A Project of the University of Michigan Law School and the MDefenders Program

Motion to Exclude Gruesome and Inflammatory Photographs

“When jurors are presented with evidence that is particularly gruesome, they are likely to experience a visceral emotionally charged feeling that leads them to be inappropriately punitive.” Incorporates studies demonstrating that exposure to gruesome evidence decreases the brain’s capacity for logical reasoning.

Brief – Other Acts Evidence – Drug Use Evidence in Drug Distribution Case

p. 22-38 discuss the use of 404(b) “other acts” evidence and why evidence of drug possession is not relevant to intent to distribute drugs. The brief goes on to outline research demonstrating that such “other acts” evidence is highly likely to improperly prejudice the jury in a way that cannot be cured by a limiting […]

Motion to Exclude DNA “Likelihood Ratio” Testimony

Argues that “likelihood ratio” evidence — the statistical frequency of a suspect’s characteristic — has not been sufficiently validated and is misleading to the jury because the jury conflates it with probability of guilt.

Brief – Inefficacy of Limiting Instructions

p. 14 – 22 outline research on how jurors respond to limiting instructions, demonstrating that “providing a limiting instruction likely has little effect because it is almost impossible for jurors to forget evidence for one purpose, while remembering it for another.”

Amicus Brief – Preclude In-Court Identifications as Inherently Prejudicial

In-court identifications are inherently suggestive because they imply to the witness that the prosecutor has confirmed the witness’ initial identification. This brief argues that such an identification is more suggestive than a show-up and that the witness’ sense of accuracy artificially increases during subsequent identifications.