Category Archives: Faculty & Student Publications

Professor Saks and the Psychology of Criminal Law

Picture1In addition to his first-year criminal law class and his upper-level course on empirical, scientific evidence and the law, Professor Michael Saks extensively researches the science behind the law, including social psychology. He has been involved in more than a dozen book projects touching on science and the law.

His most recent book, The Psychological Foundations of Evidence Law, examines how the rules of evidence limit lawyers’ ability to use psychological techniques to influence judges, juries, and witnesses to promote fair, accurate trials. He has also been involved in academic treatises concerning scientific evidence and expert testimony. He has written on social psychology, and the pressures that small groups, such as juries of fewer than twelve people, may exert to force dissenters to join the dominant group.

Professor Saks is prolific in the legal and scientific academic communities. His most recent article Capital and Punishment: Resource Scarcity Increases Endorsement of the Death Penalty, appeared in 2019 in the scientific journal Evolution and Human Behavior and presented findings supporting the hypothesis that areas with heightened concerns about resource scarcity are more likely to endorse putting criminals to death.

He has published extensively in Arizona State University’s scientific-legal journal Jurimetrics, with his most contribution coming in 2018: Granular Patient Control of Personal Health Information: Federal and State Law Considerations. This article concerned the increasing control over health records that patients can control and analyzed Arizona and federal law concerning particularly sensitive medical information. Psychological Aspects of Food Biodesign (with ASU Professor Roselle L Wissler) examined public anxiety regarding genetically modified foods; Jurors and Scientific Causation: What Don’t They Know, and What Can Be Done About It? (suggested ways of improving juries’ ability to evaluate scientific evidence; and Parallels in Law and Statistics: Decision Making Under Uncertainty (with ASU Professor Samantha L. Neufeld) analyzed the parallels between statistics and law in how to make concrete decisions with incomplete information.

He has also published in the Arizona State Law Journal, presenting a model act law students helped produce to prevent erroneous convictions in Model Prevention and Remedy of Erroneous Convictions Act.

His recent works include Improving Judge & Jury Evaluation of Scientific Evidence in which he explores the paradox inherent in the legal system in which judges must evaluate the validity of expert testimony intended to assist judges and juries with matters beyond their understanding; Methodological Triangulation, in which he presents a new, efficient approach to studying jury behavior and how to affirm the validity of certain experiments by comparing their results with other analytical methods; and The Disregarded Necessity: Validity Testing of Forensic Feature-Comparison Techniques, in which he suggests a shift away from the customary acceptance of forensic science evidence despite questionable empirical foundations.

You can read Professor Saks’ scholarship in the Law Library’s Faculty Scholarship Repository. If you have interest in criminal or scientific/legal research, the reference librarians can help you get started on an article of your own. Stop by the third floor reference desk during reference hours or make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian.

Andrea GassLaw Library Research Fellow

Faculty Spotlight: Professor Bradshaw and the Stakeholders of Sustainability

Although she’s not on campus this semester, Professor Karen Bradshaw has been as busy as ever, recently publishing her latest article, Agency Engagement with Stakeholder Collaborations, in Wildfire Policy and Beyond, in the Arizona State Law Journal.  In it, Professor Bradshaw explores the ways that agencies in Washington, D.C., incorporate local concerns in land and natural resource decisions, focusing on Arizona, Alaska, and Maine.

Following a semester in which she added a second first-year course—Property, in addition to Contracts, to her teaching load, Professor Bradshaw plans to publish four more law journal articles this year, for a total of at least six in 2019. She teaches Environmental Law and Natural Resources Law at Arizona State. She also has taught courses on Animal Law and Land Use Planning.

Professor Bradshaw’s forthcoming book, The New Animal Rights: Saving America’s Wildlife by Uncovering the Biological Origins of Property, proposes novel legal principles to protect American wildlife facing increased hardships from natural disasters, pollution, and human development. Recently, in the Harvard Environmental Law Review, she has criticized the tactic of relocation as a means of protecting endangered species whose habitats are in high-value land being developed for human use.

Previously, she has called for animals to receive legal property rights as a means of protection in Animal Property Rights. She explored the use of non-binding agreements to build relationships between government agencies and private parties in Agency Coordination of Private Action: The Role of Relational Contracting. She  examined “givings” laws, or statutory financial windfalls, that supposed beneficiaries no longer want in Using Takings to Undo Givings and analyzed how failed predictions of environmental catastrophes undermined public engagement in future problems in The Short-Term Temptations and Long-Term Risks of Environmental Catastrophism. Peer review identified her study on the impact of settlements to pay for natural resources damages, Settling for Natural Resource Damages, as one of the top environmental and natural resources law articles of the year.

You can read more of Professor Bradshaw’s scholarship in the Law Library’s Faculty Scholarship Repository. If you have interest in environmental or natural resources research, the reference librarians can help you get started on an article of your own. Stop by the third floor reference desk or make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian.

Andrea Gass, Ross-Blakley Law Library Research Fellow

Faculty Display Case Roundup

Our Faculty Display Case just got a new addition: the book International Trade in Indigenous Cultural Heritage : Legal and Policy Issues, which features an article by Professor Rebecca Tsosie titled “International Trade in Indigenous Cultural Heritage: An Argument for Indigenous Governance of Cultural Property.”  If you’re interested in reading this chapter or the entire book, it is available for check out.

Tax Consequences of a Zombie Apocalypse

In a zombie apocalypse the two certainties in life, death and taxes, may not be so certain.  Fortunately, College of Law professor Adam Chodorow has recognized that the current estate and income tax laws do not adequately address the tax implications of being undead and has tackled the topic of estate planning for the living dead in his article Death and Taxes and Zombies, to be published in a forthcoming issue of the Iowa Law Review.

The article’s abstract details the subject matter: “This article fills a glaring gap in the academic literature by examining how the estate and income tax laws apply to the undead. Beginning with the critical question of whether the undead should be considered dead for estate tax purposes, the article continues on to address income tax issues the undead are likely to face. In addition to zombies, the article also considers how estate and income tax laws should apply to vampires and ghosts. Given the difficulties identified herein of applying existing tax law to the undead, new legislation may be warranted. However, any new legislation is certain to raise its own set of problems. The point here is not to identify the appropriate approach. Rather, it is to goad Congress and the IRS into action before it is too late.”

Chodorow’s article brings up issues that may actually have to be addressed if technology designed to bring back individuals from death is ever developed.  In the mean time, however, it’s a really fun read, as exemplified by footnote 91 below:

91 Given their longevity, vampires would also have significant advantages with compounding interest and the tax deferral provided by IRAs and other tax advantaged savings plans, such as whole life insurance. Vampires would presumably be subject to mandatory withdrawals at age 70 and 1/2, see I.R.C. §§ 408(b)(3), §401(a)(9), but it is not clear how the amount of withdrawals would be calculated because the traditional actuarial mortality charts would not apply.

Another interesting question would be whether a vampire qualifies as a “life in being” for purposes of the rule against perpetuities. If so the rule would functionally cease to operate in those states that have not already abandoned the rule. While vampires would not need to create trusts to exercise the undead hand, they might want to create self-settled asset protection trusts or trusts to provide for underage or spendthrift offspring in the event they are exposed to sunlight or a well placed wooden stake. If they could find a jurisdiction that does not tax trust income, such as Alaska, all the better. This may explain why the vampires who threatened Bella in the first Twilight book spent time in Alaska.

The Zen of Law School Success

The Zen of Law School Success
By Chad Noreuil
Law Study Skills Collection KF283 .N67 2011

The Zen of Law School Success is a new book in the Law Library collection written by the College of Law’s very own Professor Chad Noreuil.  Professor Noreuil also wrote The Zen of Passing the Bar Exam.  In this new book, Noreuil focuses on the law school experience and details how to put Zen principles such as simplicity, knowing yourself, and staying focused into practice in law school.  He offers a comprehensive approach to succeeding at law school, as well as focused advice on how to deal with the classroom Socratic method, navigate the law school environment (including the competitive atmosphere), manage stress, prepare for exams, and get a job after graduation.  It is an excellent resource for those students seeking to be successful in law school yet maintain balance in their lives.

To read a little bit about Professor Noreuil, go to the  ASU News website.  Be sure to also check out Professor Noreuil’s Law School Zen blog.