In the 1948 case Michelson v. United States, the Supreme Court was urged to adopt a new rule for cross-examinations about prior arrests. Justice Jackson, writing for the majority, declined the invitation, opining that “to pull one misshapen stone out of the grotesque structure is more likely simply to upset its present balance between adverse interests than to establish a rational edifice.”

In the 65 years since Justice Jackson wrote these words, evidence law has undergone extensive reforms. But has it evolved? Can it? Has evidence reform facilitated the pursuit of justice in our courts, or has it simply endeavored to build a rational edifice out of misshapen stones?

When its new Rules of Evidence go into effect on January 1, 2013, Georgia will be the forty-fourth state to adopt a new evidence code modeled on the Federal Rules of Evidence. The Symposium issue of the Georgia Law Review’s 47th volume will celebrate the modernization of Georgia’s evidence code by examining the broader reform movement from which it grew. Contributors will comment on the achievements and shortcomings of evidence reform as they pertain to specific areas of trial work. By dedicating this year’s Symposium to the topic, the Review hopes to provide a forum for discussion and debate about the past, present, and future of evidence law.

The Symposium is sponsored by the University of Georgia School of Law and the Georgia Law Review.


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Friday, January 18th
9:30 AM

Keynote Address by Ray Persons

Ray Persons, King & Spalding LLP

Larry Walker Room, Dean Rusk Hall

9:30 AM - 10:15 AM

10:30 AM

Trial Practice Panel

Daniel Blinka, Marquette University Law School
Robert Burns, Northwestern University Law School
Erica J. Hashimoto, University of Georgia

Larry Walker Room, Dean Rusk Hall

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Questions Presented: Has evidence reform achieved a fairer trial? Has it stream-lined the trial? What is the future of the trial? Has evidence reform promoted the presentation of coherent narratives at trial?

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12:30 PM

The Pursuit of Truth Panel

Keith Findley, University of Wisconsin Law School
Paul Milich, Georgia State University School of Law
Michael Risinger, Seton Hall University Law School
Andrea L. Dennis, University of Georgia School of Law

Larry Walker Room, Dean Rusk Hall

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Questions Presented: Is there a moral foundation to evidence law? Does it compel the pursuit of truth? Has the goal of evidence reform been to obfuscate or clarify the truth? Are exclusionary rules and privileges incompatible with truth-seeking? Has the liberalization of evidence rules brought us closer to exposing “truth” at trial?

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2:00 PM

Science in the Courtroom Panel

Julian A. Cook, University of Georgia School of Law
Ronald L. Carlson, University of Georgia School of Law
Edward Imwinkelried, University of California - Davis, Law School
Julie Seaman, Emory University School of Law

Larry Walker Room, Dean Rusk Hall

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Questions Presented: Has Federal Rule 702 established a workable standard for expert testimony? How should experts in emerging sciences like voice spectrography be qualified? Do the Daubert and Kumho standards ensure reliability?

View panel: