Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Publication Title

Alabama Law Review

Publication Title (Abbreviation)

Ala. L. Rev.

Volume

66

Issue

3

First Page

471

Last Page

492

Abstract

In this Essay, I examine Professor Stein's intriguing new theory of evidential efficiency, which posits that judges should admit evidence whenever it has a sufficiently high "signal-to-noise ratio." I explore a slightly different definition of the concepts of "signal" and "noise" than Stein, based upon likelihood ratio values rather than the underlying probabilities of events, and I explain why these altered concepts may be analytically superior. Additionally, I call into question the strength of the connection between the signal-to-noise ratio of a piece of evidence and the costs of admitting it at trial. Nevertheless, Stein's project is worthy of great praise because it focuses our attention on the fact that evidentiary rules have many costs beyond their direct contributions to outcome accuracy. Failing to consider these costs does great harm to individual litigants, the justice system, and society at large.

Rights

© 2015 Mark Spottswood

Comments

First published in Alabama Law Review.

Faculty Biography

http://law.fsu.edu/our-faculty/profiles/spottswood

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