Re: Judge Jones discusses his opinion in Kitzmiller v. Dover

From: Chris Barden <chris.barden@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Feb 28 2006 - 08:51:43 EST

It seems to me that adjudicating whether something qualifies as
"science" is akin to a finding of fact, which is something appeals
courts are not usually called upon to make. So in that sense, all the
jurisprudence since Aguillard could be seen as fundamentally flawed.
Judge Jones was in a position to make such a finding, and indeed was
bound to the rulings of higher courts. But he didn't necessarily to
have to follow their lead in building new case law on the
epistemically shaky grounds of what is/is not science.

Now David, does this track with what you're saying? Is the question
of Jones' decision akin to questions about Overton's, for example?

Chris

On 2/28/06, David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com> wrote:
> Am I to conclude that in the US legal system, a judge listening to all
> that expert evidence *from both sides* was just wasting his time? And
> the experts on both sides were also wasting their time? Do US judges
> have no obligation to avoid the wastage of time? Can US judges make
> completely arbitrary decisions about what happens in their courtrooms?
>
> Judges in the U.S. have broad discretion to determine the scope, timing, and
> order of testimony. A Judge is not required to hear expert testimony on an
> issue that is not relevant to the case. Even if there is an issue as to
> which expert testimony is relevant, the Judge has broad discretion to limit
> the number of such witnesses and the duration of their testimony. Further,
> once a Judge receives expert (or lay) testimony, the Judge is free to
> determine that it is not essential or otherwise irrelevant.
>
> This happens every day in every trial court throughout the U.S. The last
> patent infringment case I handled involved the use of ultraviolet light to
> disinfect water. Each side presented two expert witnesses with Ph.D.'s in
> fields related to the technology at issue. The Judge's thirty page ruling
> made no mention at all of any of the expert testimony. He ruled on
> different grounds that he apparently believed did not require reference to
> the voluminous expert testimony presented at the hearing. Se la guerre.
>
> There's nothing weird or negligent about this, it's just how the U.S.
> adversarial system works. The parties present the case, but at the end of
> the day the Judge or jury makes the decision, and often the Judge or jury
> doesn't agree with either of the parties. Whether this all is a "waste of
> time" is an interesting question. Some would argue that the process has
> social value simply in allowing parties to air their claims in a public
> forum, and that we might expect "neutral" decision makers to discount the
> one-sided presentations of the advocates. Others would argue that the
> system is bloated and inefficient. The truth lies probably somewhere in
> between.
>
>
> On 2/27/06, Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz> wrote:
> > David Opderbeck wrote:
> >
> > > / Further, once the expert witnesses
> > > on both sides started talking about Intelligent Design, Judge Jones was
> > > obliged to listen to what they had to say. And having listened at length
> > > he was left with no sensible option other than to rule on the status
> > > of ID. /
> > >
> > > Sigh. No, he wasn't "obliged" to listen to anyone about anything.
> > > He's the Judge, he controlls the courtroom. Further, he wasn't
> > > obliged to rule one way or the other once the evidence was
> > > introduced. That's just not how courts work.
> > >
> >
> > Am I to conclude that in the US legal system, a judge listening to all
> > that expert evidence *from both sides* was just wasting his time? And
> > the experts on both sides were also wasting their time? Do US judges
> > have no obligation to avoid the wastage of time? Can US judges make
> > completely arbitrary decisions about what happens in their courtrooms?
> > Don
> >
>
>
Received on Tue Feb 28 08:52:14 2006

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