Monday, October 10, 2011

Judge Wants Attorneys to Behave

As Jay Mehring's case against Spokane and the city's chief of police for defamation and wrongful termination approaches its trial date, the judge says she is "sick of" the attorneys' behavior:

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Kathleen O'Connor had choice words Thursday for attorneys on both sides of the Jay Mehring civil case.
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She ordered attorneys Bob Dunn and Ellen O'Hara to appear before her this afternoon "no matter what" with an agreed upon statement in the case and a list of issues that are in dispute and issues that aren't.

She threatened to hold the lawyers in contempt if they weren't able to do so "because I am sick of this."

The judge also warned that she would have no time to look at motions for reconsideration, "so assume that they're all going to be denied."

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The judge also picked up a report she said had been submitted that morning in violation of a previous order.

"See this? The one I got today? In the waste basket!" she said, holding up the waste basket.
Judge Calls Mehring Case 'Dysfunctional,' Spokesman Review, Oct. 7, 2011.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Avoiding Tech Meltdowns in Court

The current issue of Law Technology News features Robyn Weismann, Wrong Way: Preventing (and Recovering From) Courtroom Snafus, Oct. 1, 2011.

Related content:

Just today I was about to give a presentation in a classroom when I discovered that my PowerPoint file was not in the folder where I thought I'd saved it. Fortunately I found it, and it was just a small classroom talk, not a million-dollar trial, but the two minutes when I wasn't sure where the darn slides had gone gave me a taste of what these articles (and podcast) are talking about.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Scientific Evidence Manual

DNA identification, economic estimates of damages, psychiatric evidence of competence to stand trial, engineers' testimony about product defects—there's a lot of scientific testimony in today's courtrooms. How can judges—who are not statisticians, geneticists, economists, epidemiologists, engineers, or psychiatrists—intelligently manage this flood of information?

To address this challenge, the Federal Judicial Center and the National Research Council have published the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence. The first edition was in 1994, the second in 2000, and the third edition was released this week.

This book would be useful to anyone wanting an introduction to scientific evidence. Chapters include:

  • The Admissibility of Expert Testimony
  • How Science Works
  • Reference Guide on Forensic Identification Expertise
  • Reference Guide on DNA Identification Evidence
  • Reference Guide on Statistics
  • Reference Guide on Multiple Regression
  • Reference Guide on Survey Research
  • Reference Guide on Estimation of Economic Damages
  • Reference Guide on Exposure Science
  • Reference Guide on Epidemiology
  • Reference Guide on Toxicology
  • Reference Guide on Medical Testimony
  • Reference Guide on Neuroscience
  • Reference Guide on Mental Health Evidence
  • Reference Guide on Engineering
The book is available for free reading online; you can also download a PDF of any chapter or of the whole book. And the library will soon order it in paper.

See Science Manual for Judges Updated, Law Technology News, Sept. 29, 2011.