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Lecture 21

01:790:340 Lecture Notes - Lecture 21: The Rub, Adversarial System

Political Science
Course Code
Jefferson Decker

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Blue Bus Scenario
man is driving down the road and is pushed off the road by a blue bus. cannot really see
any distinguishing the specifics of the bus but knows it is blue. He is seeing a blue bus
company bc 80 percent of the blue busses in the city come from that specific bus company.
dos not win the case bc it is not going to reach a jury bc the judge will throw it out and
prob will not be filed bc lawyers will not waste resources on this type of case. This is a case
of naked statistical proof. they are considered a not started bc the adversarial system
cannot do anything with a probability and the y jury may reduce the probability bc ther is
nothing to back it up. Another argument, Richard Posner-if you hold a blue bus liable, it is
unfair to the big guy. blue bus company being singled out for 100 percent of the damages.
they will end up paying for anyone who is run off the road by blue busses. Unfair to big
company. Remove the incentive to drive safely. Witness reliability- Larry tribe-witness
statement needs to be credible. jury nullification-they may use a higher standard of
evidence than the judge's orders. jury-does not know whether it should trust the plaintiff
that he was run off by a bus that he does not see the specifics of, taken in this, maybe they
are under the preponderance of the evidence. Thrown out by jdge bc he knows that the
jury would have to take an Inductive leap bc they will not be able to come with a verdict
that would be acceptable to the public.
Man's run off rod, injured, crashed into tree. night time- glare of headlights into his lane,
thinks it’s a bus. 80 percent. eye witness neighbor witnesses it and sees a blue bus fleeing
from the scene
Evidence and Acceptance
I. Evidence, Events, and Jury Verdicts
A. Charles Nesson: Longtime professor at Harvard Law School, specializes in the law of
B. Argues that trials (and, especially, the verdicts they produce) have multiple
C. Verdicts are a statement about the truth.
D. Verdicts communicate legal rules and norms to the public.
E. The rub: the pursuit of truth and the communication of rules are not always
F. In order to communicate rules, it is less important that a verdict be “true” than it
be “acceptable.”
G. Acceptable verdicts need to make an “inductive leap” from the evidence
presented at trial to a “statement about what happened.”
H. Anything less looks just like a “bet,” and even a bet placed on rather good odds
will be unacceptable. I. Public will not accept that cash damages can be awarded or
that someone might go to prison on account of a “bet.”
J. Nesson: Many of our rules of evidence are designed to protect the acceptability of
verdicts, not to discover the truth.
II. The “Case of the Blue Bus Company.”
find more resources at
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