CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Quinn on Children and Evidence Law

Mae C. Quinn (Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson Law) has posted Childist Objections, Youthful Relevance and Evidence Reconceived (Dickinson Law Review, Vol. 127:535, 2023) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Evidence rules are written by and for adults. As a result, they largely lack the vantage point of youth and are rooted in arm’s-length assumptions about the lives and legal interests of young people. Moreover, because children have been mostly treated as evidentiary afterthoughts, they have been patched into the justice system and its procedures in a piecemeal fashion. Yet, to date, there has been no comprehensive scholarly critique of evidence principles and practices for failing to meaningfully account for the youth. And the evidentiary intersection of youth and race has been almost entirely overlooked in legal scholarship. This Article, in part drawing from a range of contemporary examples including the Derek Chauvin trial, begins to provide such analysis. It suggests that evidence law and practice are not only steeped in gender and race bias but unduly adult-centric—and childist—in their orientation. Further, it recommends a more humanist reconception of court proceedings to account for all individuals as whole persons with strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and complexities in the here and now—regardless of their age or stage in life.

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