Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Additions to Grits' Reading Pile: On prosecutors, pretrial detention, plea bargaining, and more

Let's add a few items to Grits' reading pile, and perhaps to your own. First,

On pretrial detention
On Prosecutors
David Alan Sklansky says the least understood "problem with prosecutors" is the ambiguity of their role. Here's a brief item on "Post-conviction Prosecutorial Duties."

On Forensics
Brandon Garrett and Chris Fabricant analyzed 229 Daubert rulings (admitting scientific or expert evidence) purporting to assess the "reliability" of forensic evidence and found that the "reliability test" is seldom applied and almost never used to exclude potentially unreliable testimony.

On Instructing Juries
See an interesting proposal for fixing known flaws in common jury instructions surrounding "beyond a reasonable doubt" by articulating for their jury their relative strength compared to lower burden-of-proof thresholds, like "preponderance" or "clear and convincing."

On the Fourth Amendment
The title evokes one of the most vexing legal questions of the digital age: "The Third Party Doctrine and the Future of the Cloud." Can't wait for Carpenter to come out!

On Plea Bargains
A coupla items here:
On Competency Restoration
This was a long-time Grits hobby horse to which of late I haven't had the bandwidth to pay much attention. But I've long been a fan of at least testing outpatient models - mainly as an expression of my lack of confidence that the Texas Legislature will ever sufficiently fund forensic beds at state mental hospitals - and have regretted that Texas never doubled down on that strategy after testing it in pilot programs. So I'm interested to read this academic offering from Susan McMahon out of Georgetown Law titled, "Reforming Competence Restoration Statutes: An Outpatient Model." Texas' failed system for competency restoration at state mental hospitals has been underfunded to the point of crisis since at least the earliest days of this humble opuscule. Maybe she can point to a better path.


Anonymous said...

re: On Forensics

Why don't crime labs post online their lab validation studies for the protocols they use? It seems that peer review should be a criteria before presentation to a jury, and I would think that most reputable forensic scientists would welcome scrutiny.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Since you mention it, 10:11, here's one that didn't make the list but perhaps should have, "The Five Functions of Forensic Science and the Validation Issues They Raise."

Anonymous said...

re: On Forensics

For those interested, Brandon Garrett and Chris Fabricant will be presenting at a conference "Forensics, Statistics, and Law" on March 26. (It's free and open to the public if you can make it to Virginia).


As I am told, it most likely will be live streamed, and a recording will be uploaded to youtube.com/uvalaw.

Anonymous said...

the ... from patent unfairness to transparency link does not work or does not pull up the article.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...


Another short read

Anonymous said...

The push to heighten the burden-of-proof thresholds is another example of how criminals are a protected class that is able to elude consequences for their behavior. The idea that certain individuals are not responsible for their choices and their behavior supports this push.

Anonymous said...

Protected class?????? Lolololol

Karl F said...

They are not criminals until they are convicted. Remember "innocent until proven guilty"? And even those who have been convicted may not be guilty after all.

And "the push to heighten the burden of proof thresholds" ?? Are you arguing that Texas should lower the burden of proof? Maybe a simple allegation of a crime is "good enough" for you?

Try reading the National Registry of Exonerations. Maybe you will learn something.

Anonymous said...

You should always protect your cash cow ;)

Will Yablome said...