Friday, December 29, 2006

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


First day (January 28, 2007):

9.00am-9.20am: Welcoming Comments (P. Tillers)


Moderator: Henry Prakken
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


Moderator: Thomas Cobb
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


Moderator: Justin Hughes
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


Moderator: Richard Lempert
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


Moderator: Thomas Gordon
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):


Moderator: William Twining
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
Kevin Ashley, Comment

10.40am-11.00am: coffee break


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

1.00pm-2.00pm: lunch


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

3.40pm-4.00pm: tea break


Moderator: Neal Feigenson
Jennifer Mnookin, Visual and Expert Evidence: Rhetorical Connections and Invisible Affinities
Samuel Solomon, Visual Storytelling - Contextualizing Evidence through Visualization Taken from Real Cases
Deirdre Dwyer, Comment
David Tait, Comment

6.00pm-6.15pm: Closing Comments (Henry Prakken)

Peter Tillers (Cardozo Law School): Conference chair; e-mail address: Henry Prakken (Universiteit Utrecht & University of Groningen): Program chair; e-mail address: Thomas D. Cobb (University of Washington, Seattle): Deputy program chair; e-mail address: Jonathan Gottfried: Local affairs coordinator: Jonathan Gottfried; e-mail address:"


  • Kevin Ashley University of Pittsburgh School of Law)
  • Thomas D. Cobb Lecturer University of Washington School of Law
  • Philip Dawid Professor of Statistics University College London
  • Deirdre M. Dwyer British Academy Post Doctoral Fellow Pembroke College Oxford University
  • Neal Feigenson Professor Quinnipiac University School of Law
  • Branden Fitelson Assistant Professor of Philosophy University of California at Berkeley
  • Tim van Gelder Associate Professor of Philosophy University of Melbourne
  • Thomas F. Gordon Senior Research Scientist eGovernment Competence Center Fraunhofer Institut fuer Offene Kommunikationssysteme; web log
  • Bruce Hay Professor Harvard Law School
  • Amanda B. Hepler Department of Statistical Science University College London
  • John Josephson Research Scientist Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence Research Computer Science and Engineering Ohio State University
  • Marc Lauritsen President Capstone Practice Systems
  • Richard Lempert Eric Stein Distinguished University Professor of Law and Sociology University of Michigan Law School
  • Ronald P. Loui Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Washington University in St. Louis
  • John D. Lowrance Program Director, Artificial Intelligence Center SRI International
  • Jennifer Mnookin Professor UCLA School of Law
  • Jon Morris Affiliate Faculty Member School of Information Engineering and Technology Systems Engineering and Operations Research George Mason University
  • Dale Nance Professor Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • Priit Parmakson Lecturer Tallinn University
  • John L. Pollock Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science University of Arizona
  • Henry Prakken Lecturer, Department of Information and Computing Sciences Utrecht University & Professor of Law and ICT Faculty of Law University of Groningen
  • Chris Reed Senior Lecturer & Assistant Head of Research University of Dundee
  • David Schum Professor Systems Engineering & Operations Research George Mason University
  • Richard Sherwin Professor & Director, Visual Persuasion Project New York Law School
  • Samuel Solomon Chairman & CEO DOAR Litigation Consulting
  • David Tait Senior Lecturer School of Law University of Canberra
  • Peter Tillers Professor Cardozo School of Law Yeshiva University
  • William Twining Quain Professor of Jurisprudence emeritus University College London Law Faculty & Professor University of Miami School of Law
  • Bart Verheij Lecturer & Researcher Artificial Intelligence University of Groningen
  • Vern Walker Professor Hofstra University School of Law
  • Douglas N. Walton Professor of Philosophy University of Winnipeg

    Description of conference:

    One of the largest problems faced by criminal investigators, litigators, paralegals, triers of fact, and others interested in disputes about factual questions in legal settings is the sheer mass of evidence available. It is often difficult to remember, retrieve, and interpret voluminous evidential information, and important relationships and inconsistencies may go unnoticed as a result. Tools that support the storage, retrieval, and interpretation of large masses of evidence would therefore be of great use.

    Psychological studies have shown that people's ability to remember, retrieve, and interpret information is greatly enhanced when they organize it 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 help people make sense of masses of evidence. As early as 1913, John Henry Wigmore claimed that his charting method promotes rational thinking about legal evidence. Wigmore had only pencil and paper to draw his cumbersome graphs. Today computer software may make it possible for almost anyone to construct useful graphical representations of arguments and inferences related to large collections of evidence. If such software were combined with with existing database, document management, and search technology, documentary evidence could be stored and retrieved in accordance with the user's view of a case. This would facilitate the transfer of a case file from one person to another because it would make it easier for recipients of files to grasp the signficance of the evidentiary details of a case. Software for graphical representation of evidential argument is currently being investigated for use in various domains. Argument visualization software has been designed, for instance, to support the teaching of scientific reasoning and critical thinking skills (e.g., Belvedere, Reasonable, Araucaria, Convince Me), to support intelligence analysis, and to facilitate individual or collaborative problem solving (e.g., 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 computationall methods.

    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 (e.g., Holmes 2, Analyst's Notebook). As yet, however, such tools offer little or no support for structuring thinking about information: existing software 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 factual hypotheses.

    This interdisciplinary conference brings together scholars and practitioners from fields such as law, philosophy, computer science, artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, and linguistics. The following topics and issues will be addressed:

    • New and current graphical means for visualization of factual inference and proof.
    • Semantics of graphical notations: what are the underlying theories of evidential reasoning, including jurisprudential, philosophical, psychological, rhetorical, logical, and mathematical theories?
    • Software tools that are currently available or under development for graphical representation of factual inference and proof.
    • Potential contexts for the use of such software (e.g., criminal investigation, intelligence analysis, trials, and law teaching).
    • Can graphical representation of evidential argument support automatic evaluation of hypotheses?
    • How can current insights into human-computer interactuions be exploited to increase the usefulness of such software; e.g., how can visual complexity generated by large masses of evidence be managed?
    • Are there pertinent empirical studies and findings about real-world use of evidence-charting methods in legal and other contexts?

    For drafts and abstracts of some conference papers please go to Final versions of the papers will be published in Law, Probability and Risk in 2007 and 2008.

    The public is warmly encouraged to attend the conference. Advance registration is not required and there is no registration fee. However, there will be a charge for any lunches or dinners that attendees elect to take at the site of the conference, at Cardozo Law School. If you are not a panelist and would like to join us for any lunches or dinners at Cardozo, please RSVP to the address shown below by January 15, 2007, and indicate which meals you wish to purchase, enclosing payment of $35 for each. Please make checks payable to Cardozo School of Law. Send payment to

    Alisa Norr Legal Secretary Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP 1633 Broadway, 46th floor New York, NY 10019 United States

    Hotel 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
  • The Attorney-Client Privilege in Japan

    Chris Betros, "Jury System Won't Work in Japan," Japan Today (Sept. 12, 2006):
    Another obstacle is the lack of lawyer-client confidentiality in Japan. During major criminal cases, the defendant’s lawyer routinely reports to the media everything his or her client says.
    But I bet the mixed court system will "work." Do I have any takers?
  • Of course, much depends on what one means by "work." Cf. What is the meaning of "is"?
  • Lay Participation in Trials: Diverging Trends

    The U.K. has been cutting back on trial by jury for years. Japan, however, seems to be going in a different direction: it is reintroducing a mixed court system for some criminal cases. See Robert E. Precht, "Japan, the Jury," New York Times Section A, Column 2, Editorial Desk, p. 31 (Dec. 1, 2006).


    Beginning in 2009, Japan will institute a jury system called saiban-in. Juries consisting of three law-trained judges and six citizens chosen by lottery will decide criminal cases by majority vote. Japan had an American-style jury system for 15 years, but it was abolished by Japan's military government in 1943. Since then, verdicts have been decided by three-judge panels, leaving citizens with no voice in a system in which virtually all criminal trials end in a conviction. ...


    According to surveys conducted by a sociologist, Hiroshi Fukurai, the prospect of jury service intimidates many Japanese; other polls show 70 percent of them don't want to be on juries. ...

    Why is the Japanese Conviction Rate So High?

    See J. Mark Ramseyer and Eric B. Rasmusen, "Why is the Japanese Conviction Rate So High?," 30 Journal of Legal Studies 53 (January 2001).

    Thursday, December 28, 2006

    More on the Death Penalty in Japan

    JapanFile (March 2002):
    Carrying out the Sentence

    The procedure for execution in Japan is opaque and carried out in [secret]. Executions are performed not at prisons, but at detention centers. Those on death row are never sent to prison, but remain in the detention center until an appeal is won or their execution is carried out. The method used is hanging, a procedure which has been abandoned in many places because it can result in beheading. Executions are usually carried out on Friday mornings, and convicts are not given advance notification. Surviving any Friday past nine a.m. guarantees another week of life. The names of the executed are never announced publicly, and the act of execution may not be acknowledged until well after the event. Even family and attorneys are not informed of the deaths firsthand - they learn of the executions when the detention center requests that a prisoner's possessions or ashes be picked up.

    Historically, executions have been carried out while the Diet is in recess, a strategic tactic by the LDP to avoid political criticism. Last year [2001], two inmates, one in Nagoya and one in Tokyo, were hung on December 27. The day was politically well chosen. Not only was the Diet out; but two other trials overshadowed the executions. Prosecutors in Utsunomiya, Tochigi requested death for Shinozawa Kazuo, accused of killing six women in a jewelry store heist last June, and Takuma Mamoru, the perpetrator of the Ikeda elementary school murders entered a guilty plea in Osaka and requested the death penalty.

    Tuesday, December 26, 2006

    No Man [in Japan] Knows ... the Hour ...

    Setsuko Kamiya, Day of Hanging Comes without Warning, Japan Times (Dec. 26, 2006):
    Death row inmates [in Japan] do not know until the morning of their last day that their number is up. It could be next week, next month, or years away. But for four, the gallows suddenly came Monday.

    The condemned, and their next of kin, are purposely kept in the dark about their fate by the government until the time to hang arrives. As one Justice Ministry official put it, this is to lessen the mental torture of an inmate waiting to die, but critics have long denounced this logic as the exact opposite of the torturous truth.

    The four hanged Monday were no exception, and now 94 others sit on death rows nationwide, never knowing when the knock on the door will come.