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Working on the Outline of my Course

This Evidence course is about truth, the power of narrative, and the opportunity and responsibility that comes with mastering it. We will consider the courtroom as a rhetorical space and law as a storyteller. We will consider how lawyers persuade, comparing what it means to prove a proposition science, life and law. Our course explores the strategy of the law in conducting and structuring trials and the rules of evidence that determine the play. We will consider the roles of the different players in the space — prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, jury, witnesses, parties, public. We will consider how trial unfolds in the courtroom and how the message it generates is communicated to the polity. We will study the American jury system, considering the function that brought it into existence and the changes that have allowed it to grow and in decay. We will explore the Federal Rules of Evidence as a detailed rule structure governing the trial process. We will consider how new functionalies in our information space might be employed to enhance Law’s success in achieving elegance, understanding and respect for its message.


Who are you? What year? How many like law school. How many are going to practice law. How many intend to practice in firms. How many see your self as doing trials. How many feel you are good in math? Was there a time? When did you get off track? How many think of rhetorical as something bad, compared to substance, something good? How many on the net. How many blog. gay, fine by me, the shirt i wear, how many fine by you, let’s hear a hum. How many Marijuana, Fine by me.
[Should i put the use of pc’s and taking notes to a vote, i think not.]

Who do i see you to be.

We are here to learn how the law system works and what role lawyers and the rules of evidence play in it.

Ben Brafman’s opening.

Who am i.
Born in Newton, prep school, harvard college, class of 60, harvard law, 63, fellowship, clerkship, Justice Department, back harvard law to teach in 66, tenured in 69, civil rights, anti-war.I defended Dan Ellsberg in a long trial in federal court in 71-72 and found fascination in the function and process of the courtroom, been teaching Evidence ever since. homage to matt byrne and leonard boudin.

I am a citizen of the net, by which i mean a citizen of the world. I believe in connection. I am a citizen of the United States of America. I believe in freedom and democracy, but need to differentiate this thought. My first sniff of patriotism came in a movie theater during world war two, 1944, my mother next to me, five years old, shouting out to her and to the rest of the silent theater as an excited child will do, seeing my hero on the screen close face up, “That’s General Mark Clark!” America stood for freedom, democracy and fair play. Our cause was just. We are the good guys.

Was i deceived in believing that we were the good guys? What is the spirit that guides? Do i stand for fighting fair? Or Do i Stand For Fighting Dirty? What has America become?

Who are we? Who are we if we are not we the people? WE, good people of the earth.

We are a world community. We read each other’s news. We have a means of connecting the good in us to form a spirit strong enough to resist the evil spirit deep within, the spirit that fights mean and dirty and lies to our faces, squandering the credibility of the spirit of America in the world.

Do we stand for free speech, fair play, civil discourse, love of learning, true spirit of democracy, listening, understanding, moderation, fun.

that’s what i strive to stand for, to teach,and to make real in our cyber future.

Cyberspace does not exist until we build it. Law is code. Code is Law.

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