The decision by New Jersey’s Supreme Court last week to overhaul the state’s rules for how judges and jurors treat evidence from police lineups could help transform the way officers conduct a central technique of police work, criminal justice experts say.
In its ruling, the court strongly endorsed decades of research demonstrating that traditional eyewitness identification procedures are flawed and can send innocent people to prison. By making it easier for defendants to challenge witness evidence in criminal cases, the court for the first time attached consequences for investigators who fail to take steps to reduce the subtle pressures and influences on witnesses that can result in mistaken identifications.
This year’s entering college class of 2015 was born just as the Internet took everyone onto the information highway and as Amazon began its relentless flow of books and everything else into their lives. Members of this year’s freshman class, most of them born in 1993, are the first generation to grow up taking the word “online” for granted and for whom crossing the digital divide has redefined research, original sources and access to information, changing the central experiences and methods in their lives. They have come of age as women assumed command of U.S. Navy ships, altar girls served routinely at Catholic Mass, and when everything from parents analyzing childhood maladies to their breaking up with boyfriends and girlfriends, sometimes quite publicly, have been accomplished on the Internet.
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People’s desires to see themselves as moral actors can contribute to their striving for and achievement of a sense of self-completeness. The authors use self-completion theory to predict (and show) that recalling one’s own (im)moral behavior leads to compensatory rather than consistent moral action as a way of completing the moral self. In three studies, people who recalled their immoral behavior reported greater participation in moral activities (Study 1), reported stronger prosocial intentions (Study 2), and showed less cheating (Study 3) than people who recalled their moral behavior. These compensatory effects were related to the moral magnitude of the recalled event, but they did not emerge when people recalled their own positive or negative nonmoral behavior (Study 2) or others’ (im)moral behavior (Study 3). Thus, the authors extend self-completion theory to the moral domain and use it to integrate the research on moral cleansing (remunerative moral strivings) and moral licensing (relaxed moral strivings).
“Writing,” said lawyer Abraham Lincoln in 1859, is “the great invention of the world.” From ancient times, the writer’s craft has captivated leading figures in literature, non-lawyers who are remembered most often for what they wrote, and not for what they said about how to write. Their commentary about the writing process, however, seems unsurprising because facility with the written language brought recognition in their day and later in history.
Like most other close analogies, analogies between literature and legal writing may be imperfect at their edges. “Literature is not the goal of lawyers,” wrote Justice Felix Frankfurter nearly 80 years ago, “though they occasionally attain it.” “The law,” said Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes even earlier, “is not the place for the artist or the poet.”
Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog has posted for a second time on the notion gaining some attention on the Internet of law schools creating law firms. His post includes links to other blog posts and articles on the topic. Click to read "More on The Law School Law Firm".
A thoughtful colleague pointed out that over the past 50 years we have experimented with many different ways to humanize medicine. Recently, a few of our attempts have included explicitly promoting empathy, inculcating cultural competence, and offering courses on narrative medicine. This is not to say that any of these approaches have failed, but we are still searching—and recent evidence suggests that medicine retains powerful dehumanizing characteristics. The continuation of the problem might reflect the challenge that ongoing expansion of medical capabilities and demand poses to humane care, but it might also reflect an important omission in the humanizing initiatives—an explicit focus on self-care of practitioners’ own humanity. The increasing awareness of burnout and stress among physicians and how physician well-being affects patient care might explain the developing interest in mindfulness, one of the few self-care practices for which there is empirical evidence of benefit. A PubMed search of the terms mindfulness and mindful revealed the following trend: 10 articles published between 1969 and 1978; 22 articles published between 1979 and 1988; 93 articles published between 1989 and 1998; and 300 articles published between 1999 and 2008 (including 80 in 2008). In addition, we found that 16 medical schools in North America, including Harvard, Duke, and McGill, offer courses on mindfulness to medical students and health care practitioners. Our purpose here is to point out some features of mindfulness that could threaten its long-term viability in medicine, while clarifying its potential role in improving medical practice.
CAMDEN — Lawyers are storytellers. Sure, presenting facts and data using legalese plays an important role in court, but at the end of the day, it’s the lawyer’s job to tell the client’s story.
Learning how to craft that story is something the Rutgers School of Law–Camden is working to incorporate into its students’ legal education.
“Storytelling really is part of general lawyering skills, just as much as legal analysis, logic, and argumentation,” says Ruth Anne Robbins, a clinical professor of law and director of lawyering programs at Rutgers–Camden. “We’re saying story structure and storytelling are part of all of that. Story and logic don’t conflict; one does not exclude the other. Everything lawyers write about, every argument they make, goes back to a theme and flows like a story.”
Robbins, of Cherry Hill, says that teaching storytelling goes beyond the traditionally-taught concepts to explore the role of narrative in law practice. It is essential to connecting with clients and engaging the judicial as well as courtroom audience.
“The first thing I tell my students is that they’re here to tell their client’s story,” Robbins says. “You don’t hire a lawyer to just craft syllogisms. Clients want their story told. It’s all part of how a lawyer can work through the client’s problems and understand what that client is looking for.”
The Rutgers School of Law–Camden offers a course to second- and third-year law students called “Advanced Legal Writing: Constructing Narratives,” but pieces of that course are also being