Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Malleable Memories

William Saletan of
Slate has begun an eight-part series on the work of famed memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus.

Part I, The Ministry of Truth, recounts a memory experiment Slate conducted: readers were shown photos of four actual news events and one faked event and asked to comment on what they remembered. Many "remembered" the events that never happened. Next they were told that four of the events were real and one was faked. Many chose one of the real events as the fake and continued to "remember" the false one.

Part II, Removable Truths, begins profiling Professor Loftus. Still to come:

I'll fill in those links after the articles appear. [June 25: Just remembered to do this!] In the meantime, if you'd like to read more about Loftus, here is a profile from the Association of Psychological Science Observer: Inside the Psychologist's Studio: The Road Taken.

For a deeper analysis of Loftus's work, see Do Justice and Let the Sky Fall: Elizabeth F. Loftus and Her Contributions to Science, Law, and Academic Freedom (Maryanne Garry & Harlene Hayne eds., 2006), BF109.L64 E45 2006 at Classified Stacks. One of the articles in this volume is Incorporating Elizabeth Loftus's Research on Memory into Reforms to Proect the Innocent, by Prof. Jacqueline McMurtrie, Director of the Innocence Project Northwest Clinic.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Female Advocates' Attire

How should women dress when they appear in court for their clients? Conventional wisdom suggests conservatively: a sober suit with a respectable blouse. But Professor Maureen Howard, Director of the UW's Trial Advocacy Program, suggests that effective advocates need to be credible, and that might mean dressing to reflect one's own personality and tastes.

The biggest risk of adopting "off the rack" clothing advice is ignoring one's own sense of personal authenticity in dress and manner. In such a situation, the clothing "becomes a "costume," undermining the lawyer's credibility and emphasizing the "play within a play" aspect of trial work. . . . A lawyer who maintains her integrity in her dress and emeanor and is consistently genuine -- consistently herself -- is more likely to be perceived as credible and trustworthy.
Maureen A. Howard, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: One Size Does Not Fit All When It Comes to Courtroom Attire for Women, 45 Gonz. L. Rev. 209, 216 (2009/10), LexisNexis get 45 gonz l rev 209, Westlaw
Find 45 gonz l rev 209. Howard supports her argument with observations from her experience as well as citations to practice guides and scholarly literature.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity: Balancing Public Safety With Disability Rights

This morning Weekday on KUOW looks at Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity: Balancing Public Safety With Disability Rights, interviewing King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and Gonzaga law professor Mary Pat Treuthart.

They discuss Wash. Laws of 2010, ch. 263, which establishes a public safety review panel to advise courts when the state mental hospital recommends the release of someone who had been found not guilty by reason of insanity.