The Yale Law Journal



The Intercircuit Exclusionary Rule

James Durling

Federal courts have long resolved intercircuit suppression disputes using a choice-of-law framework and applying the precedent of the circuit where the search occurred. This Comment shows that this approach is fundamentally mistaken. Choice-of-law problems only arise when different laws, not differe…


The De Facto Reporter’s Privilege

Christina Koningisor

There is no formal, federal reporter’s privilege against disclosing confidential information. Drawing on new historical sources, this Article shows how all three branches of government have deployed a variety of de facto protections for reporters. These conclusions enrich our understanding of whethe…


Competing Exclusionary Rules in Multistate Investigations: Resolving Conflicts of State Search-and-Seizure Law

Megan McGlynn

The existing approaches to conflicts of state search-and-seizure laws are either theoretically or practically flawed. When a search implicates multiple states’ laws, courts should undertake a two-step analysis. First, they should determine whether a conflict exists; and second, they should apply the…


Disparate Statistics

Kevin Tobia

Statistical evidence is crucial throughout disparate impact’s three-stage analysis: during (1) the plaintiff’s prima facie demonstration of a policy’s disparate impact; (2) the defendant’s job-related business necessity defense of the discriminatory policy; and (3)…


Machine Testimony

Andrea Roth

Machines play increasingly crucial roles in establishing facts in legal disputes. Some machines convey information—the images of cameras, the measurements of thermometers, the opinions of expert systems. When a litigant offers a human assertion for its truth, the law subjects…


Prosecutors Respond to Calls for Forensic Science Reform: More Sharks in Dirty Water

Adam B. Shniderman

In September 2016, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report questioning the validity of a number of forensic science techniques routinely offered as evidence (“PCAST Report). This report raises familiar issues and recommendations. In 2009, the National…


Oral Tradition and the Kennewick Man

Cathay Y. N. Smith

In April 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confirmedthat the ancient human body discovered in 1996 near Kennewick, Washington,often referred to as the “Kennewick Man” or “The Ancient One,” is geneticallyrelated to modern-day Native Americans. Thisconfirmation ended a twenty-year-long struggle b…


Predicting Utah v. Streiff’s Civil Rights Impact

Katherine A. Macfarlane

The Supreme Court’s recent Utah v. Strieff decision declined to apply the exclusionary rule to evidence seized as a result of an arrest that followed an unconstitutional stop. The opinion, in conjunction with Justice Sotomayor’s dissent, has reanimated discussions regarding when, if ever, criminal d…


Open Source Evidence on Trial

Keith Hiatt

Introduction Investigating war crimes is a messy business. It is difficult and dangerous. International criminal tribunals charge powerful individuals, including heads of state and leaders of armed forces, whose personal resources may well exceed the annual operating budget of the invest…


Evidence-Based Sentencing and the Taint of Dangerousness

Gregory Cui

Today’s world is “all about the data.”1 In a variety of contexts, innovators have offered statistical models as a way to reduce or eliminate human error.2 The promise of quantitative optimization has even influenced our criminal justice system. About twenty states have developed or a…


The Un-Territoriality of Data

Jennifer Daskal

Territoriality looms large in our jurisprudence, particularly as it relates to the government’s authority to search and seize. Fourth Amendment rights turn on whether the search or seizure takes place territorially or extraterritorially; the government’s surveillance authorit…


Cost-Benefit Analysis of Financial Regulations: A Response to Criticisms

Eric A. Posner & E. Glen Weyl

In two recent articles, we urged financial regulators to use cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to evaluate financial regulations.1 John Coates has emerged as a leading critic of this view.2 In this essay, we respond to his objections. We make several points. First, Coates conflates two separate …


Financial Regulation and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Cass R. Sunstein

I. what government doesn’t know Cost-benefit analysis is best understood as a way for agencies to ensure that their decisions are informed—that they are based on knowledge about likely consequences, rather than on dogmas, intuitions, hunches, or interest-group pressures.1 But when agen…


Warrant Canaries and Disclosure by Design: The Real Threat to National Security Letter Gag Orders

Rebecca Wexler

Introduction Since the 1980s, the FBI has issued documents referred to as National Security Letters (NSLs), which demand data from companies—including financial institution records and the customer records of telephone companies and communications service providers—for foreign intellig…


Riley's Implications for Fourth Amendment Protection in the Cloud

Ryan Watzel

In June 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously held in Riley v. California1 that the digital content of cell phones does not fall within the search-incident-to-arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches. The Court provided a clear answer “to the qu…


Hall v. Florida and Ending the Death Penalty for Severely Mentally Ill Defendants

Lise E. Rahdert

This Term in Hall v. Florida the Supreme Court held a portion of Florida’s death penalty statute unconstitutional under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.1 Specifically, the Court invalidated Florida’s rigid system for determining whether a capital defendant is intellectually disabled…


Reconceptualizing the Burden of Proof

Edward K. Cheng

122 Yale L.J. 1254 (2013).

The preponderance standard is conventionally described as an absolute probability threshold of 0.5. This Essay argues that this absolute characterization of the burden of proof is wrong. Rather than focusing on an absolute threshold, the Essay reconceptualizes the preponder…


Recognizing Character: A New Perspective on Character Evidence

Barrett J. Anderson

121 Yale L.J. 1912 (2012).

Courts have historically regulated the use of character in trials because of its
potential to prejudice juries. In order to regulate this type of proof, courts must be able to
recognize what is and is not character evidence, but past attempts to define character in the law
of …


When Machines Are Watching: How Warrantless Use of GPS Surveillance Technology Violates the Fourth Amendment Right Against Unreasonable Searches

Priscilla J. Smith, Nabiha Syed, David Thaw & Albert Wong


Federal and state law enforcement officials throughout the nation are currently using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology for automated, prolonged surveillance without obtaining warrants. As a result, cases are proliferating in which criminal defendants are challenging law enfor…


A Public Privilege

Colin Miller

If a rule is only as good as its exceptions, and a reporter is only as good as her sources, then according to a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court opinion, Pennsylvania’s reporter’s privilege is the best of privileges and the worst of privileges. In that opinion, the court failed to carve a crime…


Unchaste and Incredible: The Use of Gendered Conceptions of Honor in Impeachment

Julia Simon-Kerr

117 Yale L.J. 1854 (2008).

This Note demonstrates that the American rules for impeaching witnesses developed against a cultural background that equated a woman’s “honor,” and thus her credibility, with her sexual virtue. The idea that a woman’s chastity informs her credibility did not originate in …


Police Pretext as a Democracy Problem

Eric Citron

Democracy, at the very least, requires that the dangerous branches of government—like the executive and law enforcement—be accountable to the people or their representatives. Ignoring claims of police pretext, as our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence currently does, creates a barrier to that accoun…


On Rights and Responsibilities: A Response to The Problem with Pretext

Margaret Raymond

Eric Citron’s piece, Right and Responsibility in Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence: The Problem with Pretext, gets some things quite wrong, but it gets one important thing right—that our Fourth Amendment law is all about what suspects do and very little about what police do. Citron starts from the…


How Whren Protects Pretext

James Robertson

Funny, isn’t it, that “pretext” is a dirty word, a liability-conferring word, in an employment discrimination case, or a fraud case, but that in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence the word has been given a free pass? That, to use Eric Citron’s phrase, the word even seems to open up a “liberate…


E-Discovery of Dynamic Data and Real-Time Communications: New Technology, Practical Facts, and Familiar Legal Principles

Thomas W. Burt & Gregory S. McCurdy

The forthcoming Federal e-discovery Rules are a welcome advance, but they do not address all of e-discovery’s challenging issues. For example, how should the law treat instant messaging (IM) or other forms of real-time communications? When must organizations or individuals preserve dynamic data su…


A CSI Writer Defends His Show

Richard Catalani

As a former crime scene investigator, I was once called to testify on the stand in a criminal trial. Before giving my testimony, I had to explain to the jury the responsibilites and qualifications of forensic scientists in the criminal justice system. Now, five years later, prosecutors are complaini…


The CSI Effect: Fact or Fiction

Andrew P. Thomas


Is the CSI Effect Good Science?

Tom R. Tyler




The New Electronic Discovery Rules: A Place for Employee Privacy?

Elaine Ki Jin Kim

The new procedures for electronic discovery might encourage companies to spy on their own workers. To prevent that from happening, I argue that courts should apply the new rules—which will likely take effect in December—in a way that discourages the abuse of surveillance technologies and protect…


Appellate Review and the Exclusionary Rule

Zack Bray

113 Yale L.J. 1143 (2004)

Today, application of the exclusionary rule to evidence obtained in reliance on a potentially invalid search warrant is governed by the Supreme Court's holding in United States v. Leon. Leon instructs courts to admit evidence obtained on the basis of a potentially invalid …


Are Police Free To Disregard Miranda?

Steven D. Clymer

112 Yale L.J. 447 (2002)

This Article contends that the common understanding of Miranda as a direct restraint on custodial interrogation by police is mistaken. Instead, Miranda, like the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination that serves as its constitutional foundation, is a rule of admissi…


Past Imperfect

Wendie Ellen Schneider

110 Yale L.J. 1531 (2001)



Sovereignty on Our Terms

Jenia Iontcheva

110 Yale L.J. 885 (2001)