Monday, May 09, 2011

A Two-Part Course in Fact Investigation: Tentative Descriptions

Fact Investigation I  (Fall 2011)
Professor: Tillers/Segal
Credits: 3 (2 academic, 1 clinical) 
Pre/Corequisite: None

Effective pretrial investigation requires not only imagination, but also careful marshaling of evidence and careful organization of thinking about evidence. It frequently requires the application of a variety of distinct marshaling and analytical methods such as the development of time lines, the formation of scenarios, orderly assessment of the credibility of testimonial evidence, and the marshaling of evidence on the basis of legal rules and their elements. Students in the course are introduced to a toolkit of evidence marshaling strategies for investigation. Students also become familiar with important databases and public records. Students work in teams and conduct actual investigations of real-world problems. Consult the following web site for a more detailed description of the course: 

Fact Investigation II  (Spring 2012)
Professor: Tillers/Segal
Credits: 2
Pre/Corequisite: Fact Investigation I

This course is a continuation of Fact Investigation I. In this course, teams of students carry forward and bring to a conclusion one or more of the investigations launched by the members of the previous semester's course in fact investigation. Although this course and the previous semester's course in fact investigation have some common objectives and themes, this course differs in important ways from its predecessor. In this course, there is a greater emphasis on sources of evidence apart from databases and public records; for example, there is a greater emphasis on witness interviews. More generally, this semester there is less emphasis on exploratory investigation and more emphasis on bringing an investigation to a successful conclusion. For this reason, close attention is given to the relationship between (i) decisions and steps during investigation and (ii) matters such as (a) the legal requirements governing the admissibility of evidence in settings such as trials and (b) the persuasiveness of evidence submitted to a trier of fact or audience such as a judge, a jury, a legislative committee, a corporate executive, or the public.

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