based on the user-friendly programming language Revolution Enterprise(tm). This standalone illustrates -- with images, fields, buttons (links), and so on -- how a computer program to support the marshaling and assessment of evidence in preparation for trials and also for the conduct of trials might work.

To retrieve MarshalPlan 2.2 click on this link.

Important update, March 15, 2008: For a reason that eludes me the buttons in the main stack ["Network"] in the standalone no longer flip the user to other stacks in the network. I have tried to correct this problem -- but to no avail. My apologies. When I find a fix, I will report back. My original message continues below. Thank you for your patience.
Interim remedy: Go to post of March 16 to retrieve individual stacks as separate standalones.
Another interim remedy: Retrieve an earlier version of MarshalPkPlan -- MarshalPlan 2.0 -- by clicking on this link.

A PERMANENT FIX HAS BEEN FOUND. Go here for instructions.

There are numerous things wrong with the standalone that you will retrieve by clicking on the above link, and the standalone application that you will retrieve has numerous gaps, including the following:

1. There is very, very, very little textual explanation of the theory behind the strategies that are embedded in MarshalPlan 2.2. To find that theory and those explanations you will have to wander about my personal web site. If you want a really comprehensive explanation of MarshalPlan, you will have to invite me to give a leisurely talk (preferably on a tropical island or some other attractive venue).

2. Some buttons and links don't work. When that happens, try other buttons and links.

3. Some important stacks are entirely missing. E.g., the "Narratives" stack. The most important missing stacks are those having to do with the development of evidential argument from evidence to factual propositions and with the assessment of the probative value of the evidence. For a discussion of the methods that might be used for this purpose, see Special Issue on Graphic and Visual Representations of Evidence and Inference in Legal Settings, 6 Law, Probability and Risk Nos. 1-4 (Oxford University Press, 2007).

4. MarshalPlan 2.2 is not equipped to be hooked up to a database. This is a most serious deficiency. But -- in my defense -- MarshalPlan 2.2 is NOT a prototype. It is, rather, only a kind of elaborate visual illustration of some of the directions that development of software for marshaling evidence in legal settings should take.

I am brash enough to believe that many of the ideas reflected in MarshalPlan 2.2 are both novel and worthwhile. But I am mortal and thoroughly fallible -- particularly when it comes to programming -- and I would very much like to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and criticisms.
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