Science Manual for Judges Updated by Evan Koblentz
From the post:
A new guidebook for judges and legal professionals, the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, became available Wednesday, replacing the previous edition published in 2000.
The 1,038-page manual explains scientific concepts, shows how evidence can be manipulated, and cites judicial decisions. It’s free for downloading and online reading, and there is a $79.95 paperback version.
“The new manual was developed in collaboration with the Federal Judicial Center, which produced the previous editions, and was rigorously peer-reviewed in accordance with the procedures of the National Research Council,” both organizations explained in a public statement. “The reference manual is intended to assist judges with the management of cases involving complex scientific and technical evidence; it is not intended, however, to instruct judges on what evidence should be admissible.”
Although intended for judges, the manual is useful for anyone in the legal community, its authors stated. It contains an introduction by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and new chapters about forensic science, mental health, and neuroscience — but not computer science.
“We entertained a chapter on computer technology and unfortunately the language of the chapter was too complex, at least as evaluated by our committee, and we thought that by the time the chapter came in, it was really too late to engage another author in the development of the chapter,” said committee co-chair Jerome Kassirer, professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine, in a public conference to announce the manual.
Well, that leaves a gaping hole for someone to plug for judges and other legal professionals.
Need to run reading level software on the current text and cycle a reading level checker over prose as it was being written.
To illustrate the usefulness of topic maps, add in references to cases where some aspect of computer technology has been discussed or is the subject of litigation. Particularly where terminology has changed. Include illustrations that a judge can use to demonstrate their understanding of the technology.
Free access to all members of the judiciary and their staffs to a dynamically updated publication (no dead tree models) that presents summaries of any changes (don’t have to hunt for them). All others by subscription.