Evidence 2007

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Welcome to the Evidence 2007 Course Wiki!

View the introductory video!

Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software. You can also try things out in the Sandbox.

To create an account, simply click on the "login/create account" link in the upper right corner of your screen and follow the instructions from there.

If you have any problems getting an account, email nesson@law.harvard.edu, subject line "Evidence2007"

Class Information

This class meets January 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon in the Austin North, Harvard Law School. Adjunct/At-Large activities including workshops, group meetings and mock trial will take place in at times to be announced in Second Life.

Our goal is to enhance each participant's understanding of the purpose and process of proof in a court of law and of the process of learning and performing in real and second life. At the core of the course is the ideal of the good lawyer.

The approach of this Evidence course is to devote a series of lectures and associated readings and assignments to the purpose, rules and practice of proof in courts of law. This portion of the course will be examined in a two-hour in-class test on January 12, 2007, 9-11:00 a.m. This exam will be graded as prescribed by the faculty manual of Harvard Law School.

The remaining sessions of the course will be devoted to group work and mock trail. This portion of the course will be evaluated pass/fail; if "pass" the course grade will be the exam grade; if "fail" (should it occur) the course grade will be lower.

Class Prerequisites: There are no mandatory prerequisites beyond a good machine, a net connection, and eagerness to learn about and participate in American Law's jury-trial process of dispute resolution.

Professor Contact Information: Office hours are Thursday afternoons in Griswold 501, but office visits may be arranged for any time during the winter semester. The best way to contact me is through e-mail. Send all e-mail to nesson@law.harvard.edu. IMPORTANT, type in the subject line: “Evidence2007”.

Laptops in Class: Please bring your laptop to class. Use of laptops in class will at times be encouraged and at other times not, depending on what we are doing. If you are using your laptop, please join the Evidence 2007 Backchannel chat room to discuss class during class with your classmates.

At-Large Participation

At-Large Participant Home Page

Evidence 2007 is open to the public for at-large participation. All at-large participation will take place on Berkman Island in Second Life and on this wiki.

During the first two weeks of the class we will be posting a video lecture series on this site and in Second Life called "The Levin Lectures". These lectures, given by distinguished advocate Martin Levin, Esq., will cover topics in trial advocacy. We will also have discussion meetings in Second Life at which we will discuss the content of the lecture videos. The discussion meetings will take place Monday, January 8th at 8:00pm EST (5:00pm SLT) and Monday, January 15th at 8:00pm EST. The discussion meetings will take place in the outdoor amphitheater on Berkman Island in Second Life.

In the final week of the class we will doing a first-of-its-kind Second Life event. We will be holding a moot trial of Bragg v. Linden Labs in our new courtroom on Berkman Island. Bragg v. Linden Labs is a real case currently making its way through the United States federal court system. Bragg is a former Second Life resident whose SL account was terminated and SL property was seized by Linden Labs after they determined that he had exploited the property purchasing system. He is suing for the value of his SL property that he bought through legitimate means in Second Life. We will try the case twice in our courtroom, once under the Second Life Terms of Service Agreement and once at common law. Professor Nesson will serve as the judge in both trials. Teams of Harvard Law students enrolled in Evidence will serve as the lawyers. We are seeking volunteers from within the Second Life community to serve as jurors or to role play the parts of witnesses. We also welcome all at-large participants to participate in the trial by sitting in the public gallery from which we can see all the action in the courtroom but also have our own discussion of the proceedings without disrupting them.

The teaching fellow for the at-large participants is Rebecca Nesson (Rebecca Berkman in Second Life). She will be leading the discussion sections during the first two weeks of class, organizing at-large participants who would like to take an active role in one or both of the trials, and leading discussion in the public gallery during the trials. If you would like to participate, feel free to email Rebecca at rebeccanesson@gmail.com or IM Rebecca Berkman in Second Life or just show up for one of the events!

January 2:

Nesson: Introduction to Course

  • Discussion of syllabus, class plan and requirements, group work, laptops in class, the Question Tool
  • introduction to the law lord, jury process
  • introduction of Martin Levin and Levin Lectures

Levin: Introduction to Trial Law and Pre-Trial Procedure

  • Overview discussion of trial process, terminology and roles
  • Initial Pleadings—Complaint, Answer, Reply
  • Discovery—Generally, Interrogatories, Requests to Produce, Requests to Admit, Non-Party Production, Depositions, Electronic Discovery
  • Pre-Trial Conference--Pre-Trial Memorandum, Motions in Limine, Witness & Exhibit List, Jury Instructions, Verdict Form, Trial Briefs
  • Initial Trial Preparation--File Organization, Trial Subpoenas, Venire List, Jury Instructions, Verdict Form, Examination Preparation, Deposition Readings and Videos, Stipulated Facts, Interrogatory Publication, Request to Admit Publication, Demonstrative Aids and Exhibits, Order of Proof, Opening Statement, Closing Argument, Voir Dire, Directed Verdict


  • Familiarize yourself with the pleadings in Bragg v. Linden Labs.
  • Log In to Second Life, choose an avatar, orient yourself, come to Berkman Island.

A page for those who would like to engage in a Discussion of the Bragg. v. Linden Labs Pleadings.

Levin's Reading on Pre-Trial Procedure

Nesson: audio journal 3jan07

January 3:

Nesson: Reaction and feedback on day one,

Levin: Trial Presentation

  • Theme of Case
  • Stylistic Issues
  • Exhibits and Demonstrative Aid Tools—Adobe Photoshop, Aerial Photography, Computer Animations, Diagnostic Scans, Medical Exhibits, Microsoft PowerPoint, Roxio Complete Media Creator, Scanners, Sympodium, Timelines, Trial Director, Vacuum Mounted Boards, Verdict Systems Sanction Software, Video Projectors, Visual Presenters
  • Motions in Limine

Nesson: Division of Function between Judge and Jury

  • The Rim
  • Procedure for handling issues of fact relating to proof of the complaint
  • Procedure for handling issues of fact relating to issues of law
  • Procedure for handling issues of law


Nesson, "The Evidence or the Event? On Judicial Proof and the Acceptability of Verdicts"
American Jury

Levin's Reading on Trial Presentation

Questions from the Question Tool 1/03/07

Thoughts Provoked:

January 4:

Nesson: The Rules

Levin: Voir Dire

  • Theory
  • Focus Groups
  • Electronic Juries
  • Mock Trials
  • Venire Lists
  • Seating Charts
  • Juror Questionnaires
  • Venire Questioning
  • Jury Selection Software
  • Legal Doctrine

Nesson: Burden of Proof

  • Concepts - Reasonable Doubt, Proof to a Preponderance
  • Constitutional grounding
  • Inferential Proof and the problem of the Blue Bus
  • Statistical Proof and the problem of the Prison Yard


Amar, The Bill of Rights and our Posterity (particularly "story eight")
Duncan v.Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 (1968)
In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358 (1970)
Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986)
J.E.B. v.Alabama, 511 U.S. 127(1994)



Sasy Drum 1- Sarah Hyman 2- Amy Sharpe 3- Scott Lemmon 4- Yared Alula 5- Ran Frazier 6- Jenna Steinhauer 7- Maru Smith 8- Damien Wint

Necker 1- Ellen Ching 2- Naila Mckenzie 3- John Engel 4- David Lawson 5- Allan Nguyen 6- David Ginn 7- Ken Stalter

SuperLawyer 1- Mike Redmond 2- James Orlando 3- Juano Queen 4- Becky Goldberg 5- Shailesh Sahay 6- Julia Miller 7- Mark Jensen 8- Rob Kent

Section5Plus1 1- Howard Block 2- Steve Gee 3- Lena Konanova 4- Chuoh Ngeh 5- Andrew O'Connor 6- Josh Roper 7- David Simon

January 5:

Nesson: Character as Relevant/Prejudicial Evidence

People v. Zackowitz, 254 N.Y. 192, 172 N.E. 466 (1930)
Return to the Scene of the Crime
"Money or Death"
Huddleston v U.S., 485 U.S. 681 (1988)
United States v. Beechum, 582 F.2d 898 (5th Cir. 1978)
Proof of Defendant's Good Character
Proof of Defendant's Violent Character
The Mayor
Careless Smoker
Tanford & Bocchino, Rape Shield Laws and the Sixth Amendment
Prostitution, Rape or Both?
Explanation for Pregnancy
State v. Jacques, 558 A.2d 706 (Me. 1989)

Levin: Opening Statement

  • Fundamentals
  • Format
  • Issues
  • Law

Nesson: Power of Narrative

  • Lawyer Credibility

January 8:

Levin: Examinations 1

  • Evidentiary Issues
  • Direct Examination
  • Redirect Examination
  • Expert Examination
  • Exhibits
  • Objections
  • Create your witness and exhibit list to be utilized at trial.
  • Prepare two (2) direct examinations, of which at least one (1) includes the introduction of an exhibit.

Nesson: Confrontation

  • From Raleigh to Crawford
The Treason Trial of Walter Raleigh
Mattox v. United States, 156 U.S. 237 (1895)
Crawford v. Washington, 124 S. Ct. 1354 (2004)
Davis v. Washington(2006)

January 9:

Levin Examinations 2

  • Cross-Examination
  • Witness & Exhibit Lists
  • Order of Proof
  • Motion for Directed Verdict

Nesson: Experts

Daubert v. Merrell Dow 113 S. Ct. 2786 (1993)
General Electric Co. v. Joiner,522 U.S. 136 (1997)
Kumho Tire Company v. Carmichael, 119 S.Ct. 1167 (1999)
Daubert v. Merrell Dow (on remand),43 F.3d 1311 (9th Cir. 1995)

January 10:

Levin: Jury Instructions & Verdict Form

  • Theory
  • Doctrine

Nesson: Hearsay in Theory

L. Tribe, Triangulating Hearsay
J. Falknor, Evidence of Conduct
R. Park, McCormick on Evidence and the Concept of Hearsay
Arsenic and Hors d'Oeuvres
Murder at the Seaside Bistro
Assault on Massachusetts Avenue
Murder in the Ajax Building
Corn Crib Case
Captain Cook and Davey Jones
Black Crepe

January 11:

Levin: Closing Arguments and Summation

  • Fundamentals of Closing Argument
  • Stylistics Issues Specific to Closing Argument
  • Addressing Issues Head-On in Closing Argument
  • The Law on Closing Argument

Nesson: Privilege

  • Attorney-Client Privilege

January 12:

  • exam
  • Nesson: Hearsay Exceptions (yes, after the exam)

January 16-19

  • Bragg v. Linden Labs Moot Court in Second Life


(lead with your group name and follow with the names and email addresses of group members)

Useful Links