ricevermicelli: (Default)
I have not primary source material for this, and I am possibly one of a very small handful of people who find this sort of thing amusing. But, oh, it is amusing. Just if you click this and think I'm a nerd, recall that I warned you. )
ricevermicelli: (Default)
With a headline like that, you probably think I'm crazy, but really, it is.

This week in school, I learned that there is no case so gruesome and heart-rending that a sufficiently high court cannot reduce it to an abstract discussion of legal technicalities.

Evidentiary law regarding expert witnesses in this country was initially established in a second-degree murder case (Frye v. United States), which was superseded (an event uniquely devoid of death or debilitation) by Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, as determined by the Supreme Court in a case regarding congenital defects possibly caused by anti-nausea medication in 1993 (Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals). Since the Daubert ruling left something to be desired, the court clarified in General Electric v. Joiner (1997, PCBs and lung cancer), Carmichael v. Kumho Tire (1998, tire blowout causes fatal car accident), and Weisgram v. Marley (2000, death by fire and carbon monoxide poisoning).

I haven't been able to find any information on the eventual resolution of any of these cases. No word on the settlement for the birth defects, or whether or not Frye was eventually found guilty, or what happened in sentencing. Neither Google nor Wikipedia has anything revealing.

The Frye standard is that expert testimony has to be generally accepted by the scientific community in order to be admissible. I am unable to find any record of whether trial judges receive notes declaring that Andrew Wiles is a poophead and that the scientific community as a whole is more concerned with academic tenure than with recognition of The Truth as revealed to people with severe cranial trauma, nor is there any publicly available information concerning what kind of drinking secretaries to trial judges do, or how hard they pound their heads against their desks when dealing with that correspondence, but there's got to be blood there too.
ricevermicelli: (Default)
Approximately 90% of the sample documentation for this class comes from divorce cases.

You know, in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, when Manny is talking about Lunar marriage customs to someone on Earth, and after he explains all the stuff that you have to go through to leave your partner on the Moon, the nice Earth lady says she thinks it's simpler here? She's wrong. I feel like warning people who are about to get married that their partners could hurt them and leave them and then demand to see the last ten year's worth of tax returns.
ricevermicelli: (Default)
This week in school, I learned that great forensic accountants are as gods among men. They are unbeatable as expert witnesses. Their conclusions are flawless and peerless. It is, nonetheless, considered possible for me to become one of them. I think that a trip to Dagoba is involved, because honestly, I feel more capable of levitating a spaceship out of a swamp than I do of writing a Request for Production of Documents that includes all the documents I would need to come to an unassailable conclusion. I keep forgetting to ask for really obvious stuff, like all of it.

No one has addressed a number of important questions. What, for example, happens when one great forensic accountant testifies against another? Is it like the proton annihilating the anti-proton? Or an accountant's cage match? Or a medieval trial, with the expectation that miracles will come to the aid of the truth? (And if it does work the medieval way, will medieval lying games still be workable loopholes?)

I have been doing the senior thesis thing lately too, where I have too much stuff on my bed to sleep on it. This is less of a logistical problem now than it used to be. I am starting to sense, though, that when I tell [personal profile] danceboy that I'll be done with my homework in just a more few minutes, that he thinks if I was any less convincing, I might come out the other side and start to sound vaguely believable.
ricevermicelli: (Default)
There are two problems.

The first is that the class discussion board is down, and I cannot finish my homework, and also, I have not enough brain at the moment to read excerpts from SAS No. 99. If ever a group of people could suck all the interest from a topic, it's the writers at the AICPA. They are masters of dullness. I imagine them in a state-of-the-art dullness-producing facility somewhere in Jersey, a cabal of old men in green eyeshades, practicing their Montgomery Burnsian evil laughs and plotting to take over the world through a complicated scheme involving boring every trader on the NYSE comatose in the middle of a busy trading day. When the trading floor is littered with the snoring forms of hypertensive stock weenies, the men in green eyeshades will walk in unopposed to the seat of power, and hold the U.S. economy hostage. Investors (which is everyone with a bank account) will be forced to kowtow to their eccentric whims, and be as personally boring as possible. The slightest flash of a whimsically striped sock will be sufficient cause for them seize your assets and fling you bodily over the Canadian border. They will come to your home in the night and wake you, demanding explanations for your strange hobbies, your personal quirks, and your lucky underwear with the little rocket ships. Flirting will be forbidden, as will good conversation, and the snarking of popular culture. If you fail to satisfy them, they will strand you in a foreign airport without so much as an ATM card, and your embassy will be powerless to assist you. People like me, English majors whose chief undergraduate accomplishment was the parallell processing of such diverse tasks as charming the Dean and eating rice krispie treats, are doomed.

And if that problem wasn't enough (and it's a large problem, my friends, and when the men in green eyeshades hold your fanfiction up in front of your face and confiscate your credit cards, you should remember that I warned you), this course is ruining mystery novels for me. I can now usually spot the villains almost as soon as they're introduced, sooner in some cases. I recently read The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer, and spotted the bad guy on about page fifteen. Unfortunately, Heyer kept right on flogging the red herring suspect for another three hundred pages. The red herring was flogged, I tell you, and being a herring, there was no telling if it was kinky, or if it was trying to rasp a safeword out through its abused gills. I kept reading only because I wanted to know if Heyer would eventually cop to the obvious, or if she preferred for the plot to be so improbable that there was no possible hook from which the reader's disbelief could be suspended.

I think I need to spend the rest of the evening rotting my brain as thoroughly and uselessly as possible.


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May 2011

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