Chris William Sanchirico
University of Pennsylvania Law School; University of Pennsylvania Wharton School - Business Economics and Public Policy Department
Duke Law Journal, Vol. 53, Pg. 1215, 2004
U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper 03-41
UVA Law & Econ Research Paper 02-19
UVA School of Law, Public Law Research Paper 02-22
Current writing on evidence tampering - inclusive of the destruction, fabrication, and suppression of evidence - creates the impression that our system of litigation is in a state of fundamental disrepair. This article suggests that this perception may merely reflect defects in the conventional view of trial's purpose. The conventional view sees trial as a standalone device for uncovering micro-historical truths about what has already come to pass. In contrast, this article advocates viewing trial as but one component of the overall mechanism by which the legal system influences everyday behavior. When trial is viewed less in terms of discerning past events, and more in terms of shaping future events, several apparently troublesome aspects of the existing system gain substantial justification, and the way is paved for a more fruitful evaluation of current doctrine.
Note: An earlier version of this paper was posted under the title, "Shredders, Fibbers, and Forgers: Evidence Tampering and the Object of Trial"
Number of Pages in PDF File: 122
Date posted: December 14, 2003 ; Last revised: June 5, 2009