Social Science Evidence in Law

Social Science evidence has come to play an increasingly important role in civil and criminal litigation at all levels of American courts. It is used, for example, in cases involving constitutional litigation, common law issues, trademark infringement, obscenity, discrimination, identification of criminal offenders, potential jury prejudice, misleading advertising, eyewitness reliability, sexual assault, self-defense, dangerousness, and the fashioning of remedies. The goal of this course is to teach law students to become sophisticated consumers and critics of social science evidence. Additionally, the basic methodological principles can be used to critique other forms of evidence including forensic, medical and epidemiological evidence. Students need not have a social science background.
The course involves a mixture of lectures and active learning. The active learning portion of the class will involve groups of three to four students assigned to a substantive topic involving empirical issues. Near the end of the semester each group will make a presentation to the class.

Method of Evaluation
A. Class participation 10%
B. Group project/ presentation 15%
C. Final Paper 75%


Past Sections