574 Lying and The Law of Questioning

This seminar will address the way in which legal institutions define and detect dishonesty. We will first discuss what is sometimes called “post-truth” discourse and the seeming suspension of fact-finding and truth-seeking in public life. The criminal justice system is both a natural habitat for dishonesty and the place where achieving accuracy is most important. Accordingly, we will use the context of investigations and trials to explore some larger themes about establishing factual baselines despite intense conflict. Topics will include liability for dishonest statements in investigations and testimony, interrogation practices, the problem of false confessions, incentivized witnesses, character and credibility, cross examination, storytelling at trial, and lie detection in the laboratory, courtroom, and popular culture. Readings will be posted on line and will include excerpts from law review articles and scholarly books, works of social science, investigative reporting, documentary footage, editorial commentary, and popular culture. The one-credit class will meet roughly every other Wednesday during the spring semester. There will be short writing assignments, and students will receive feedback on both written expression and class participation. Students who plan significant research projects on related topics may register for a second credit.

Course Areas of Practice
Course Type
Seminar
2019
Spring 2019
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

574.01 1
  • Reflection Papers
  • Class participation
Lisa Kern Griffin W 2:00-3:50 PM 4172

This seminar will address the way in which legal institutions define and detect dishonesty. We will first discuss what is sometimes called “post-truth” discourse and the seeming suspension of fact-finding and truth-seeking in public life. The criminal justice system is both a natural habitat for dishonesty and the place where achieving accuracy is most important. Accordingly, we will use the context of investigations and trials to explore some larger themes about establishing factual baselines despite intense conflict. Topics will include liability for dishonest statements in investigations and testimony, interrogation practices, the problem of false confessions, incentivized witnesses, character and credibility, cross examination, storytelling at trial, and lie detection in the laboratory, courtroom, and popular culture. Readings will be posted on line and will include excerpts from law review articles and scholarly books, works of social science, investigative reporting, documentary footage, editorial commentary, and popular culture. The one-credit class will meet roughly every other Wednesday during the spring semester. There will be short writing assignments, and students will receive feedback on both written expression and class participation. Students who plan significant research projects on related topics may register for a second credit.

Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None
2017
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Day/Times Room

574.01 1
  • Reflection Papers
  • Class participation
Lisa Kern Griffin W 10:30-12:20 PM 4040

This seminar will address the way in which legal institutions define and detect dishonesty. We will first discuss what many are calling “post-truth” discourse and the seeming suspension of fact-finding and truth-seeking in some arenas of public life. Investigations and trials retain the aspiration to identify facts on the ground and prompt honest statements. Accordingly, we will explore the “law of questioning” that governs legal truth-seeking and consider where it succeeds and fails. Our particular focus will be on the criminal justice process, and topics will include interrogation practices, the problem of false confessions, liability for dishonest statements in investigations and testimony, cross examination, character and credibility, and lie detection in the laboratory, courtroom, and popular culture. Readings will range widely and will include excerpts from law review articles and scholarly books, works of social science, investigative reporting, documentary footage, editorial commentary, and popular culture. The one-credit class will meet roughly every other Wednesday during the spring semester. There will be short writing assignments, and students will receive feedback on both written expression and class participation. Students who plan significant research projects on related topics may register for a second credit.

Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None
Enrollment Restrictions
None

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.