(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Sunday, July 21, 2002

I'm working on a little article that discusses the principle, often seen at work in criminal cases that reject defendants' "sufficiency of the evidence" arguments, that a jury can disbelieve a defendant's self-exculpatory testimony and then take that disbelieved testimony denying guilt as being actual affirmative substantive evidence of guilt. In other words, if there's even just a little bit of evidence against you, and you take the stand in your own defense, you're basically sunk as far as a sufficiency-of-the-evidence argument. That's the rule in the Eleventh Circuit, at least, and it has some Supreme Court support. My thesis in this little article is that what's good enough for criminal convictions is good enough for civil liability -- and that this same principle (and logical corollaries to it) ought to apply for instance in employment discrimination cases, such that many more plaintiffs would get to trial and many more plaintiff's verdicts would be upheld. Anybody else out there thought of this? Anybody got any ideas? Anybody listening?

posted by sam 2:16 PM 0 comments


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