The Law: Defining the Evidence

The rules defining admissible trial evidence have been built piecemeal over the years until they now resemble a cross between the Talmud and the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Each rule was usually added for a specific reason, but they vary from state to state, from one of the 93 federal districts to another, even, according to the judge's discretion, from courtroom to courtroom. All too often, the complexity actually impedes a court's efforts to dispense justice. Last week, exercising its administrative authority over the federal judicial system, the Supreme Court issued a 45-page set of...

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