By the logic of your law course teacher, there would bne ne need for appeals courts, overrulings and reversals as all decisions were correct. I also doubt whether a case study can capture all the nuances of what goes into a decision. Printed documents omit facial expressions, body language, expressions of suprise or disbelief, and even sarcasm unless a lawyer points them out.

Jack Thornton, MINDFEED® Marcomm
Santa Fe, N.M.

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Comment by Larry Lyon on February 13, 2010 at 1:07pm
Trial courts i.e., judges and juries decide issues of fact including making decisions regarding the credibility of witnesses. A witnesses demeanor (facial expressions, body language etc.) are considered to make those decisions. Appellate courts rule on issues of "law" and don't consider except in extreme and extraordinary cases.

What I described is the classic English Common Law system in both the criminal and civil courts. The advance of medical imaging and other technologies that allow views into the brain are being studied by the legal community and the manner in which issues such as "intent" or "mens rea" are decided are likely to change. Patricia Churchland at UC San Diego is a speaker and researcher in this area.

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