Supreme Court enters the YouTube era


The advent of online video links as evidence has the potential to unsettle the way judges do their work, reports the New York Times. The first citation in a petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court last month was not to an affidavit or a legal precedent, but rather to a YouTube video link. The video shows what is either appalling police brutality or a measured response to an arrested man’s intransigence, depending on the viewer’s perspective. Such evidence could disrupt the way appellate judges do their work, according to a new study in the Harvard Law Review. If Supreme Court justices can see for themselves what happened in a case, the study suggests, they might be less inclined to defer to the factual findings of jurors and to the conclusions of lower-court judges. Video creates a danger, the study said, of "decision-making hubris" by judges. Many judges do not seem to understand, said Jessica Silbey, a law professor at Suffolk University in Boston, that video is not categorical or irrefutable proof like DNA, but only a partial, volatile, and dangerously persuasive account of what happened…

Click here for the full story