Legal Theory Systems

Download A Theory of the Trial. by Robert P. Burns PDF

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By Robert P. Burns

Anyone who has sat on a jury or a high-profile trial on tv often involves the belief trial, fairly a legal trial, is known as a functionality. Verdicts look decided as a lot wherein legal professional can top hook up with the hearts and minds of the jurors as through what the facts may possibly recommend. during this occasion of the yankee trial as a very good cultural success, Robert Burns, a tribulation attorney and a informed thinker, explores how those criminal complaints lead to justice. The trial, he reminds us, isn't restrained to the neutral program of felony principles to authentic findings. Burns depicts the trial as an establishment utilizing its personal language and varieties of functionality that raise the certainty of decision-makers, bringing them in touch with ethical resources past the bounds of law.

Burns explores the wealthy narrative constitution of the trial, starting with the attorneys' commencing statements, which determine opposing ethical frameworks within which to interpret the proof. within the succession of witnesses, tales compete and are held in rigidity. sooner or later throughout the functionality, a feeling of the precise factor to do arises one of the jurors. How this occurs is on the center of Burns's research, which attracts on cautious descriptions of what trial legal professionals do, the principles governing their activities, interpretations of tangible trial fabric, social technology findings, and a extensive philosophical and political appreciation of the trial as a special motor vehicle of yankee self-government.

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Extra resources for A Theory of the Trial.

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5 See chapter 5, below. 6 The rules and practices are sometimes the results of the conscious imposition, if you will, of a philosophical conviction. We should never forget Lord Keynes: “Practical men, who believe themselves quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. ” However, those convictions are more often deep convictions that provide the implicit public philosophy of an era, worked out implicitly in the process of debates over institutional realities.

19 There are also what might be called extrinsic reasons to choose one among a range of possible stories to the jury. One story, but not another, 18 19 Binder and Bergman, Fact Investigation, 171–72. See chapter 3, below. 20 One story but not another might allow for recovery against a certain defendant more able than another to compensate the plaintiff for his injury. One story but not another might pass muster under a statute of limitations. ” and also tell a persuasive story to the jury while not violating prohibitions on suborning or assisting perjury or presenting false evidence?

There are, however, problems with this understanding of the trial, some of which are visible even in its legal structure. Indeed, they reflect a considered, though muted, public determination to preserve the trial as something other than that envisioned by the Received View. 48 Other problems emerge from reflection by participants and social scientists on the actual practice of judges, lawyers, witnesses, and juries. These may, of course, be dismissed as mere deviations from the ideal expressed by the Received View, deviations that await the next wave of reform.

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