Publications

Articles on Judge's Corner

Black Robe to Gold Watch

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2016
Column
Page 46
What do aging citizens – and judges – mean for the justice system?

Judging Forensic Science

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2015
Column
Page 48
Lawyers and judges have been slow to acknowledge the limitations of forensic science.

Are Courts Headed for a Market Failure?

By Ron Spears
August
2015
Column
Page 52
Dissatisfied litigants and other unhappy "consumers" of justice are increasingly choosing private options.

Flawed Facts and Fact-Finders

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2015
Column
Page 44
More judges are being asked to allow expert testimony about eyewitness ID and confessions.

Are We Ready for ‘Practice Ready’?

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2014
Column
Page 550
Should law schools do more to prepare grads for practice?

Unstructuring Structured Settlements

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2014
Column
Page 248
Some companies and plaintiffs want to revert structured settlements to lump sums, and judges have the final say.

Judicial Independence: Two Westerns and a Promise

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2014
Column
Page 98
Sometimes judges have to make a lonely stand against the majority.

Lincoln on the Wall

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2013
Column
Page 104
Lincoln was an exemplary but not perfect lawyer - which makes his example all the more inspiring.

The Real Prisoner’s Dilemma

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2012
Column
Page 442
Defendants have a Constitutional right to effective counsel during plea bargains.

A Bricoleur’s Response to Murphy’s Law

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2012
Column
Page 270
"Bricolage" is the art of creating a solution using whatever is available. It's an art litigators would do well to cultivate.

Lawyers, Doctors and Matryoshka Dolls

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2012
Column
Page 106
Fee contests over physician testimony reflect the tension between lawyers and doctors.

Contagion and the Courts

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2011
Column
Page 588
Health care providers aren't the only ones who have to respond to public health emergencies.

A Visit to the Academy

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2011
Column
Page 420
Dispatches from a four-day seminar on the impact of poverty and wealth on justice.

What Price Justice? The County Board Wants to Know

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2011
Column
Page 260
How much process is due a criminal defendant? It's a dollars-and-cents question.

Character on Trial

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2011
Column
Page 102
Judge Justice and his colleagues express their misgivings about character evidence.

Humpty Dumpty Child

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2010
Column
Page 588
Healing broken children is hard but essential work.

Foreseeing the “Four C’s” (Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions)

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2010
Column
Page 432
The collateral consequences of conviction are often the gravest.

Looking for “facts” in all the Wrong Places

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2010
Column
Page 102
Social networking sites are great - unless jurors are using them in ways that threaten a fair trial.

Predictions, Probabilities and the Magic 8-Ball

November
2009
Column
Page 585
Despite the best analysis of the best evidence, predicting human behavior is a risky business.

Make Settlement Agreements a Centerpiece, not an Afterthought

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2009
Column
Page 422
Careful planning for settlements can prevent bad results.

A Snipe-Hunter’s guide to Coaxing Answers from Hostile Witnesses

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2009
Column
Page 260
Preparation and skillful questioning can help you bag your quarry.

Lincoln’s Teams of Legal Rivals

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2009
Column
Page 100
Before he was President, Lawyer Lincoln drew on the strength of rivals.

The Five People You Meet in Wal-Mart

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2008
Column
Page 586
Judge Justice learns how he has affected the lives of litigants.

Eyewitnesses and the Rashomon Effect

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2008
Column
Page 424
Research indicates that eyewitness testimony is less reliable than people think.

Are Civility and Zealous Advocacy Compatible?

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2008
Column
Page 260
Reason can change minds when rudeness won't.

Diogenes and the Testimonial Whopper

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2008
Column
Page 104
What can we do to improve the accuracy and honesty of witness testimony? Not enough.

Burdens of Proof

By Hon. Ron Spears
November
2007
Column
Page 604
Defining burdens of proof can be hard. But they're easier to understand than to define.

If the Gloves Don’t Fit…

By Hon. Ron Spears
August
2007
Column
Page 436
Physical evidence can have a huge impact, but know whether it will help or hurt your client.

Attorney Independence? Remember the Alamo!

By Hon. Ron Spears
May
2007
Column
Page 272
Let's stand up for lawyers who represent unpopular clients.

Opening Statements: Soup for the Jury’s Soul

By Hon. Ron Spears
February
2007
Column
Page 102
A good opening statement will shape jurors' perception of the case.

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