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Welcome—to “The Art of Evidence”

September 7, 2018

My name is John Cannon Few. I am a Justice on the Supreme Court of South Carolina, but in my heart, I’m still a trial lawyer! I love the study of how trial lawyers and trial judges deal with the admissibility of evidence. I love the human dynamics of a trial, in which real trial lawyers put their hearts into helping people solve real problems. And I love how those human dynamics affect the evidence issues that arise. In short, I love the passion of a trial lawyer! This blog is built on that passion.

I spent the last thirty years in a courtroom, face-to-face with that passion, and I know how evidence actually works in trials. I tried dozens of cases from counsel table with and against the best lawyers in the South. For ten years I tried hundreds of cases from the trial bench with the best lawyers from anywhere. For the last eight years, I have worked in appellate courtrooms reviewing thousands of cases in which the best trial lawyers and trial judges handle evidence. I have taught evidence. I gave my first of many continuing legal education classes on the admissibility of evidence over twenty-five years ago. In 2004, I began teaching Evidence to trial judges at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. I started teaching Evidence classes in law schools in 2007, and I have been teaching “Advanced Evidence” at the University of South Carolina School of Law since 2012. So, I should have learned a bit about how evidence actually works in trials.

This blog—“The Art of Evidence”—will be my outlet for the hard lessons I have learned in all those years. I will cover it all, from general posts about hearsay, character, and experts, to specific posts about how to analyze reliability for non-opinion scientific knowledge, the authentication of GPS tracking data, and whether so-called “investigatory statements” made to law enforcement officers should be excluded under the rule against hearsay. With what I have learned about these topics and others, I hope to generate a broader discussion among trial lawyers, trial and appellate judges, and academics, about the practical use of evidence in trials. So, I invite the academics to point out to us how we can make our work more academically sound, but I promise my readers that what you read here is practically sound. I am going to write about the manner in which the best trial lawyers and trial judges in America handle evidence issues in real courtrooms, to solve the problems of real people.

So, please follow along and join me in this discussion. Follow the blog—literally—which you can do by clicking in the lower right-hand corner. Write your thoughts in public comments on the blog, or in private messages to me at johncfew@gmail.com or through Twitter at @jcfew. If you have thoughts about other topics I should cover, share those too.

Thank You!

John Cannon Few

 

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