YOU’VE SEEN THE LIGHT. HOW DO YOU FEEL?

Each of us has been outside at night, in the darkness of a new moon, and craned our heads backward to look upward.  Overhead, a dark blue blanket flecked with stars, cut in half by a faint and milky haze.  The lack of summer humidity meant the sky revealed its depths as if it were

ARE WE NO BETTER THAN GOLDFISH?

We’ve heard it at lectures, and perhaps echoed the claim ourselves – the attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds, and that of humans is less.  As detailed in TIME Magazine, [r]esearchers in Canada surveyed 2,000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). Microsoft found that since the year

WHEN A JURY EASILY PREDICTS THE PAST

On January 21st of 1959, a freighter travels down the darkened waters of the Buffalo River, headed with the river’s westerly flow.  It’s 10:45 p.m.  She moves effortlessly with the current, her boilers completely cool.  She moves without propulsion, without a captain, without direction.  She is the MacGilvray Shiras, more than 400 feet in length

BRAIN SCIENCE AND BRANDEIS BRIEFS

It should come as no surprise that evidence rules and their application are often without regard to, and indeed in conflict with, scientific findings.  That is a challenge every advocate faces, the law as it is versus the law as it should be.  But science can be enlisted to try and change evidence or evidence-related

THE BORED MURDERER AND THE EXCITED EYEWITNESS

It was dim but the lights and fanfare of the amusement park turned the darkness of a summer night into a lively dusk.  I was 11 years old.  I was standing at the edge of a safety fence looking up and watching carefully as train after train of screeching roller-coaster riders looped through the spirals

If you were dishonest in the past…

There was a time in this nation’s history when jurors knew the witnesses – they were neighbors or more – and had some sense of who was reliable and who was not, who was prone to lie and who could be counted on to tell the truth.[1]  This was probably an imperfect tool, one subject

FALSE CONFESSION SCIENCE

Can trial lawyers and advocacy teachers learn from a book about false confessions, moving beyond that specific problem to more general lessons about jurors, belief systems, and persuasion?  The answer, at least if one reads DUPED, is a resounding “yes.”  Let me take you to that book, the scary phenomenon of false confessions as they

QUESTIONING THE DECLARATION OF A JURY’S INDEPENDENCE

I love teaching Barristers’ Orientation. The only reason I can think that other faculty don’t volunteer for this job is that they just want to squeeze the last possible drops out of their summer before they have to appear at the office for the start of the school year.  I love teaching it because I

THEME OR TRUST – WHICH COMES FIRST?

As advocacy teachers and advocates we thrust “theme” on our students and our audiences [jurors].  We do so with good cause – and we insist that it be embedded in the primacy moment of our presentation.  Our students comply – with somber or indignant righteousness they intone the catchphrase of the case, be it the

THE LIBERATING PROPERTIES OF WEAKER EVIDENCE

It was one of the most surreal accident photographs I have ever seen, defying easy explanation.  The lower half of a leg.  Sturdy.  The foot, bare.  The toenails painted recently, but not so recently to be free of wear and blemish.  The skin was clean with just a hint of mottling nearest to the site