Friday, May 14, 2010
Scott Turow on the Hazards of Improved Forensic Technology: Or: a Reminder that DNA May Be Gold but It Ain't Platinum
In a NYTimes podcast Scott Turow discusses his new novel Innocent, which is a sequel to his novel Presumed Innocent. Almost eight minutes into the podcast Turow comments on the changes in the handling of evidence in criminal cases, the foremost of which, he says, is the use of DNA evidence. Turow says, "[H]ad Rusty Sabich [the "hero" of Presumed Innocent] been tried a couple of years later than 1986 ..., his goose would have been cooked because of DNA because of course it is Rusty's DNA that was found in the victim, Carolyn Polhemus."
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
"[Professor Charles Fried] also credits her [Elana Kagan] with arranging a faculty lounge so it offered free lunch and large tables, where faculty could sit and get to know one another. 'It was an absolute stroke of genius,' Mr. Fried said." (Wall Street Journal (May 12, 2010))
And I always thought that one had to write a great article or a good book. Silly me.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
It is important to think of the law of evidence as part of a temporal process ("evidentiary processes associated with litigation"), and not just as a body of rules that regulate the admissibility of evidence at trial and a few other questions that arise at trial. Litigators, of course, know that the law of evidence is part of a temporal process. Many law teachers have also acknowledged or affirmed that the law of evidence is part of a process. However, most courses in the law of evidence still treat the law of evidence mainly as a body of rules about the admissibility of evidence and about the standards the trier of fact should use to evaluate the evidence that is presented to it at trial. Of course, bar exams, which view the law of evidence in traditional academic terms, make it hard for teachers of the law of evidence to adopt a radically different perspective: Law students rightly expect to learn the legal rules they need to know to pass the bar exam.
&&& It is also important to view the law of evidence from the perspective of epistemology. But that's another (important) matter. It is also important to view the law of evidence from the perspective of social values. But that is, again, another (important) matter.