Abuse of Discretion, Reversible Error, Harmless Error, Plain Error, Structural Error; A New Paradigm for Criminal Cases
Criminal Law Bulletin, Vol. 43, pp. 955-80, November-December 2007
36 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2008 Last revised: 11 Jun 2008
Defining and distinguishing reversible error, harmless error, plain error, and structural error both theoretically and practically is currently an almost hopeless task. The purpose of this article is to delineate the reasons for such complexity and confusion and to suggest proposed amendments to Fed.R.Evid. 103 and Fed.R.
Crim.Proc. 52, the result of which hopefully would be a comprehensive, theoretically sound and workable scheme for determining whether evidentiary errors committed at trial below require the granting on appeal of a new trial in a criminal case.
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